In her “Reality Check” spots about political ads, CBS4’s Shaun Boyd doesn’t just render verdicts on the truthiness of political advertisements but also offers contextual information for viewers, telling us, “Here’s What You Need to Know.”
Evaluating the veracity of an ad stating that Gardner sides with big oil because, as the ad states, he’s voted “to keep billions in handouts for big oil companies, even as they make record profits,” Boyd reported last week that Gardner indeed “opposed repealing tax breaks that have been in place for oil-and-gas producers for more than 100 years.” But she found the statement that Gardner is on the side of big oil “misleading” because Gardner has also supported wind energy.
Here’s What You Need to Know: Last year, on a talk radio show, Gardner suggested last eliminating the Energy Department altogether:
Gardner: “In fact, Energy Department is something we ought to look at and see whether or not they are actually justified to be there anyway.”
I couldn’t believe it when I heard Gardner say it, but no one else seemed to care at the time, except radio-host Amy Oliver, who lapped it up lovingly.
And that points to the context that Boyd should have added to her piece on the League of Conservation Voters’ ad: Gardner talks about energy policy in radically different ways depending on the audience.
You say, all politicians pander. Okay, but eliminating the Energy Department? Who besides former GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry tries to say that.
What if Gardner had been speaking to employees at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which is funded by the Energy Department? Would Gardner have talked to them like he did to Oliver, KFKA’s anti-wind-energy radio host, who doubles as a staffer for the libertarian Independence Institute? Would he go there and say we need to have a conversation about how to save money, and junking the Energy Department should be part of it?
Double-speak is something reporters naturally look for. With Gardner, it’s getting to the point where it’s part of the context for whatever he’s talking about, starting with personhood, of course, and heading out from there to global warming, taxes, immigration, and more.