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Tx MSM Drops the Ball in Coverage of “Cap and Trade Summit” Coverage

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On Tuesday, as noted in a post yesterday, three state agencies invited a bunch of Exxon-funded climate denialists and representatives from carbon-intensive industries to a day-long bash-a-thon of congressional action on climate change.

Gov. Perry gave the opening address, subtly calling the Waxman-Markey bill a “monstrosity” and an “impending meteor strike on the Texas economy.”

It was a remarkable event, laying bare how far the state’s Republican leaders are willing to go to protect the industries they’re supposed to regulate. This was clearly a preview of what’s to come when the Senate takes up climate change legislation next year.

My guess: The campaign is going to look a lot like health-care reform, with corporate interests pouring money into Astroturf groups and Republican leaders stirring up their base into an apocalyptic fury.

Yet, the MSM totally missed the story. Based on a search of the Lexis-Nexis news database, only one 480-word story (Matthew Tresaugue, Houston Chronicle) appeared in the dailies about the summit. The Capitol press corps instead chose to keep pushing the non-story story on Gov. Perry’s recession remarks.

The summit, apparently, was just an opportunity for the political reporters to ambush Perry and keep the pseudo-story alive.

For example, Jason Embry in the Austin American-Statesman:

“Anyone who has listened to my remarks who’s not just a rank political hack knows that in almost every one of my remarks, I have talked about the seriousness of this recession, how it’s impacting people,” Perry said at the Capitol after a brief speech on federal climate-change legislation.

If you want to nail Perry for saying crazy stuff, ask him about his views on climate change.

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is associate editor of the Observer. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.