A May 22 House committee hearing on the extinction crisis devolved into a spectacle resembling a Fox News segment, thanks to two frequent Fox guests who were invited by Republicans to testify.
The House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held a hearing on the recent summary report from the United Nations that warned human activity is leading to the possible extinction of up to 1 million plant and animal species. The Democratic majority invited expert scientists as witnesses, including Robert Watson, who led the U.N. team that wrote the biodiversity report, and two of the other scientists who worked on it. The Republican minority invited two of Fox News’ favorite climate deniers, Marc Morano and Patrick Moore, who only downplayed the report's findings and cast doubt on climate science.
Morano and Moore have appeared on Fox multiple times in 2019
Morano, a notorious, polluter-backed climate denier, is a Fox News favorite, regularly invited on-air to discuss environmental topics despite the fact that he has no scientific credentials. So far in 2019, Morano has appeared on Fox News shows at least 10 times. His most recent appearances were on May 6 when he commented on the U.N. biodiversity report on two of Fox's “news”-side shows, Shepard Smith Reporting and Special Report with Bret Baier. Both shows aired footage of Morano trying to undermine the report:
MARC MORANO: This is politics, not science. The U.N. is trying to expand its base to include climate and species. They are looking for more treaties, more regulation. They have identified a problem, they've juiced it up, and they put themselves in charge of solving the problem. That's called a self-interested lobbying organization.
Morano has also appeared three times this year on President Donald Trump's favorite show, Fox & Friends: on April 30, when he claimed that carbon dioxide is not pollution; on February 12, when he called efforts to reduce climate change "medieval witchcraft"; and on February 8, when he lied about what's in the Green New Deal and called it “a big bowl of crazy.”
Morano has also repeatedly appeared on Infowars, the far-right outlet run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. And he recently attacked a young climate activist online, which led to trolls threatening her.
Moore is another Fox News favorite who is frequently invited on the network to downplay environmental issues or to deny that climate change is happening, despite also having no background as a climate scientist and raking in money from polluting industries. So far in 2019, he has appeared on Fox News shows at least five times, all in mid-March. One notable appearance came on the March 12 episode of Fox & Friends, during which he claimed that “the whole climate crisis, as they call it, is not only fake news, it's fake science.” This appearance caught the eye of another climate denier, Trump, who approvingly tweeted out a quote from Moore. Moore tries to appear credible by claiming that he was a co-founder of Greenpeace, but this is not true.
Morano and Moore made a mockery of the House hearing, and that’s exactly what Republicans wanted
The May 22 House hearing was supposed to be about the U.N.'s new extinction report, but Morano and Moore made a mockery of this occasion by accusing the scientists who wrote the report of having a political agenda and by downplaying the effects of climate change.
In his written testimony, Morano claimed that his political science background is “an ideal background for examining the latest round of UN environmental claims” and argued that the U.N. “twists and hypes and distorts science in order to push a political agenda.” During the hearing, he also wrongly attacked the 97% scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. Subcommittee Chair Jared Huffman (D-CA) called Morano out for “trolling” climate scientists, saying he came from the “shadowy corners of these junior varsity think tanks.”
In Moore’s written testimony, he called the U.N. report's findings “highly exaggerated” and made reference to the “manufactured ‘climate crisis.’” He also falsely stated that without rising CO2 levels, plants would be much worse off. Moore often sings the praises of pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere, despite the fact that it is definitely not good.
Morano and Moore also got more time at the hearing than the four scientists invited by the Democrats, according to Public Citizen.
Fox News has helped to put Morano and Moore in the public eye by giving them a platform to sow doubt about climate change and other serious environmental issues, and now the two men’s latest Fox-worthy rants are part of the congressional record. The vicious cycle continues.