The biggest name this midterm election isn’t Barack Obama. It’s liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, the coal king who wants to pretend to be green. Steyer has thrown nearly $74 million at the election in an attempt to tip seven key states into the Democratic column, funding more than 7,000 commercials.
Steyer and his Nextgen Climate Political Action Committee are trying to make climate change the key issue on the ballot. According to an October Gallup poll, only 2 percent of Americans think “Environment/Pollution” is one of the top non-economic issues facing the nation.
Steyer is determined to force you to think differently. And he’ll spend whatever it takes to do so – the whole time hoping you forget that he made much of his wealth off the very fuels he now pretends to hate.
The New York Times has called him “the most influential environmentalist in American politics.” (Hint: More influential than Mr. “Inconvenient” Al Gore.) The Republican National Committee labels him a “radical environmentalist.”
They are both right.
Only don’t expect ABC, CBS and NBC to tell you about it. The broadcast networks have almost entirely censored the bad news about Steyer and his eco-agenda. Since he launched his Center for the Next Generation in September, 2011, to paint himself green, the networks have devoted just 34 words in one story to his political funding.
There’s no discussion of how he invested in Australian coal at the very same time he was running around the U.S. pretending to be a greenie. And no coverage of how he tried to regulate “dirty” energy in the U.S. in a way that might aid his eco-investments.
Why worry, just because a rich guy might be using left-wing policies to hurt U.S. companies?
Why care that he’s been investing in coal abroad that gets shipped to China where it will never be held to the same environmental standards?
Journalists flock to even a hint of such sketchy activity. Unless it’s a prominent liberal funder who’s been to the White House 13 times since 2010.
Since Steyer launch Next Gen Climate, ABC, CBS and NBC had 22 mentions of funding by the “elite” billionaire Koch brothers who support “very, very conservative causes.” Unsurprisingly, not one of those mentions was positive or included how David Koch, “a prostate cancer survivor,” has donated or pledged nearly $350 million to cancer research. Or the millions he gave to other causes journalists typically support – including PBS.
By now, conservatives are used to that sort of “journalism.” What we’re not used to is the top funder in an election getting completely ignored.
It’s amazing how much network journalists try to skip coverage of an election where their team (Hint #2: Gimme a “D!”) looks like a Pop Warner squad matched up against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
It’s not like no one’s written about Steyer. The Washington Post and New York Times have done 110 print stories and more than 100 blogs in the same period where network coverage has been so lame.
The Times even took him to task, pointing out that mines Steyer invested in “have increased their annual production by about 70 million tons since they received money from the hedge fund.” That huge number is “more than the amount of coal consumed annually by Britain.” Vice President Biden would call that a “big f***ing deal.”
That’s quite a complication for the “proud Democrat” who spoke out against “dirty” energy again during his speech at the Democratic National Convention in September, 2012. An even bigger complication is his ever-changing bio that lists several dates for his great eco-conversion, pretty much all of them before he cut his lucrative coal deals in Australia.
Some journalists might call that news. But politics is a funny business and when people start talking about you as a candidate for California governor, you’ll even change your first name from “Thomas” to “Tom” to look hip.
Journalists have done their part to buy into that Steyer mystique. They call him an “every-man” and dwell on how he drives a used car and lives modestly – in one of his homes. (Hint #3: He just visits his 1,800-acre ranch a few times a week.)
Reporters even talk about how Steyer wears the same style tartan tie every day -- a red plaid with green and navy blue stripes. What they won’t tell you is the tie is much like the man. It’s got a hint of green, but like many liberals, it’s mostly red.
Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.