New York Times Contorted George P. Bush's Climate Change Views to Fit Liberal Agenda

September 4th, 2014 7:24 AM

Last week Newsbusters analyzed the strange new respect granted a local Texas candidate (and Bush family member) George P. Bush: His global warming advocacy which, according to an approving headline, "Stray[ed] From Party Ideology."

Reporter Neena Satija of the Texas Tribune praised Bush, a candidate for Texas Land Commissioner, for avoiding making a "Tea Party talking point" and admitting the threat of global warming “honestly keeps me up at night.” But that's not what Bush actually said, according to the full transcript of the Satija-Bush interview posted at the Texas Tribune, a left-leaning journalism center which partners with the Times. In fact, reporter Satija was the one constantly introducing the subject of climate change, and used egregiously out-of-context quotes to make a phony case that Bush was a true believer in human-caused global warming. Sarah Rumpf at Breitbart has the scoop:

Unfortunately, what ended up happening was the reporter had a singular focus on a favorite topic of hers, took several of Bush’s comments out of context, and mischaracterized others. 

The most egregious misrepresentation is a section that portrays Bush not just a believer in a more liberal climate change ideology, but also as someone who worries about the topic.

Rumpf quoted this from the Times article (bolds mine):

For starters, the younger Mr. Bush thinks climate change is a serious threat to Texas, though he stopped short of definitively attributing a hotter and drier state to human activity.

“I think people can agree that there has been warming in recent years,” Mr. Bush, a 38-year-old energy consultant, said.

He added that the vulnerability of the Gulf Coast to storms, which he said is worsened by climate change-related problems like sea-level rise and coastal erosion, “honestly keeps me up at night.”

Rumpf agreed that a Texas Republican who called climate change a “serious threat to Texas” and something that “honestly keeps me up at night” would be straying from Republican ideology. But the transcript posted by the Tribune showed nothing of the kind, according to Rumpf:

For starters, Bush never attributes sea-level rise or coastal erosion to climate change. He remarks that Texas is facing challenges with coastal erosion in several areas, and discusses ways to help fight it, but does not state a cause for the erosion. Similarly, with the issue of sea-level rise, Satija asks Bush if he would support Texas conducting “a comprehensive study on the effects of sea-level rise on the Gulf Coast,” but again, a causal relationship to climate change is completely absent from Bush’s remarks.

She marked the relevant paragraph from the transcript of what Bush actually said (bolds mine):

Also, dealing with recovery. I mean, how do we respond in an effective way to hurricanes, or the next category 3, 4 or 5 [hurricane] that hits the greater Houston metropolitan area? I mean, that’s something that honestly keeps me up at night. And you know, oil spills. We’re the first responder on those as well. So definitely a lot going on on the Gulf Coast that more Texans should know about.

She concluded:

Bush is clearly talking about disaster recovery issues here, and not climate change, citing two examples -- hurricanes and oil spills -- that relate to work of the GLO. In fact, this is a common issue throughout the interview, where Bush discusses land use and energy issues that would be part of his duties if he is elected Land Commissioner, and Satija repeatedly asks about climate change. She is the one who introduces the topic and asks him about it in at least four separate questions.

Rumpf also talked to Allison DeFoor, a Florida Republican and former adviser to Jeb Bush, also quoted by Satija. DeFoor said Satija “extrapolated rather strongly from what I said,” and had asked him the same questions “over and over.” DeFoor said that while his "quote is 100% accurate...any characterizations are unauthorized and exceed anything that I said."

h/t Seton Motley