Another evidence-free editorial on the Clean Power Plan
the repeat, repeat, repeat strategy of persuasion
Last Thusday evening, Wheeling Jesuit University's Appalachian Institute presented a program entitled “Speaking Truth to Power.” One of the two speakers, James Von Nostrand, who is director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at WVU, discussed the various ways in which WV could deal with the Clean Power Plan. After examining possible approaches, Van Nostrand elaborated on how he thought the state could work with the plan. As WV Public Broadcasting explains:
Van Nostrand ran through possible reactions to the rule, which include litigation, legislation, retaliation, or (as Van Nostrand was apt to encourage) innovation.
“We have the resources to scale up energy efficiency, scale up co-firing with coal, scale up combined heat and power. It can be done, but it’s going to be a different future.”
Because he dared to suggest that the state could possibly work within the plan, yesterday's New-Register lead editorial attacked his conclusion.
I attended the program and Van Nostrand impressed me with his even-handedness and, in particular, his use of evidence. Van Nostrand cited sources throughout his speech and if you talked to him at the reception he was more-than-willing to make sure you got the correct source.
In contrast to Van Nostrand, the News-Register editorial cites no evidence. For example:
But electricity generated from coal is vastly less expensive than that from other fuels, including natural gas. If carried through, the EPA plan will mean much higher electric bills for many Americans - as much as $1,000 more a year, some analysts think.
"Vastly less expensive?" Given the price of natural gas, how about some evidence, please. "Some analysts think"? Which ones? "As much as $1,000 as year?" You mean this study that was funded by Peabody Energy? (Here you can contrast the News-Register's assertion for the cause of the rise in the price of electricity with one of Van Nostrand's sources).
Again, from the editorial:
He and his key advisers make it clear they want to eliminate coal - and, for that matter, other fossil fuels - as energy sources for Americans.
All fossil fuels? Again, where's the evidence?
All of these examples appear regularly in their editorials and a source for the assertion is never cited. I guess the News-Register believes that if you repeat something enough times, some people will eventually believe it.