MSNBC Gives RFK Jr. Soapbox to Bewail 'Fuels From Hell'

May 31st, 2011 12:20 PM

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lobbed incendiary accusations at the coal industry on "Morning Joe" today in a segment that devolved into a nearly 10-minute advertisement for his new anti-coal documentary.

The left-wing environmental activist juxtaposed fossil "fuels from Hell" with "patriotic fuels from Heaven," though neither co-host Joe Scarborough nor Mika Brzezinski pushed back.

"Right now the rules that govern the American energy system were written and devised by the incumbents, by the carbon cronies, to reward the dirtiest, filthiest, most poisonous, most toxic, most addictive, and destructive fuels from Hell rather than the cheap, clean, green, abundant, wholesome, and patriotic fuels from Heaven," blathered Kennedy.

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After Kennedy claimed that oil and coal companies "subvert democracy," "corrupt politicians," and "destroy transparency in government," Brzezinski, rather than refute the senseless charges, regurgitated her guest's liberal talking points.

"So you talk about subverting democracy and about these federal laws being broken loudly and the impact on the people again when they see this happening right here where they live and feel like they have no voice," bemoaned Brzezinski. "Ultimately it comes down to them where they feel as if, what do we matter?"

Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs chimed in to offer his support for Kennedy's agenda, lamenting, "Why can't we get any planning at the national level to get some kind of sensible energy strategy?"

Piggybacking on Sachs's line of questioning, Scarborough decried America's "lack of energy policy," fretting, "We've been talking about, though, a lack of energy policy, since Jimmy Carter. Actually, since Richard Nixon and OPEC...That was 38 years ago and we just don't get there. It doesn't matter who's running Congress, who's running the White House."

The former Republican congressman's history less gave Kennedy the opportunity to drift into a screed against Ronald Reagan: "When Reagan came in, the first thing he did was to rip the solar panels off the roof of the White House to basically announce we're handing the economy back over to Big Oil and Big Coal. And we're living with the effects of that decision today."

This is far from the first time Kennedy has attacked the 40th president: in 2007, he blamed Reagan for the 9/11 attacks: "If we had left those fuel economy standards intact, Ronald Reagan rolled them back, we would not have had to import one drop of oil after 1986. Think of what that would have done to our history. The World Trade Center would probably still be standing."

Kennedy's documentary, "The Last Mountain," served as the backdrop – or excuse – for MSNBC to let a hypocritical and controversial environmentalist kick around terms like "criminal" and "deadly" to describe industries like oil and coal that power the country and create jobs.

Remember that in 2005, Kennedy, who purportedly supports wind power, opposed the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts because such places so close to home should be "off limits to any sort of industrial development."

Cape Wind fired back at Kennedy's not-in-my-backyard mentality in a series of scathing press releases and editorials: "Unfortunately, Mr. Kennedy's position on Cape Wind is laden with inaccurate and misleading statements."

Around the same time he was fighting his eco-patriots over windmills in Nantucket, Kennedy was busy blaming Hurricane Katrina on global warming, Republicans, and the Iraq war: "Now we are all learning what it's like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which [Miss. Gov. Haley] Barbour and his cronies have encouraged. Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and – now – Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children."

Despite Kennedy's checkered past and inflammatory rhetoric, the "Morning Joe" panel uttered not a syllable of criticism during the entire segment.

--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.