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Brian Powell

Author ››› Brian Powell
  • Virginia News Coverage Ignores Reality As GOP Pushes For Tighter Voter ID

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    As Republican lawmakers in Virginia moved to further tighten the state's voter ID requirements, the state's two largest newspapers abandoned the larger factual context of the debate by failing to report the scarcity of voter fraud and the state's history of voter disenfranchisement.

    The Richmond Times-Dispatch and Norfolk's Virginian-Pilot reported that both a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee and the Senate Privileges and Election Committee approved separate bills that would further tighten Virginia's voter ID requirements. The newspapers each employed a he-said/she-said presentation of the debate and failed to inform readers of the fact that in-person voter fraud -- the kind of fraud ID laws are supposedly meant to mitigate -- is extremely rare.

    From the Times-Dispatch, which characterized the arguments for and against the proposed photo identification election bill in shallow back-and-forth fashion: 

    Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, the sponsor of Senate Bill 1256, has said it would help ensure integrity in elections and deter voter fraud, while critics said it would further disenfranchise poor, elderly and minority voters.

    [...]

    Democrats, voting groups and civil rights organizations accuse Republicans of attempting to suppress the vote.

    Meanwhile, the Virginian-Pilot balanced a pro-voter ID anecdote from a House panel witness who found "that someone else had voted under her name in 2008" against "a variety of other speakers -- representing groups from the League of Women Voters to the NAACP," who opposed the ID requirement "as costly and unnecessary, saying it would disenfranchise minority, elderly and low-income Virginians." 

    The Times-Dispatch and the Virginian-Pilot ignored objective realities about the kind of "voter fraud" Sen. Obenshain claimed to be fighting. According to NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, in-person voter fraud is "more rare than getting struck by lightning." Investigations by The New York TimesNews21 and Demos have all found little or no evidence of in-person voter fraud, and there are no credible claims that voter fraud swayed the outcomes of any major election in 2012.

    The editorial board of the Times-Dispatch acknowledged the scarcity of voter fraud in an editorial on January 17, describing voter impersonation as "virtually nonexistent" and noting that "the evidence of need for [tightened voter-ID requirements] is almost as scant as the evidence of Bigfoot." Yet this fact remained absent from the newspaper's January 30 news coverage of the voter ID debate.

    Furthermore, both newspapers missed an opportunity to inform readers about Virginia's history of race-based voter disenfranchisement -- a history that remains procedurally relevant thanks to the Voting Rights Act, which (via Section 5 of the Act) requires states like Virginia to receive approval from the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court before they may finalize changes to their electoral system.

    Virginia media followed in the footsteps of the Associated Press, which failed to note the importance of the VRA in a similar story about a Republican voter ID push in North Carolina earlier this month. While the Virginian-Pilot acknowledged the existence of the VRA in the lawmaking process, it failed to explain the state's history of voter disenfranchisement, which is why the VRA Section 5 applies to Virginia. The Times-Dispatch failed to mention the Act at all.

  • Media Ignore VA Attorney General's Conflict Of Interest In Energy Proposal

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli proposed an agreement with power companies that would repeal state incentives for clean energy programs and save the companies money, but the Associated Press and the Richmond Times-Dispatch failed to note that Cuccinelli, who is running for governor in 2013, recently received major contributions from Dominion Power, Koch Industries, and other companies that could directly or indirectly profit from the proposed agreement.

    From the Times-Dispatch:

    Customers of Virginia's two big electric power companies likely will save hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 12 years under an agreement worked out between the state Attorney General's Office and the utilities.

    The proposal would repeal the state's bonuses for renewable energy programs and building fossil-fuel power plants. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in a report in November that the bonuses have not produced intended environmental gains or encouraged power plant construction.

    The article noted that the proposal would "reduce Dominion Virginia Power's revenue requirements by $38.5 million," and provide the following benefits to the power companies:

    • expanding the financial performance limits defining when the companies "overearn" or "underearn" compared with their state-authorized rate of return; and

    • allowing utilities to recover the costs of catastrophic natural events and early power plant closings, because of new environmental rules or factors beyond the companies' control, during the biennial review period they occur for financial reporting purposes.

    A Dominion Power statement called the proposal "another step forward for Dominion Virginia Power's customers."

    Neither the Times-Dispatch nor the Associated Press mentioned that Cuccinelli has recently received $10,000 in campaign contributions from Dominion Power's political action committee and another $50,000 from the Koch brothers, who are deeply invested in the oil and gas industry. Other large contributions from the fossil fuel industry have been recorded, including Alpha Natural Resources, a coal company notorious for its dangerously poor safety record.

  • Kentucky Radio Host Compares Firearms Regulations To Nazi "Yellow Star" Laws

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    Right-wing rhetoric on potential gun control measures in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, continued to come unhinged as right-wing radio host Mandy Connell (Kentucky's WHAS-AM) compared a proposed firearms policy to the Nazi practice of forcing Jewish Germans to wear yellow stars

    Louisville radio station WFPL described the exchange between Connell and Congressman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) which took place on January 10:

    In a tense exchange over gun control, WHAS radio host Mandy Connell told Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., some regulations could be the first step in total citizen disarmament.

    Yarmuth has co-sponsored a bill that would ban high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and is a proponent of other regulations in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre.

    In an on-air interview with Yarmuth on Thursday, Connell said responsible gun owners should also be concerned about further regulations, and compared attempts to register legal gun owners to the Nazi regime tagging Jewish Germans.

    "Every country in the world that has taken and de-armed its citizenry started with incremental gun measures," she said. "This is not unprecedented in history and anybody that pays attention is right to be concerned of an overly intrusive government. Things like Diane Feinstein requiring gun owners to register if they're already a legal gun owner. Why don't we make them wear yellow stars as well? Why don't we tag everybody?"

    Connell's statements aren't isolated. Right-wing media figures ranging from Matt Drudge to personalities on Fox News have dipped into the Nazi analogy pool in recent days. Drudge linked to a report about a potential executive order regarding guns by placing photos of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin adjacent to the headline. A variety of Fox News' guests and contributors, as well as other right-wing pundits, have made similar comparisons.

  • Voter ID Resurfaces In State Legislatures, But ALEC Remains Incognito In Media Coverage

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    As conservative legislators in nine states renew the push for restrictive voter ID laws, their efforts have been aided by state media outlets that continue to ignore or misinform readers on the issue.

    Republican lawmakers in several states  -- Alaska, Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin -- have stated that new or more restrictive voter ID rules will top their agendas in 2013. (Republicans control both houses of the legislature in all those states but New York and West Virginia. In Virginia, the GOP controls the House and maintains a 50/50 split with Democrats in the state Senate.) These proposals come just weeks after the 2012 election, in which there was no evidence of massive voter fraud.

    Media Matters analysis of the largest newspapers in each state found that coverage of these new voter ID initiatives has been largely devoid of context about the overstated dangers of voter fraud or of the significant influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a shadowy organization dedicated to pushing a homogeneous conservative agenda state-by-state. Only four of the nine newspapers covered the 2013 initiatives at all, and only one mentioned ALEC.

  • Charlotte Observer Overlooks The ALEC Link To Green Energy Agenda In North Carolina

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    The Charlotte Observer failed to connect the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to an attack on North Carolina's successful green energy mandates, which is being led by state Republican majority whip -- and ALEC member -- Mike Hager. From the December 31 article:

    The N.C. House's new Republican majority whip believes he has the votes to stop North Carolina's green-energy mandate - the first in the Southeast when it was enacted in 2007 - in its tracks.

    The law says electric utilities have to derive rising amounts of their retail sales from solar, wind or biomass sources, beginning at 3 percent this year and ending at 12.5 percent by 2021. Separate, smaller targets for solar energy took effect in 2010.

    Senate Bill 3, as the law is commonly known, is widely credited with creating markets for renewable energy - especially solar power - that didn't exist in North Carolina before it was adopted. Advocates say it has produced thousands of jobs despite a slumping economy.

    But Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherford County views the mandate as the government unfairly "picking winners and losers" in the marketplace. As chairman of the Public Utilities committee, Hager would like to freeze it at the current 3 percent level.

    The article misses an important point -- that Hager is a member of ALEC, an organization described in the Observer (in an article re-published from the Anchorage Daily News) only a week earlier as a "secretive legislation mill that combines conservative thought with corporate interests." Hager's agenda regarding North Carolina's green energy mandates parrots one of ALEC's current nation-wide priorities. From The Washington Post (emphasis added):

    The Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank skeptical of climate change science, has joined with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council to write model legislation aimed at reversing state renewable energy mandates across the country.

    The Electricity Freedom Act, adopted by the council's board of directors in October, would repeal state standards requiring utilities to get a portion of their electricity from renewable power, calling it "essentially a tax on consumers of electricity."

    The previously-mentioned Anchorage Daily News piece expounded upon ALEC's energy agenda as well, describing the efforts ALEC has taken in Alaska and other states to try to "roll-back" the renewable energy mandate by painting it as a "tax." From the ADN:

    Nick Surgey, staff counsel for Common Cause, said one hot ALEC issue is an effort pushed by the coal industry and other traditional energy sources to roll back renewable energy targets and mandates adopted by some 30 states, including Alaska.

    Backers of the roll-back call the targets a "tax" on power consumers who might have to pay more, at least in the short term, because the capital costs can be expensive. But supporters say they will reduce carbon emissions, establish 21st-century industries in the United States and make the country less reliant on imports.

    The Washington Post noted that ALEC and Heartland "accept money from oil, gas and coal companies that compete against renewable energy suppliers." In fact, Hager has individually received campaign contributions from Duke Energy (his previous employer), Progress Energy (now merged with Duke Energy) and Dominion Resources, all of which are corporate members of ALEC.

    While the Charlotte Observer provided balanced discussion of the mandates' costs and benefits, the paper's readership could benefit from an expanded vetting of special interest influences on North Carolina's state legislators.

  • The Oklahoman's New Year Prayer For Cooler Temps Ignores Climate Change

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    On its list of wishes for the New Year, The Oklahoman is pleading to God for "a wetter, cooler summer" after two years of drought and high temperatures -- an odd request, given that the publication has a history of denying the existence of climate change and ignoring evidence that global warming can exacerbate severe drought conditions.

    Rejecting the tradition of New Year's resolutions as "well-intended vows that usually don't wind up amounting to much," The Oklahoman passed up an opportunity for self-evaluation and instead made a list of "wishes" that the editorial board hopes will come to pass in 2013. The board's first wish was for a cooler summer:

    As the new year begins, we're offering wishes instead of resolutions. What follows is a compilation of what The Oklahoman's editorial board hopes to see come to pass in 2013, here and elsewhere.

    A wetter, cooler summer: Enough with the heat and drought! We thought 2011 was bad, and it was, but 2012 wasn't much better. There were fewer 100-degree days than the year before, but that 113-degree reading at Will Rogers World Airport on Aug. 4 was over the top. Oklahoma begins the new year with 90 percent of the state experiencing extreme to exceptional drought. What's needed is an extended period (or two, or three) of soaking rainfall. From our lips to God's ears!

  • Ohio Newspapers Fail To Connect ALEC To New Efforts To Loosen Firearms Laws

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    ALECOhio's largest newspapers ignored the influence that gun lobby campaign contributions and the American Legislative Exchange Council may have had in pushing forward a bill that would that would loosen firearms regulations in the state. The proposal, which closely resembles ALEC model legislation, would allow gun owners to bring firearms and loaded clips into the parking lots under the state Capitol and require the recognition of out-of-state conceal carry licenses.  

    The Columbus Dispatch described Ohio House Bill 495, which has been pushed forward by an Ohio Senate committee:

    House Bill 495 essentially would treat concealed-carry licenses like drivers' licenses -- if you have one in another state, it would be recognized in Ohio.

    In addition, the bill would allow people without concealed-carry licenses to now carry loaded ammunition clips in their vehicles, so long as they are stored in a compartment separate from the unloaded gun. It also would allow people to bring their guns to the Statehouse or the Riffe Center parking garages on Capitol Square, as long as the guns remain in their vehicles.

    The bill, pushed by the National Rifle Association and other Ohio pro-gun groups, also says that a concealed-carry licensee no longer has to demonstrate competency when renewing the license.

    Current Ohio law bars those convicted of misdemeanor offenses of violence and drug offenders from obtaining concealed-carry licenses, and require applicants to demonstrate firearms safety competence. As many other states have no such requirements, residents of those states who would not be eligible to earn a license if they were Ohio residents would gain the ability to legally carry concealed if House Bill 495 were passed into law.

    While the Dispatch noted that the gun lobby was pushing the bill, they failed to point out that this 'push' took the form of significant campaign contributions to one of the bill's sponsors, Ohio House Majority Whip John Adams (R), who is "the top recipient of gun industry money in Ohio's current legislature," according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Public Campaign, a group dedicated to reducing the role of special interest money in politics.

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer fared no better in exposing gun lobby money. Its story quoted Senate President Tom Niehaus (R), who is responsible for bringing the bill to the floor, as supporting the bill. But thousands of dollars in political contributions to Niehaus from, among others, the NRA and the Buckeye Firearms Association, were omitted from the Plain Dealer's article. 

    Equally egregious is the fact that both publications completely omitted the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a shadowy conservative organization behind the passage in many states of "stand your ground" laws that became infamous in the wake of the shooting death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin earlier this year. House Bill 495 closely resembles ALEC model legislation, the "Concealed Carry True Reciprocity Act," which states:

    A person licensed or permitted to carry a firearm in any state whose laws recognize and give effect in that state to a license or permit issued under the laws of the State of {insert state} shall be authorized to carry a firearm in this state.

    Twenty-three co-sponsors of House Bill 495 are or have been members of ALEC, including Adams, who chairs the group's Ohio arm. Two members of the Senate committee who approved the bill on Wednesday are members as well.

    What's more, the Dispatch and the Plain Dealer reported that the Senate committee's initial proposal would have prevented Ohio universities from banning guns on campus, but this language was narrowed after concerns from officials at Ohio State University. The papers failed to mention that ALEC and the NRA have teamed up in the past to push for laws allowing firearms on campus, even after mass shootings devastated Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University.

  • Right-To-Work Myths Unchallenged In Ohio Media

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    Major Ohio newspapers used right-wing framing to cover the re-emergence of a right-to-work movement in the state after recent right-to-work victories in Indiana and Michigan. Though the narrative is only just developing, the Toledo Blade and the Cincinnati Enquirer already failed to challenge the veracity of statements from the movement's special interest supporters.

    The Cincinnati Enquirer parroted the demand of the state and regional chambers of commerce that right-to-work in Ohio "needs the law to compete" with Indiana and Michigan." From the December 11 article:

    As neighboring Michigan moved Tuesday to become a "right-to-work" state - and 10,000 protesters jammed the lawn of its Capitol - Ohio groups who support the laws say Ohio has to follow suit or watch jobs leave.

    "When we are working with companies who want to investigate locations, the first question on their list is right to work," said Phillip Parker, president and chief executive officer of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. He later backed off his statement at an afternoon press conference, but there are other indications the fight may be coming to Ohio.

    A group called Ohioans for Workplace Freedom is gathering signatures to put the issue on the fall ballot. They need 385,253.

    "Indiana has done this. Michigan will. What choice will Ohio have," tea party activist Chris Littleton of West Chester told the Toledo Blade this week. "This is economic jet fuel for job creation, wage growth and a vibrant Ohio economy. If two border states do this, how can Ohio afford not to do this?"

    Meanwhile, the Toledo Blade reported on December 11:

    As Michigan lawmakers prepare today to make the Wolverine State the latest right-to-work state, petitions are circulating on Ohio streets to put a similar issue directly before Buckeye voters.

    "People are ready to double-down. ... Michigan has revitalized a lot of our effort," said Chris Littleton, former president of the Ohio Liberty Council, the closest thing Ohio has to a statewide Tea Party group.

    He said the petition effort was sidetracked by the 2012 elections, but a meeting of regional volunteers last week was energized by what's happening in Michigan. The goal is to gather roughly 380,000 signatures needed by early July to qualify for the November, 2013, election.

    "Indiana has done this," he said. "Michigan will. What choice will Ohio have? This is economic jet fuel for job creation, wage growth, and a vibrant Ohio economy. If two border states do this, how can Ohio afford not to do this?"

    The assertion made by the Ohio chambers and the Tea Party source -- that Ohio won't be able to remain competitive without a right-to-work law now that its neighbors have passed them -- will likely be repeated in the coming months, even though it runs contrary to expert opinion.

    The Center for American Progress and the Economic Policy Institute both found that right-to-work laws have "no significant positive impact" on employment and "no statistically significant impact" on job growth. Hofstra University professor Lonnie Stevans found that right-to-work laws yield "little or no gain in employment and real economic growth," and studies show that right-to-work states have lower wages among both union and non-union workers.

    The Economic Policy Institute also debunked the claim that right-to-work plays a primary role in a company's decision to open shop in a given state when they found "not a single" business executive in Indiana who said right-to-work "made the difference" to their decisions:

    Not a single company says it came to Indiana because of RTW

    [The Indiana Economic Development Commission (IEDC)] is a vocal advocate for RTW. Yet, while the agency reports that scores of companies have "communicated" that RTW "will factor into their decision-making process of where to locate," the commission's Legislative Update report does not identify a single company that says RTW made the difference in their decision to locate in Indiana. The commission offers quotes from a number of executives who praise RTW, but not a single one says it made the difference to their decisions.

  • How The Colorado Springs Gazette's New Owner Could Influence Its Energy Coverage

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    Philip Anschutz, billionaire oil baron-turned-media mogul, has acquired the Colorado Springs Gazette, adding the Colorado daily to a growing stable of Anschutz-controlled newspapers that includes the largest newspaper in the neighboring state of Oklahoma; and if the past is any indication, the future objectivity of the Gazette's content, especially as it pertains to energy issues, is in considerable peril. 

    Since being acquired by Anschutz in September 2011, The Oklahoman, especially its editorial page, has consistently advocated for energy policy positions that would line its owner's pockets. The Gazette looks poised to follow suit -- other than the goal of providing content across a variety of technological platforms, the only specific changes Anschutz has promised (through his media company Clarity Media Group) constitute a vast expansion of the paper's opinion pages, with no mention of additional resources needed to report the news.

    From the Gazette's editorial board (emphasis added):

    In coming weeks, expect to see exciting changes. Clarity executives plan to add pages and personnel. The opinion section will expand from one page to at least two on weekdays, and possibly more on Sundays. We will add new columnists and additional editorials. Readers should begin seeing changes very soon.

    Mostly, we will work with more dedication than ever to serve our community with news and information our customers want and need. We plan to inform customers in print and on all platforms, ranging from smartphones, to tablets, to laptops and all other information mediums the public chooses to embrace today and into the future. We will inform, persuade and entertain. We will serve as a watchdog, guarding liberty and the interests of our community.

    Given Colorado's importance as a (re-)emerging source of oil shale and natural gas, and given Anschutz's use of The Oklahoman's opinion pages to advocate for open drilling policies and against carbon controls, Gazette readers can likely expect a similar kind of distorted coverage and commentary. (In late November, for example, The Oklahoman's editors expressed skepticism about global warming and warned against "mixing science" with politics).

    And the Gazette's current editors didn't wrap up their announcement with reassurances that their coverage would remain independent and uninfluenced by ownership -- just the opposite, in fact:

    Anschutz has been successful in business, ranking high on the Forbes 400 for decades, because he works to improve the world he lives in.

    We at The Gazette plan to help him expand this important role.

    Of course, the Forbes 400 doesn't rank people on their contributions to society -- it's a "definitive ranking of the nation's super rich." Presumably, Anschutz has remained on the list for decades because he's skilled at making money, and he now has the Gazette to help him make even more.

  • The Oklahoman Instructs Policymakers To Ignore Science

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    The Oklahoman advocated for the separation of science and policy in its editorial pages, expressing serious misgivings about the veracity of manmade climate change and warning that we shouldn't "mi[x] science" with politics. The newspaper is Oklahoma's largest source of printed news and is owned by billionaire oil and gas tycoon Philip Anschutz.

    In a November 28 editorial headlined "Mixing science, politics can result in bad policy," The Oklahoman put scare quotes around the word "science" when discussing global warming and argued that, because the science of climate change isn't "settled," it may as well be ignored by policymakers (emphasis added):

    [S]cientific evidence for global warming remains muddled at best. The United Kingdom-based Daily Mail recently noted data compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea showed the world stopped getting warmer nearly 16 years ago. Before that, temperatures rose from 1980 to 1996, but had been stable or declined for the 40 years prior to that period. Some scientists believe those temperature changes are a product of natural variability and non-manmade causes. Definitive proof remains elusive for all sides.

    Those who claim science is "settled" don't understand science. In 1854, cholera was tied to contaminated water. It took nearly 30 years before that explanation was accepted over theories blaming bad vapors for outbreaks.

    When politics taints science more than science improves and informs policy, the results can be distressing. Should we wipe out countless jobs and increase economic hardship for families in the name of global warming theories that could ultimately prove no more valid than the cholera-vapors link?

    Skeptical Science, a website dedicated to "explain[ing] what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming," responded to arguments by climate change skeptics who claim, like The Oklahoman, that the science isn't "settled," and is therefore unworthy of consideration by policymakers and politicians:

    No science is ever "settled"; science deals in probabilities, not certainties. When the probability of something approaches 100%, then we can regard the science, colloquially, as "settled". 

    [...]

    Outside of logic and mathematics, we do not live in a world of certainties. Science comes to tentative conclusions based on the balance of evidence. The more independent lines of evidence are found to support a scientific theory, the closer it is likely to be to the truth. Just because some details are still not well understood should not cast into doubt our understanding of the big picture: humans are causing global warming.

    In most aspects of our lives, we think it rational to make decisions based on incomplete information. We will take out insurance when there is even a slight probability that we will need it. Why should our planet's climate be any different?

    The National Research Council (NRC) echoed these sentiments in a climate change report, stating that the occurrence of manmade global warming was "so thoroughly examined and tested" that there is a "vanishingly small" likelihood that the findings will be overturned. The report also reiterated the point that certain scientific conclusions have been more thoroughly verified than others, which should have been obvious to editors at The Oklahoman, who dubiously compared modern studies on climate change to 19th century theories about cholera outbreaks. From the NRC report (emphasis added):

    From a philosophical perspective, science never proves anything--in the manner that mathematics or other formal logical systems prove things--because science is fundamentally based on observations. Any scientific theory is thus, in principle, subject to being refined or overturned by new observations. In practical terms, however, scientific uncertainties are not all the same. Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities. In other cases, particularly for matters that are at the leading edge of active research, uncertainties may be substantial and important. In these cases, care must be taken not to draw stronger conclusions than warranted by the available evidence.

    The Oklahoman published its editorial just one week after the Washington Examiner (also owned by Anschutz) published an op-ed arguing that cutting carbon emissions is futile, raising ethical questions about the papers' tendencies to oppose any policies that would harm their owner's pocketbook.

    And The Oklahoman's editorial serves as yet another piece of evidence that conservative voices will attack any peer-reviewed science that doesn't align with their political agenda. Earlier this year, a study by the American Sociological Association looked at "trends in public trust in science in the United States from 1974 to 2010." They found that "conservatives began the period with the highest trust in science, relative to liberals and moderates, and ended the period with the lowest," a finding that seemed to confirm the theories expounded by Chris Mooney in his 2005 book The Republican War on Science -- that the conservative movement has developed a uniquely adversarial relationship with scientific conclusions. The Oklahoman's "Mixing science, politics can result in bad policy" is a clear illustration of this phenomenon.