Today and tomorrow, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a markup of H.R. 910, the bill sponsored by committee chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.) that would overturn EPA’s findings on climate science and block the agency from addressing climate pollution. You can watch the webcast here if you have the stomach for it.
One thing you’ll notice if you watch is that House Republicans are lying about the bill, about EPA, and about climate change. They are repeating claims that have been debunked dozens of times, by me and many others. They just don’t care. They have an ideology that says regulation is always bad, they have corporate contributors who say regulation is always bad, and so they will gather whatever arguments or talking points they can in favor of that position. Accuracy is beside the point.
Here’s an example: One thing I heard at least a half dozen Republicans repeat in my short time watching is that blocking EPA regulations will reduce gasoline prices. As I wrote last week, this is so ridiculously unfounded that one almost has to admire the chutzpah.
But I’m just a dirty hippie blogger. Instead, let’s turn to Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning project devoted to assessing the accuracy of political claims. Today, Politifact took a look at Upton’s claim. Its judgment? Totally, 100 percent, pants-on-fire False.
There are very few sources of information and analysis remaining that garner respect on both sides of the aisle. Conservatives have quite purposefully and determinedly politicized all sources into left and right as they’ve carved out a closed epistemic loop in which their fellow travelers can move without ever encountering contrary views.
But Politifact remains just that: independent, unbiased, and widely respected. This is as close to a call of “foul” by a respected referee as you’ll ever see in today’s politics. And as you’ll see if you tune into the hearing, it has had no effect whatsoever. It hasn’t slowed or diminished the lies at all.
I know I keep returning to this like a broken record, but it seems to me that when you have one of America’s two political parties willing to abandon any pretense of respect for facts or shared epistemic standards, democratic politics is going to slowly become impossible. Blame the media, blame the public, blame corporations or the pols themselves — whoever’s to blame, we just can’t operate in an environment like this. Something’s got to give.