The ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows have now gone two days ignoring an explosive congressional hearing blowing the lid off the dangers of ESG investing.
On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee questioned Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R), Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) and leftist Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs (D). While Marshall and Reyes sounded the alarm on the goals of organizations forcing environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards on the economy, Frerichs used his time to deflect and repel criticisms about ESG and instead played the advocate. Frerichs cast himself as a defender of the free market, even though his support for ESG investing and even his recent tweets demonstrate his role in the ESG pressure campaign. Frerichs tried to characterize ESG standards as simply important “data” used to help “maximize returns” and supposedly help investors be “able to manage and mitigate risk.” This is demonstrably false.
The tone Frerichs takes in his tweets, however, is very different from the tone he took in Congress. His tweet history exposes what ESG is really about. On some days, Frerichs is engaging in a pressure campaign, berating Berkshire-Hathaway over climate issues, pressuring the Russell 3000 Index to release diversity information, and frequently piling on to other ESG pressure campaigns. He frequently obsesses over race in his tweets and even used the panned “Latinx” term on several occasions. Frerichs even asked followers to join him “as we talk with bankers about their commitment to eliminate systemic racism in their industry.” Frerichs avoided directly sounding like a full-on activist during his congressional testimony and instead attempted to make ESG sound like benign investment standards:
ESG is about looking at a wider range of risks and value opportunities that have — can have a material financial impact on investment performance.
None of Frerichs’ gaslighting was of any apparent interest to the Big Three. But all three networks do have an interest in ignoring the threats of ESG writ large. ESG-obsessed firms like BlackRock and Vanguard happen to be major investors in the parent companies of ABC, NBC, and CBS.
Late in the hearing, fed-up Congressman Rep. William Timmons (R-SC) took Frerichs to the woodshed. Timmons called Frerichs out trying to hide the radical aspects of ESG investing and the pressure campaign with analogies about fantasy football and for discussing issues unrelated to ESG investing, like “you reference two things that I just totally disagree have anything to do with ESG, litigation risk for pharma and understaffing for whatever business you are referencing, those are not ESG.”
Timmons castigated Frerichs for “violating his fiduciary obligations”. Timmons suggested that Frerichs was focusing his energy on gender, race, and sexual orientation, rather than a merit-based,non-discriminatory approach that emphasizes return on investment (ROI). He asked Frerichs, “how do you not see that this is not merit-based and that is not going to result in a lower return and is going to cause more problems than you are having right now with your pension?” All Frerichs could do in response was repeat his dishonest characterization of ESG.
Timmons added: “[D]on’t come to me when you bankrupt your pension. Do not come to Congress when you bankrupt your pension and think we are going to bail you out”.
The fact that Frerichs is willing to show up to Congress and pontificate about investing strategies when his pension fund is running a $140 billion deficit is the epitome of irony. It also did not perturb the Big Three networks, which did find time to spend precious coverage on faulty peloton bikes and recycling.
Conservatives are under attack! Contact ABC News (818) 460-7477, CBS News (212) 975-3247 and NBC News (212) 664-6192 and demand that they report truthfully on the dangers of ESG.