Dim Reporting

by Henry Payne

“Despite all the political crossfire over light bulbs, it’s unlikely that Republicans will succeed,” writes the National Journal’s Coral Davenport  claiming an “exclusive” on the light-bulb repeal story. “A vote on the measure had been scheduled for Monday evening but has been pushed off until Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office said Monday afternoon. The House vote will take place under a procedural rule requiring a two-thirds majority, which makes it uncertain whether it will pass — while it is certain to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate.”

Those may be the only facts that the Journal reporter got right in reporting on the bulb-ban repeal.

One of the advantages — or disadvantages — of following a story as closely as I’ve followed the bulb story is learning how truly horrid green news coverage is in the MSM these days. It’s uninformed, shockingly pro-government, and blindly ideological.

The “exclusive” National Journal story commits all three sins.

The GOP bulb repeal has “everything to do with tea party politics,” begins reporter Davenport quickly identifying her political bogeyman. Ah, the devil tea party made ‘em do it.

The story claims that “conservative” (cue another bogeyman) Texas congressman Joe Barton used “moderate” Rep. Fred Upton’s support of the bulb standard in 2007 as weapon to defeat the Michigan congressman as the two men jockeyed for House Energy Chair. “It was promptly picked up by Beck, Limbaugh, and Bachmann,” writes Davenport — ‘cause you know that when the Unholy Trinity are involved, it’s gotta be bad.

Trouble is, the Journal narrative is wrong.

The bulb ban became a concern when the Washington Examiner reported that lightbulb factories were shutting down across America in 2009. By 2010, hundreds of Americans were in unemployment lines thanks to the “lighting standards,” which had obviously gone horribly wrong. In September, 2010, the Washington Post — hardly Limbaugh’s fan base — was reporting the closing of the last plant in America, GE’s Winchester, Va., facility.

None of this gets reported by the National Journal.

Instead, Davenport paints GE and other lighting manufacturers as benevolent souls who only have the best interests of the planet at heart.

“The new energy efficient incandescent bulbs look and feel just like the old lights that consumers are used to. The only real difference Americans will notice with the new light bulbs is their lower electricity bills. Electricity savings per family will be about $100 per year,” the Journal quotes — uncritically — Randy Moorhead, Vice President of Government Affairs for Philips Electronics, as saying.

In fact, a Philips halogen incandescent costs $5 compared to 40 cents for a regular bulb. That’s a hefty tab for working Americans who will not be reassured by Big Business’ claimed longevity any more than GM claims that a $41,000 Volt will pay back gas savings over a lifetime. What they are assured of is that Big Bulb has moved all their production to China where they can make their product on the cheap — then charge U.S. customers ten times the cost of the incandescents they prefer.

But what NatJo really wants you to know is that the U.S. government is here to help. “You’ll still be able to buy halogen incandescent bulbs,” Davenport quotes Energy Secretary and green zealot Steven Chu as saying. “They’ll look and feel the same, but the only difference is that they’ll save consumers money.”

But if they are so good, why does it take a federal law to mandate them?

The National Journal embraces our left-wing Energy secretary Steven Chu’s assumption that Americans are too stupid to make the right incandescent bulb choice. Big Brother knows best.