May 29, 2007

AP Still Gets Kyoto History Wrong

Earlier this year, I noted that the Associated Press either did a poor job of research or revealed their bias against the Bush administration by incorrectly recounting the history of the Kyoto Treaty in the US. They used the Left's talking points in reporting that the present administration rejected Kyoto and had the responsibility for the lack of its implementation. Jim Krane apparently isn't alone at the AP in passing along misinformation, as CQ reader Jal Ark noticed:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) said Monday she led a congressional delegation to Greenland, where lawmakers saw "firsthand evidence that climate change is a reality," and she hoped the Bush administration would consider a new path on the issue. ...

Her trip comes ahead of next week's Group of Eight summit and a climate change meeting next month involving the leading industrialized nations and during a time of increased debate over what should succeed the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 international treaty that caps the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted from power plants and factories in industrialized countries. It expires in 2012.

President Bush rejected that accord, saying it would harm the U.S. economy and unfair excludes developing countries like China and India from its obligations. Pelosi, who strongly disagrees with that decision and many other of Bush's environmental policies, said Friday she said she wants to work with the administration rather than provoke it.

Once again, the AP has failed to report the history of this treaty correctly. While Bush does not support the Kyoto approach, he had nothing to do with rejecting the pact. The Senate rejected it in 1997, almost four years before Bush took office. When Al Gore pushed Bill Clinton to sign the treaty, the Senate reacted by passing a resolution informing Clinton that Kyoto would not get ratified.

That resolution got sponsored by Chuck Hagel and Robert Byrd, and it passed by a roll call vote in which not a single Senator voted to support Clinton and Gore. The final vote was 95-0, and it included such Democratic luminaries as Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barbara Boxer rejecting Kyoto. I have the resolution itself in the extended entry, and it makes clear that the Senate would not abide a pact which excluded the developing nations of China and India. Since it still does not include those countries, there is no reason to think that the Senate has changed its position, nor should it.

Even if I hadn't already written about this, I could have found this in about ten seconds simply by doing a search of the Internet. The Wikipedia entry is well-researched, and even an advocacy group manages to get this correct. Why can't the AP? Now that two of their reporters have found it impossible to accurately recount the history, it seems less likely that it reflects incompetence and more likely that it reflects a bias -- especially since that vaunted system of fact-checking and editorial oversight has once again allowed misinformation into print.

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Comments (16)

Posted by MarkD | May 29, 2007 7:13 AM

The MSM claim to superiority over bloggers was their professional fact checkers, was it not? No wonder the papers are sinking fast - it's tough to beat "more accurate and free" on the web.

Posted by brainy435 [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 29, 2007 7:28 AM

"President Bush rejected that accord, saying it would harm the U.S. economy and unfair excludes developing countries like China and India..." (emphasis mine)

Not only do the "layers of editors and fact-checkers" not edit out false claims, they can't even be bothered to check simple grammar, apparently.

Posted by LarryD | May 29, 2007 8:05 AM

And China is about to replace the US as CO2 "offender" number one, while the EU is finding the cost of Kyoto compliance to be stiff. And our CO2 emissions actually went down a little, while our economy grew. (H/t to M. Simon)

China won't buy into any economically destructive stupidity, and the EU population isn't happy at all. The next round will look considerably different, if anything comes of it at all.

Posted by Clyde | May 29, 2007 9:08 AM

Why can't the AP writers get the facts right? Because they are not journalists, they are journalistas, advocating an agenda rather than reporting the facts. If the facts get in the way of their agenda, then they will be jettisoned. After all, most of the sheeple will believe what they read in the papers. If the AP says it's so, then by golly, it MUST be true! Alas, many people aren't bright enough or well-informed enough to see past the squid-spray of ink that the AP and its MSM minions put out.

Posted by Gary Gross | May 29, 2007 9:36 AM

I make the point here that Pelosi's global warming tour comes at a time when the consensus that liberals were talking about is falling apart because many of the myths have been debunked by scholars like Michael Crichton.

Posted by Dr. Ellen | May 29, 2007 10:07 AM

I read blogs and their posts with a simple variant of Godwin's Law in mind. As soon as somebody uses the word "sheeple" I know they want to control humanity, which they despise.

They may still be right, but I factor their contempt into my reading.

Posted by Sandy P | May 29, 2007 10:14 AM

Pelosi's the new Daschle????

We can only hope.

Posted by Gary Gross | May 29, 2007 10:27 AM

Pelosi's the new Daschle????

Not hardly. The new Daschle is Harry Reid, right down to being the next Majority Leader to get defeated. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until 2010 to defeat him.

The latest poll in Nevada that I saw shows his approval rating hovering around 40%. Don't be surprised if he 'retires' rather than get defeated.

Posted by KW64 | May 29, 2007 12:04 PM

Nancy Pelosi has indicated that the melting of the Greenland ice is a sign of impending global disaster. For about 300 years, Greenland was warm enough that Viking farmers colonized it successfully. Curiously, there was not a climate crisis around the globe when Greenland was warm back then.
Then the ice sheet spread and the villages declined and were abondoned. The Viking farmers probably felt the the climate crisis was the expanding ice sheet in Greenland. Silly farmers!

Posted by Michael in Seattle | May 29, 2007 12:43 PM

Bush is the enemy. Bush has always been the enemy. Bush is opposed to Kyoto. Therefore Bush has always been responsible for its failure. Failure to recognize this is Thought Crime. It is thereby perfectly reasonable to vilify Bush for his responsibility in making the Senate to vote against Kyoto in 1997.

Posted by Alec Rawls | May 29, 2007 2:09 PM

Maybe I am biased from the other side, but when I wrote my chapter on environmentalism for the World Ahead book Thank You President Bush, I began by noting that his first major policy statement was an assertion that we were abandoning the Kyoto framework. You have to remember that, while the Senate voted overwhelmingly against Kyoto, the Clinton/Gore administration continued to work furiously in support of Kyoto, and many congressmen were talking about working to make the Kyoto protocol workable. (Gore signed the protocol after the Senate voted 95-0 against signing it.) Kyoto may have had no chance of ratification, but it was Bush who pulled the plug.

AP is certainly wrong to suggest that President Bush was bucking Congress when he nixed Kyoto (as seems to be the implication when they only cite Pelosi's opposition) but they are right to give him credit for ending the fantasy that Kyoto could be made workable.

Thank You President Bush.

Posted by Gene Dillenburg | May 29, 2007 2:55 PM

Discover Magazine has long mis-represented Kyoto in this same way. When I called them on it a few years ago, an editor wrote back saying we can't blame the Senate because the treaty was never submitted for ratification. Until it is, it's the President's responsibility. And while he allowed it was unfortunate that Clinton never did so (I wonder why?), it was Bush who officially pulled the treaty, and therefore Bush was to blame.

I let my subscription lapse shortly thereafter. Pity, too, because it used to be such a good magazine.

Posted by kcom | May 29, 2007 3:52 PM

" was Bush who officially pulled the treaty, and therefore Bush was to blame."

Shouldn't he have said, "...therefore Bush gets the credit." :) I know I'm grateful every day that Kyoto stays off these shores.

And congrats on giving up your subscription, Gene. Lots of formerly good magazines seem to have been taken over by editors with a political agenda that poisons much of what they do. Perhaps the only way they will get the message that many readers are dissatisfied with that turn of events is to hit them in the pocketbook. No guarantees, of course. Some probably will remain stuck on stupid no matter what.

Posted by JM Hanes | May 29, 2007 6:16 PM

I wrote to complain about that very item, using the click through email address ( provided on AP's website. It was bounced right back for "permanent fatal errors" in the address.

Looks like they just don't want to hear it!

Posted by ck | May 29, 2007 7:45 PM

I guess we just have to vote for Gore then--- =)

Posted by Steve | May 29, 2007 8:49 PM

Nancy has seen the climate change?
How old is she?