A common tactic for the organizational left in America is when a policy is advocated that goes against doctrinaire leftist thought, the almighty “Koch brothers” must be behind it.
The latest example was in the December 13, 2018 edition of The New York Times (NYT), when climate reporter Hiroko Tabuchi examined an effort to change emissions standards for automobiles in a story with the harsh headline, “The Oil Industry’s Covert Campaign to Rewrite American Car Emissions Rules”.
At issue is whether current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards would remain as the Obama administration mandated or rolled back as the Trump administration has proposed.
The Obama administration proposed doubling fuel economy by 2025. The Trump administration is proposing freezing the standards at 2020 levels.
Automakers certainly want as much flexibility as possible to manufacture vehicles that consumers want. Consumers want as many choices as possible. If high mileage vehicles are attractive, then consumers will buy more of them and manufacturers will produce more of them.
The knee-jerk tactic of blaming the “Koch brothers” for every conservative policy effort has grown tiresome.
Many journalists, partisans, and Democratic officials falsely smear Koch Industries by claiming their policy views are intended to specifically benefit their company. In nearly every case, their policy views aim to end all forms of corporate welfare, including mandates and subsidies. This includes subsidies that benefit their company. This is their longstanding view. That full context was not offered in the NYT story.
Predictably the NYT uses inflammatory language to describe a standard practice in Washington, DC –Companies assembling coalitions of likeminded stakeholders to advance public policies that they believe in. This happens on the left and right every day in DC.
Just because advocacy groups don’t invite journalists to attend every meeting doesn’t mean they are “secretive”. Calling something secretive has a negative connotation. Every trade group in DC holds “secretive” meetings. This is how they develop and executive a strategy.
I must have missed breathless NYT article over billionaire Tom Steyer shoveling millions to left wing groups to advance policies that raise energy costs for middle class Americans. Are his efforts “secretive”?
Regulations shift depending on the administration, following a common pattern. Democratic administrations use regulations to achieve policy outcomes they prefer, often punishing private industry. Republican administrations typically reduce regulations
The NYT has some of the best reporters in the world and they take journalism seriously. However overhyped reporting such as this is a disservice to the important work they do, further stoking the ‘fake news’ suspicions felt throughout middle America when they show selective outrage over conservative efforts to reduce a regulatory burden while ignoring left wing efforts to overregulate.
Matt Mackowiak is president of Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C.-based Potomac Strategy Group. He’s a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney re-election campaign veteran and former press secretary to two U.S. senators.