New NYT 'Agenda' Section, Same Old Bias: John Broder Bashes 'Simplistic Calls' for More Drilling

New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane on July 29 introduced The Agenda, a special online campaign section that promises to put the "big issues" on the table and "outline potential solutions." Brisbane hoped the special online section would "elevate debate" on substantive issues, but so far it's functioning as an excuse for reporters to call for liberal solutions to imagined problems like income inequality and climate change.

Environmental reporter John Broder is covering climate change in the "Planet" section, under the opinionized subhead "The lagging U.S. response to climate change." His August 3 entry, "Who Are Your Sources?" featured a silly photo of Glenn Beck from his former Fox News show as a supposed example of where climate change skeptics get their information.

Two years ago I traveled to southern Indiana to write about a House race between an incumbent Democrat, Baron Hill, against a Tea Party-supported Republican, Todd Young.

Mr. Hill said he believed that climate change was real, human activity was causing it and government must act to address it. He voted for a cap-and-trade bill that passed the House by a narrow margin in 2009. Mr. Young said he was skeptical about the human impact on the climate and that any global warming trend was probably a cyclical phenomenon. His Tea Party supporters agreed with him, and he won the contest by 10 percentage points.

A number of voters who supported Mr. Young and shared his views on climate change told me they got much of their information from Fox News, a handful of radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and the Bible.

Another example of liberal assumptions leaking into Broder's reporting came in his first Agenda post July 26, when he claimed a desire "to jump-start a discussion about energy and climate policy in the United States" and to dig deeper than such "simplistic calls" for cutting government or "Drill, baby, drill."

Is climate change a real and present danger? Why does the United States lag behind many other industrialized nations in addressing it? Do Americans need to reduce their energy consumption? Should there be limits to where and when and how they drill for oil, frack for gas and mine coal? How far should regulators go in trying to reduce air pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases? Should the federal government subsidize alternative sources of energy like the sun, wind and biofuels?

In campaigns past, those complex issues have been reduced to slogans like “Drill, baby, drill” or simplistic calls to eliminate the Energy Department or the Environmental Protection Agency. With your help, we’ll try to dig a little deeper.

Broder has previously called climate change skeptics "relatively uninformed about the climate debate."