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Max Greenberg

Author ››› Max Greenberg
  • Fox Cherry-Picks Solar Stat To Degrade Growing Green Sector

    Blog ››› ››› MAX GREENBERG

    Fox News is using a recent report that solar companies are having trouble finding qualified workers to suggest that the country isn't "ready to go green." But employers in other sectors claim similar issues, and the stat is cherry-picked from a report that outlines many promising signs in the industry, including the fact that solar jobs have grown nearly six times faster than the rest of the economy.

    Fox & Friends First and Fox Nation are promoting a recent finding that 63 percent of solar companies said it was somewhat or very difficult to find qualified applicants to fill open positions to suggest that the country might not be "ready to go green":

    But the finding comes from a recent report by the independent Solar Foundation, which also found that employment in the solar industry grew over 13 percent from August 2011 to September this year, equivalent to nearly six times the national average employment growth rate over the same period. It is expected to grow by 17 percent over the next year. Only 6 percent of employers reported a lack of trained workers as a major barrier to solar growth.

    Furthermore, solar firms that report some difficulty finding qualified applicants aren't saying anything markedly different than employers in other industries.

    A 2012 survey by the Manpower Group, a major human resource consulting firm, found that "just under half of American employers reported they had trouble filling jobs, with 44 percent citing lack of experience as a major factor. CEOs and college presidents surveyed for a 2011 study supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce mentioned similar issues, with 53 percent claiming that "their companies face a very or fairly major challenge in recruiting nonmanagerial employees with the skills, training, and education their company needs."

  • Fox Takes Obama Out Of Context To Make Him A Climate Skeptic

    Blog ››› ››› MAX GREENBERG

    Fox News' The Five aired an out-of-context clip from President Obama's press conference yesterday to claim that he was "giving up on climate change." In fact, the president affirmed his acceptance of the science on climate change moments later and said we have "an obligation to future generations to do something about it."

    During President Obama's first White House press conference after winning reelection, the New York Times' Mark Landler invoked the effects of Hurricane Sandy in asking the president what he planned to do in a second term to tackle climate change. Obama responded that while "we can't attribute any particular weather event to climate change," we do know "the temperature around the globe is increasing" and "there have been an extraordinarily large number of severe weather events here in North America, but also around the globe."

    The Five seized on Obama's statement that no individual weather event can be blamed on climate change to suggest that he is "giving up on climate change" in a "big change from four years ago":

    But if Fox had rolled the tape for an additional 30 seconds, they would have heard the president say "I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. And as a consequence, I think we've got an obligation to future generations to do something about it."

  • STUDY: TV Media Covered Biden's Smile Nearly Twice As Much As Climate Change

    ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL, JILL FITZSIMMONS & MAX GREENBERG

    Climate change was almost entirely absent from the political discourse this election season, receiving less than an hour of TV coverage over three months from the major cable and broadcast networks excluding MSNBC. By contrast, those outlets devoted nearly twice as much coverage to Vice President Joe Biden's demeanor during his debate with Rep. Paul Ryan. When climate change was addressed, print and TV media outlets often failed to note the scientific consensus or speak to scientists.

  • Fox Exposes Obama's War On Cheese Sauces

    Blog ››› ››› MAX GREENBERG

    Fox Nation has compiled several layoff announcements and is claiming that they were "trigger[ed]" by President Obama's reelection. But most of the companies, which make everything from automotive parts to cheese sauces, cite market factors that have nothing to do with the president, and one even disclosed the layoffs prior to the election.

    Many of the companies cited by Fox didn't mention Obama's reelection or his policies at all as a factor in their layoffs. An official for Associated Milk Producers Incorporated announced that it was closing a plant that makes products like cheese sauces and puddings due to the recent sale of that branch of the company. A Kentucky auto parts plant reported that its layoffs were disclosed before the election, and a statement from its parent company indicated that "lower demand in North America and excess global capacity" was the culprit. And an official for Momentive Performance Materials, which makes silicone-based products, cited economic factors for recent layoffs and said "temporary layoffs due to reduced demand are commonplace in manufacturing."

  • TIMELINE: Fox News' Role In The "Climate Of Doubt"

    ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL, JILL FITZSIMMONS & MAX GREENBERG

    PBS' Frontline recently aired a documentary titled "Climate of Doubt," examining how conservative groups, frequently funded by the fossil fuel industry, have pushed Republicans to reject the scientific consensus on manmade global warming. Here, Media Matters looks back at how Fox News has contributed to that "Climate of Doubt," often teaming up with industry to misrepresent science and attack all efforts to address this threat.

  • Economists Shoot Down Fox News' "Ridiculous" Gas Price Fable

    Blog ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL & MAX GREENBERG

    FoxNews.com is trying to dispute President Barack Obama's accurate assertion during the second debate that gasoline prices plummeted right before he was inaugurated due to the broader economic downturn, citing experts that "question" his claim. But one expert's argument has been called "ridiculous," and the other two did not dispute Obama's main point - that market factors, not U.S. energy policy, have propelled oil and gasoline prices upward since a temporary lull in early 2009. 

    In last week's presidential debate, Mitt Romney misleadingly claimed that gas prices have doubled during Obama's tenure. Obama correctly responded that gas prices plummeted just before he took office as the global economy experienced a massive recession. But Fox News, which had advised Romney to use this claim, remained in denial

    Bill O'Reilly tried to dispute Obama's claim by saying that if gas prices were low due to the recession, they couldn't be rising now because "the economy's still bad." Or as FoxNews.com recently claimed, Obama "impl[ied] that they are higher now because things are better." The U.S. economy was in free fall in 2008 and in many ways it is better off today than four years ago, but Fox is missing the more fundamental point that oil is a global commodity. Gas prices are almost back to the levels that they were prior to the recession because global oil demand is rising -- not U.S. oil demand, as Fox suggested. As Severin Borenstein of U.C. Berkeley's Haas School of Business explained in an email to Media Matters:

    Oil prices increased due to changes in the WORLD supply/demand balance. Growing demand in the developing world, declining supply from Mexico, Venezuela, Iran, etc. Note that the highest oil prices ever were in June 2008, under Bush. Those weren't Bush's fault and current oil prices aren't Obama's. Talking about U.S. demand as the major driver of oil prices is missing the point that it is a world oil market. 

    Indeed, this chart from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis illustrates that oil and gasoline prices were on a long-term upward trend -- peaking in 2008 before falling sharply just prior to Obama's inauguration:

  • How Conservative Media Wrote Romney's Energy Attacks

    ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL, JILL FITZSIMMONS & MAX GREENBERG

    Conservative media outlets pushed at least eleven misleading attacks on President Obama's energy policies that have become talking points used by Mitt Romney's campaign. The conservative media bubble has largely prevented voters from hearing the facts about clean energy programs, fossil fuel production and environmental regulation under the Obama administration.

  • Fox Smears Another Solar Company: Satcon Edition

    Blog ››› ››› MAX GREENBERG

    Today, Fox & Friends claimed that Satcon, a solar company that recently filed for bankruptcy, received $129 million in "taxpayer cash." In fact, the company only received small research grants, which enjoy bipartisan support.

    Satcon Technology, which makes parts for large solar power projects, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Satcon suffered from diminishing incentives in Europe and competition with European and American vendors in the $7 billion inverter market, but plans to continue operations.

    This morning, Fox & Friends' "News By The Numbers" segment featured Satcon:

    BRIAN KILMEADE: Next, $129 million. That's how much taxpayer cash went to solar company Satcon technology -- I hope I said that right -- but even that couldn't keep it afloat. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week.

  • Fox Bends The Facts To Back Up Romney's Oil Production Claims

    Blog ››› ››› MAX GREENBERG

    Today, Fox's Stuart Varney said that "the facts back up" Mitt Romney's suggestion during the second presidential debate that oil production on federal lands has dropped under President Obama. But fact-checkers have pointed out that Romney's argument was misleading - while production declined between 2010 and 2011 in the wake of the BP oil spill, overall oil production on federal lands is up since the Bush administration. 

    On America's Newsroom, Varney claimed that oil production is "way down" by "40 percent offshore, onshore drilling on federal land."

    VARNEY: I think where the real force came in was when the president made a mistake, a factual mistake. Governor Romney said, look, how do you account for the fact that drilling on federal land and offshore is way down? The president seemed to contest that but governor Romney came back strong and said look, it is down. Drilling is down. And the facts back up Governor Romney. We're down by about 40 percent offshore, onshore drilling on federal land. And that is a fact. And the president could not really answer that forcefully. In fact, he tried to take credit for the extra oil production on private land that we've got now to places like North Dakota.

    But Romney's claim, which Varney overstated, that "Production on government land of oil is down 14 percent," was misleading according to independent fact-checkers and others. As this chart created from Congressional Research Service data shows, oil production from federal lands was up in 2011 compared to 2007: