The Commission on Presidential Debates announced last Friday the list of official topics for this Thursday’s scheduled match-up between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden — and Fox News is angry that climate change is on the list.
Fox News has been a major outlet for climate change denial, just recently bringing on multiple guests to deny the connection between the climate and the severity of the California wildfires. In the past, Fox commentators have called climate scientists “eco-terrorists,” dismissed the science itself as “fake news” and “fake science,” and claimed that the entire topic is a plot to “control” the public. And going back to the earlier half of the past decade, frequent Fox News guest Donald Trump often claimed that climate change was a “hoax.”
At the top of Monday’s edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade complained about the whole list of debate topics: “Where’s foreign policy? Where’s the economy?” he said. “We’re talking about American families, race in America, climate change. Who wrote this up — Barack Obama?” (In fact, the official list includes “Fighting COVID-19” and “American Families,” which encompass both the economy and health care, as well as “National Security,” which clearly includes foreign policy.)
The Hill media reporter Joe Concha called the debate topics a “fixed fight” and falsely claimed that there was “nothing ... whatsoever” on the issues on people’s minds — such as the economy, health care, and foreign policy. In fact, polling this year — including from Pew Research, the firm that Concha cited for survey data — has shown that climate change is indeed an important topic for voters, and they have wanted to see questions about it in presidential debates.
Concha continued: “Instead, we’re going to talk about climate change again, which occurred in the first debate — and that's fine if you want to bring that up, but for it to be in two debates — and all the other topics seem to be in Joe Biden's sweet spot, while being troublesome for President Trump.”
It does seem like an interesting admission to allege that a debate that talks about COVID-19, American families, and national security is a “fixed fight” against the incumbent president.
Kilmeade later offered some direct coaching to Trump, offering up what he said should be Trump’s prepared response on climate change. “If you come back with stuff that he knows, but maybe doesn't know specific, that's called preparation,” Kilmeade said. “And that's when people say, ‘Wait a second. We are doing things the right way.’ Natural gas is not evil — we are exporting it at a dizzying level.”
Kilmeade also claimed that America’s natural gas “burns clean.” Just to be clear, natural gas does not burn cleanly, and it is not a long-term solution to the climate crisis.