You'd think Fox News would have learned its lesson about trying to pass GOP press releases off as news content. But today, Fox built a segment around a press release from Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) declaring EPA grants to foreign nations the “Outrage Of The Year.” And, no surprise, Fox committed the same distortions as Inhofe.
Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced the segment by saying that the government is “now loaning foreign countries millions to promote climate change. Since February 2009, the EPA gave out 65 grants to foreign nations totaling $27 million. Outrageous, right?” Fox and Inhofe were particularly “outraged” about an EPA grant of what they claimed was "$718,000 to China for climate agenda."
But this grant, which doesn't actually have anything to do with climate change, was initiated in 2004 under the Bush Administration (the “project start” is "the date when work began on this grant.") In fact, as Rep. Henry Waxman revealed, "$21 million of the $27 million" represents grants started under Bush.
Indeed, EPA's overseas grants are nothing new, contrary to Kilmeade's claim. According to Fred Upton's (R-MI) report on the grants, which is the source of Inhofe's “outrage,” $100 million in award money has been approved over the past decade.
During the segment, the following on-screen graphic aired:
The image falsely claims the figure came from the GAO office, rather than Upton. Waxman stated that this number suffers from “a basic accounting error” because it “wrongly assumes that a project receiving one payment out of a multi-year grant in 2009 or 2010 received the entire lump sum in that year.”
And while Fox repeated the GOP talking point that the grants are part of a “climate change agenda,” the funds actually address a variety of environmental problems. For instance, the grant to China that Fox fixated on, is to “assist China to meet the requirements of both the Stockholm and Long Range Transport of Air Pollutants Conventions” through reducing “POPs,” and “persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals that are of concern to China and the US.”
An assessment report prepared for the UN found that POPs, or persistent organic pollutants, are predisposed to “long range transport” making this a “global problem” and that a number of POPs “have been implicated in a broad range of adverse human health and environmental effects including impaired reproduction and endocrine dysfunction, immunosuppression and cancer. In many cases, the substances are considered as possible human carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.”
According to Fox, $27 million is too much to spend on grants addressing global public health problems. To get a sense of Fox's priorities, it's worth recalling that when Obama proposed ending a tax break for corporate jet owners, which would save $3 billion over a decade, Fox & Friends declared: “It's not going to make much of a difference at all.”