Susan Page’s first question to Sen. Kamala Harris during the climate segment of the vice presidential debate, in which she relitigated the Biden-Harris campaign stance on the Green New Deal, is without a doubt attributable to Fox’s coverage.
For nearly two years, while other TV news networks have barely articulated what the Green New Deal is and what it would accomplish, Fox News has been hammering the same message, falsely tethering the proposal to radical socialism and economic devastation, over and over again.
And over the past seven days, since the first presidential debate, Fox pushed false narratives about Biden’s support for the Green New Deal at least 48 times. Specifically, Fox News falsely claimed that Biden flip-flopped on his Green New Deal support 27 times and that Biden’s stance on the Green New Deal will drive a wedge between moderates and progressives 21 times.
These narratives emerged from an exchange during the September 29 debate when Biden declared that he doesn’t support the Green New Deal and instead favors his own climate plan; in one of his many interruptions, President Donald Trump remarked that Biden “just lost the radical left” with that statement.
Along with Fox, Trump surrogates and right-wing media -- including Trump campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp, Fox contributor Guy Benson, and Breitbart -- specifically clung onto the fact that Biden’s website acknowledges that “the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.” This is the only mention of the proposal in Biden’s climate plan that lays out a separate path for the U.S. to achieve “a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050.”
Still, this one mention has been treated as some sort of “gotcha” moment following last week’s debate. But as the conservative Washington Examiner reported the day after the debate, “Conservatives seemed surprised that Biden distanced himself from the Green New Deal, but he’s never endorsed it.”
Despite this, Page's question echoed Fox’s coverage this week and also the nearly two years the network has spent making the ambitious proposal toxic and labeling “virtually every climate change effort as part of the Green New Deal.” But in reality, the plan is both popular among the public and in line with what scientists say is necessary to stop the worst effects of climate change.
SUSAN PAGE (MODERATOR): Sen. Harrris, as the vice president mentioned, you co-sponsored the Green New Deal in Congress. But Vice President Biden said in last week's debate that he does not support the Green New Deal. But if you look at the Biden-Harris campaign website it describes the Green New Deal as a "crucial framework." What exactly would be the stance of a Biden-Harris administration toward the Green New Deal?
Fox News is going to do what Fox News does. It will propagate and relentlessly spread misleading and false information about the Green New Deal to its viewers. The network can be easy to dismiss, but it shouldn’t be. It is dangerous that Fox is playing a role in shaping the conservation about climate action in one of the highest stake elections of our time.