Numerous media outlets have falsely asserted or suggested that President Obama's emissions standards proposal alone would increase the average vehicle cost by $1,300. In fact, $700 of that increase is a result of a bill signed by President Bush in 2007.
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On Meet the Press, David Gregory repeatedly asked General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson about cutting union benefits or jobs, but did not ask Henderson a single question about creating fuel efficient or environmentally friendly cars.
Slate's managing editor is angry. "Fuming," in her words. What has Jill Hunter Pellettieri so upset?
When she was a child, she used to enjoy staying in hotels, which she found "a world that suspended the realities of life at home."
But now hotels are harshing her buzz by letting her decide whether her bath towels need to be washed or can be re-used.
No, really: that is why she's "fuming." She explains:
[O]n entering a hotel room, I still immediately review the room-service menu, bask in the prospect of fresh, silky sheets, and inspect the bathroom to ensure I have fluffy, clean towels for every possible need. Then I spy one of those little placards, nestled among the tiny soaps or hanging from the towel rack, asking me to reuse my linens: "Save Our Planet ... Every day millions of gallons of water are used to wash towels that have only been used once ... Please decide for yourself." And, like that, my hotel buzz fizzles.
I'll admit that I sometimes choose not to participate in this program and request fresh towels and sheets every day. Before you write in scolding me for being a wasteful person, let me qualify that by saying it's not the program, in theory, I'm against. I'm all for saving the environment. But I don't want to be guilt-tripped into going green. It's the two-facedness of it that gets me-save our planet! Conserve our resources! It's up to you, hotel guest. Forsake that washcloth (or two!), or those crisp sheets that are your right when you pay for the room, and to what end-so the hotel can save money on laundry? How many natural resources are wasted printing all of these little signs? Here's an idea: Instead of printing out a placard for every room in the hotel, wash my towel.
Now, let's reiterate: the hotels in question aren't requiring Jill Hunter Pellettieri to re-use bath towels. They're offering her the option to do so. And she's upset because while exercising this option conserves water and energy, it also saves the hotel a few pennies. Pennies that, as far as she knows, keep the price of her hotel room lower than it might otherwise be.
I can't imagine that most Best Western guests are so delicate as to have their weekend stays ruined by a two-inch sign offering guests the option of reusing bath towels. And I can't imagine most readers of Slate's "Green Room" department share Pellettieri's annoyance at being offered the option to voluntarily and at no cost help reduce energy and water consumption.
UPDATE: * By "of the day," of course, I mean "of six days ago," when the Slate piece was posted. Gristmill's Kate Sheppard dealt with this nonsense on Friday:
Yet another climate finger goes to Slate and its managing editor, Jill Hunter Pellettieri, for publishing this asinine piece equating green efforts at hotels and other businesses with being "cheap." At first, we thought the article was a parody, lampooning Slate's love of vapid, self-important contrarianism. If only that were true. We're so sorry you feel like it's a tremendous act of "self-sacrifice" to sleep in the same sheets two nights in a row, Jill. We'll cry you a river while the ice caps melt.
In a Washington Post column, Warren Brown claimed that "there has been no gasoline saved in response to ... the various iterations of federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy [CAFE] rules." However, a 2007 Government Accountability Office report stated: "According to estimates by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and other experts we consulted, the CAFE program has helped save billions of barrels of oil and could continue to do so in the future."
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said of the environmental effects following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, "[N]ature cleaned it up faster than we ever could." However, an NOAA research chemist reportedly said "very little of the oil actually disappeared," while scientists employed by the state and federal governments recently reported that the effects of the oil spill remain.
The New York Times and The Washington Times uncritically reported that the McCain campaign "ridiculed" Sen. Barack Obama for encouraging people to properly inflate their tires to increase fuel efficiency without noting that the practice has been to shown to reduce fuel consumption or that two Republican governors and McCain surrogates have referred to the fuel economy benefits of properly inflated tires.
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity criticized the purchase of credits to offset one's "carbon footprint," asserting, "Those offsets -- that is the biggest hoax in the world. ... You know what it's like? You go cheat on your wife, and then say, 'Honey, but don't worry. I bought an offset.' Good luck." Hannity has yet to address the pledge by News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch "to be carbon neutral, across all our businesses" -- which includes Fox News -- "by 2010."
On Special Report, citing purported findings by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, Brit Hume claimed that Al Gore's "energy use has surged more than 10 percent" since environmentally friendly renovations were completed on his home. Hume offered no response from Gore. Responding to the charge, a Gore spokeswoman stated that "[w]hen [the Gores] do use power, it's green power." According to the Tennessee Valley Authority, green power "create[s] less waste and pollution" than standard electricity.
Glenn Beck falsely claimed that "drilling in ANWR alone would yield 100 million barrels a day." In fact, according to Energy Department researchers, if the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is opened for drilling for oil in 2008, the estimated peak production would yield, at most, 1.45 million barrels a day in 2028.
Reuters reported that Sen. John McCain would pledge "to take the lead in combating global climate change if elected president in a speech that set him apart from the policies of U.S. President George W. Bush." However, in reporting on McCain's environmental positions that his campaign believes will "win support from independents and centrist Democrats," Reuters did not mention his voting record and did not include any criticism of McCain's positions. By contrast, The Washington Post noted that "McCain's lifetime League of Conservation Voters score is 24 percent, compared with 86 for Obama and 86 for Clinton."