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False Fox News Narrative Claims Biden Is Raising Energy Costs

In recent months, Fox News has pushed a series of unrelenting narratives blaming the current energy crisis solely on the Biden administration, while absolving the fossil fuel industry from any wrongdoing, despite the industry’s anti-consumerist practices. As gas prices continue to break records, reaching $5 per gallon nationally for the first time on June 11, Fox has been escalating its cynical and disingenuous attacks on the Biden administration.

One of the most pervasive narratives that Fox hosts and guests have been increasingly advancing is the idea that the Biden administration is deliberately harming the American energy sector to usher in a transition to renewable energy. Although this line of attack was floated as early as April, it is being deployed by Fox at an increasing pace on both its so-called “news” side and opinion side.

The narrative seems to serve a nefarious purpose. It allows Fox to continue running cover for the fossil fuel industry by pretending the conversation about energy prices has been settled. Instead of recognizing the complex economic factors that determine the price at the pump, Fox has repeatedly accused the Biden administration of intentionally harming energy producers and consumers, which allows the network to leapfrog over causation directly to intent. In Fox’s telling, Biden is no longer incompetent; he’s an evil mastermind unleashing the power of the federal government against the noble fossil fuel industry and working-class Americans to crash the economy and unilaterally enact the Green New Deal.

Despite Fox’s claims to the contrary, Biden has pivoted away from aggressive actions to reduce carbon emissions and toward the fossil fuel industry’s demands for a regulatory environment that favors increased production of oil and gas. But rather than presenting this reality to its viewers, the network is content to repeat and amplify harmful narratives. From hearings about fossil fuel industry price gouging, to Biden’s “incredible transition” comment, to Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) remarks about electric vehicles and gas prices, Fox finds a way to blame the Biden administration and claim that the economic pain millions of Americans are experiencing is deliberate.


Below is a nonexhaustive catalog of Fox News personalities and guests advancing this false and cynical narrative.

  • Host Tucker Carlson: “How would you go about taking full control over an economy built on fossil fuels? Well you'd first have to break the existing economy.”

    Host Tucker Carlson outlined an elaborate conspiracy theory in which the Biden administration worked to deliberately “make fossil fuels unaffordable for the average person” in order to push his green agenda. Carlson said: “You wouldn’t want to think that your government would intentionally exacerbate the suffering of millions of Ukrainian civilians in order to take over America's energy grid, but that seems to be exactly what is happening right now. And we know this because the administration essentially told us so.” [Tucker Carlson Tonight, 4/1/22]

  • Guest host Tammy Bruce: “It’s almost as though they’re moving us deliberately into, like, a Venezuela kind of thing.”

    Hannity guest host Tammy Bruce questioned whether the Biden administration was deliberately harming the fossil fuel industry. Her guest, fossil fuel shill Daniel Turner, said that even before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Biden administration had a “deliberate” strategy to “make fossil fuels unattractive” in order to sell its green agenda. He continued, “They purposefully made fossil fuels expensive, and we’re feeling the consequence of that right now.” [Hannity, 4/15/22]

  • Guest Quill Robinson: “This is the result of deliberate policy on the part of the Democrats.”

    Quill Robinson, vice president of governmental affairs for a right-wing think tank with Koch network connections, appeared on Fox News Live and claimed that the Democratic Party was “more focused on shutting down the fossil fuel industry than keeping gas affordable for everyday Americans.” [Fox News Live, 4/24/22]

  • Host Will Cain: “When it comes to gas prices, … what we’re seeing is the effect of an intentional policy.”

    During a segment about gas prices on The Faulkner Focus, anchor Harris Faulkner read from a Daily Caller op-ed that accused the Biden administration of harming the fossil fuel industry to force consumers toward renewable energy. Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Will Cain agreed, saying, “Rising prices is the goal of the policy. … The problems are by design.” [The Faulkner Focus, 4/28/22]

  • Contributor Sean Duffy: “They get to accomplish their agenda of the Green New Deal.”

    Fox contributor Sean Duffy appeared on The Faulkner Focus and claimed that he overheard Democratic lawmakers “talk about the desire to have the cost of gas go up so people would make a transition to green energy.” He then asserted, “So this is all part of the plan. And yes, the politics are tough. But they see a light at the end of the tunnel that they get to accomplish their agenda of the Green New Deal.” [The Faulkner Focus, 5/17/22]

  • Contributor Marc Thiessen: “It seems to a lot of Americans like this is intentional."

  • Washington Post columnist, fossil fuel shill, and Fox News contributor Marc Thiessen appeared on The Faulkner Focus during a segment about record gas prices and the Biden administration and stated, “It seems to a lot of Americans like this is intentional.” He continued, “They want the gas prices to go up so that we can stop using fossil fuels … . Their goal is to transform this economy and they care more about climate change than the climate in our personal economy.” [The Faulkner Focus, 5/20/22]

  • Host Rachel Campos-Duffy: “Well, those prices are intentional.”

    During a news rundown about record gas prices on Fox & Friends Saturday, host Rachel Campos-Duffy asserted that high gas prices are “intentional” and “are meant to have us make different choices like not have a truck.” [Fox and Friends Saturday, 5/21/22]

  • Host Laura Ingraham: “The greeniacs pulling Biden’s strings want [oil and gas] shut down."

    Fox host Laura Ingraham said Biden is being controlled by “greeniacs” who want to destroy American oil and gas production, and she mocked his “incredible transition” comment. [The Ingraham Angle, 5/23/22]

  • Host Ainsley Earhardt: “He doesn't care because we’re heading in the right direction.”

    After playing a clip of Biden’s “incredible transition” comment, Fox host Ainsley Earhardt asserted that the administration doesn’t care about record gas prices. Fox personality Stuart Varney responded that Biden is “being driven by the climate crowd. The climate crowd wants high gas prices so we drive less, emit less, and we all go into electric cars.” [Fox & Friends, 5/24/22]

  • Host Sean Hannity: “The suffering is intentional? Is that what you're telling us?”

    After Biden’s “incredible transition” comment, Fox host Sean Hannity went on an extended rant accusing the administration of inflicting deliberate suffering on the American people for the purpose of ushering in “a socialist eco-state hellhole, which would not be possible with low energy costs.” [Hannity, 5/23/22]

  • Guest Rep. Byron Donalds: “They want gas prices higher. They want the Green New Deal accomplished.”

    Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) appeared on Sunday Morning Futures and accused the Biden administration of advancing a “crazy agenda when it comes to oil and natural gas and gasoline.” He continued, “Joe Biden and the Democrats want gas prices higher. Let's stop playing games. They want gas prices higher. They want the Green New Deal accomplished.” When he was finished, guest host Sean Duffy added, “Congressman, I think you’re 100% right, and this is absolutely intentional.” [Sunday Morning Futures, 5/29/22]

  • Campos-Duffy: “We have to remember that all of this is intentional. The gas prices and the inflation is intentional.”

    Campos-Duffy claimed that “all of this is intentional. The gas prices and inflation is intentional.” She later reiterated, “And, again, intentional. This government is trying — this government is willing to make you poor in order to accomplish their green energy fetishes, really.” [Fox & Friends, 5/30/22]

  • Guest Monica Crowley: “They want to torpedo the U.S. economy. They want to bring Americans to their knees.”

    Conservative commentator Monica Crowley appeared on Jesse Waters Primetime and claimed that the Biden administration was waging a war on domestic energy, and “if he just turned that policy around literally tomorrow, you would start to see progress in terms of bringing down inflation and gas prices. But he won't do it … and what it tells us, Jesse, is that all of this is deliberate.” After she and host Jesse Watters mocked the idea of climate action to stave off global warming and sea-level rise, she added that Biden’s energy policies were a “lever” to move the economy toward “a more collectivist, Marxist kind of model where they’re in total control.” [Jesse Watters Primetime, 6/2/22]

  • Carlson: “Why is this happening? Well, because Joe Biden made it happen. ”

    During a monologue on record gas prices, Carlson accused Biden of deliberately slowing down domestic energy production. [Tucker Carlson Tonight, 6/3/22]

  • Guest Sen. Tom Cotton: “For Democrats, $5-a-gallon gas … the intended consequence.”

    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) appeared on Special Report and accused the Democratic Party of enacting policies to deliberately spike gas prices because of “Green New Deal fantasies.” He continued, “They want gas to be high. Because they want you out of your pickup truck or your minivan and want you to get into electric vehicles or scooters or mass transit or whatever it is that they ride around town in Washington.” [Special Report, 6/6/22]

  • Kilmeade: “So, the question is, is this intentional? … a slow roll of a New Green Deal?”

    During a segment on record gas prices, Fox host Brian Kilmeade questioned whether the Biden administration was intentionally spiking energy prices, before stating, “The president hates fossil fuels, or he at least said that. Is he getting what he wants now as people are feeling repulsed by the price of gas and oil?” [Fox & Friends, 6/7/22]

  • Crowley: “This is like a modern version of Marie Antoinette. … and it is all intentional.”

    Conservative commentator Monica Crowley appeared on Hannity and claimed that the Biden administration was deliberately increasing gas prices. She compared Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who touted the cost savings of electric vehicles during a hearing, to Marie Antoinette, stating, “Instead of let them eat cake, let them buy a Tesla. And all of this indicates that it is all intentional.” Crowley concluded by reiterating, “So what that tells you is this is all intentional as part of the fundamental transformation of the nation.” [Hannity, 6/7/22]

  • Campos-Duffy: “I definitely believe that these gas prices are directly related to the Green New Deal, and that couldn't be passed legislatively.”

    Campos-Duffy accused the Biden administration of purposefully harming the domestic energy industry because the Green New Deal could not be passed through Congress. She asserted, “They’ve done it through regulation, through, you know, cutting down American energy, making sure we’re not energy independent, making us dependent on dirty oil from Venezuela and so forth. … This is intentional, and that’s what it is about.” [Fox & Friends Saturday, 6/11/22]

  • Anchor Bret Baier: “Is pain at the pump part of that transition to a greener economy?”

    Hosting a debate between Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), anchor Bret Baier referenced Biden’s “incredible transition” comment before asking Sanders if high gas prices are part of a transition to renewable energy. [Special Report, 6/13/22]

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Right-Wing Media Using Texas Disaster To Discredit Clean Energy

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Extreme winter storms wreaked havoc across the United States over the weekend, causing widespread power outages in Texas. As many people are wondering why the largest energy-producing state in the country is facing widespread power failures amid below-freezing temperatures, Fox News' answer is to blame the state's reliance on wind energy. But while renewable energy sources such as wind are a familiar and convenient scapegoat for Fox -- allowing the network to feed fears about clean energy and the Green New Deal that it has long nurtured -- this narrative is flat wrong.

Fox's Big "Frozen Windmill" Lie

On the February 15 edition of Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight, the host not only suggested that the freezing temperatures that hit Texas bring into question the very existence of global warming, but he also claimed that the state's inability to keep the lights on was due to its "reckless reliance on windmills," which he even acknowledged account for only "a quarter of the energy" makeup in Texas (with the majority of power coming from natural gas and coal). To discuss the outages, host Tucker Carlson invited climate denier and frequent Fox guest Marc Morano, who once claimed CO2 is not pollution because we exhale it.

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Fox's morning opinion- and so-called "news"-side shows picked up on Carlson's misleading narrative -- pinning the Texas outages exclusively on wind energy while largely failing to acknowledge that the state is overwhelmingly reliant on fossil fuels.

Coverage of the outages during the February 16 edition of Fox & Friends First ran under the chyron "Texas Power Issues Blamed on Frozen Wind Turbines." Fox & Friends framed discussion of the outages around the question of whether this is "what America would look like under the Green New Deal" and enlisted climate skeptic Bjorn Lomborg to respond. Lomborg, who is part of the Koch network and has long been a proponent of fossil fuels, spewed outdated and false information about the reliability of renewable energy.

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America's Newsroom anchor Dana Perino similarly framed a discussion of the outages with Fox contributor and Wall Street Journal columnist Bill McGurn around "raising questions about the Lone Star State's increasing reliance on renewable energy." Perino went on to read extensively from the Journal's February 16 editorial, which similarly blamed the outages on green energy and baselessly fearmongered that "the Biden Administration's plan to banish fossil fuels is a greater existential threat to Americans than climate change."

On The Faulkner Focus, anchor Harris Faulkner explicitly tied the outages to President Joe Biden's climate proposal, claiming, "Texas, for example, is shifting toward renewables and being called into question along with the Biden administration's climate plan." Faulkner's segment on the outages also leaned on the misleading and agenda-driven arguments of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board and Tucker Carlson.

Long-standing issues with Texas' energy grid, not frozen wind turbines, are the main culprits behind the state's wave of power outages

In addition to his February 15 segment, Carlson penned an opinion piece for the Fox New website framed around the easily disprovable statement: "The Green New Deal has come, believe it or not, to the state of Texas." Carlson asserted in the piece that the state's power grid failed because "the windmills froze," a claim that has been repeated and amplified by Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and fringe elements of the right-wing media echosphere.

But what really happened in Texas was easily foreseeable by those who follow the state's energy sector and has been discussed at length by local news outlets and public officials, including Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

The historic, devastating winter storm did freeze wind turbine blades, but as Bloomberg noted, "the region's grid operator made clear that power plants -- across all resources -- had tripped offline. And in fact, data from the grid operator shows generation from wind farms has actually been exceeding the agency's forecasts in recent days." The Washington Post's Energy 202 blog reported that Carlson and the Wall Street Journal editorial board's blaming wind energy for the grid's failure "is misleading," adding: "While Texas's capacity to generate energy from the wind is down with some turbines seized up, most of the power generation offline during the cold spell was supposed to come from traditional thermal plants, Texas's grid operator said Monday."

Local Texas energy experts were even more vociferous in their criticism of the state's grid failure, placing most of the blame on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). As an energy fellow at the University of Houston told the Houston Chronicle, the grid "limped along on underinvestment and neglect until it finally broke under predictable circumstances."

This criticism was echoed by David Tuttle, a research associate at University of Texas at Austin's Energy Institute. Tuttle noted that Texas' electric generating plants never winterized, despite recommendations from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation that were issued following an investigation of the blackouts that occurred during a devastating ice storm in 2011. By never mandating these winterization recommendations, Texas public officials increased the likelihood of this unfortunate history repeating itself.

Summarizing the problems faced by the power grid in Texas during the winter storm and the way forward in its wake, TechCrunch author Jonathan Shieber wrote:

The current blackouts have nothing to do with renewables and everything to do with cold weather slowing down natural gas production because of freeze-offs and spiking demand for heating at the same time.
As Dr. Emily Grubert, an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and, by courtesy, of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, noted, the problem is more of a total systems issue than one associated with renewable power.
"Let us be absolutely clear: if there are grid failures today, it shows the existing (largely fossil-based) system cannot handle these conditions either," Grubert wrote on Twitter. "These are scary, climate change-affected conditions that pose extreme challenges to the grid. We are likely to continue to see situations like this where our existing system cannot easily handle them. Any electricity system needs to make massive adaptive improvements.

The Inconvenient Truth

The outages in Texas highlight how the changing climate is poised to test our power sector and the assumptions that underpin it -- both in Texas and throughout the rest of the country.

While it's true that human-caused climate change is making extreme cold events less likely overall, it is also increasing average air temperatures and thus the amount of moisture the air can hold, which means prolonged cold can yield even greater snowfall. And as Climate Signals notes, "Climate change is also linked to the destabilization of the jet stream, which can lead to outbreaks of Arctic air."

CBS This Morning's meteorologist and climate specialist Jeff Berardelli explained this relationship between climate change and the Texas storm on the program this morning.

But right-wing media and their political allies would be remiss if they let the truth interfere with their efforts to propagate a lie against green energy and climate policies.

In its coverage of the Texas power outages, Fox is deliberately attempting to steer the conversation away from climate change and the shortcomings of our reliance on fossil fuels -- in this case, it's using a well-worn and bogus script against renewable energy to erode support for the Biden administration's plan to transition to a clean energy economy. These efforts to ignore our climate reality are especially dangerous as science predicts more frequent and devastating aberrant and extreme weather events are yet to come.