A friend clued me in to a recent National Review article by Stephen Spruiell and  Kevin Williamson detailing fifty reasons why “Waxman-Markey is part power-grab, part enviro-fantasy.”  This article, entitled “A Garden of Piggish Delights,”  is getting a lot of play in the conservative blogosphere.  Some are citing it as must reading for helping members of Congress decide what to do.  Actually, Spruiell and  Williamson are just preaching to their readership base, having figured out how to make money with intellectually dishonest approaches that are less than helpful in solving our country’s problems.

This article sure can’t be taken to be journalism, nor objective in any way, although some of its readers may be under the misguided impression that the authors have actual expertise as journalists.  Heck, anybody can publish these days!  (After all, I’m here and you are reading this.  Spruiell and Williamson just operate on a different level.  What they are doing is detrimental to a serious debate, to the extent that people take their diatribe seriously.)  And, really, should people be following opinions of even real journalists?  It’s an honorable profession (in spite of people like Spruiell and Williamson who either never were journalists, or have figured out how to sell out), and real journalism here would have involved actual research and references, through citations or interviews, to experts of various sorts. If reading some components of the bill and giving some biased opinions is journalism, then I’ll eat my laptop.

Here’s an example.  One of the fifty reasons is

34. Congress passed (and Obama signed) a “cash for clunkers” program as part of the war appropriations bill this month. Under the program, you get a rebate for trading in a used car for one that gets slightly higher mileage. The Waxman-Markey bill takes this concept and applies it to appliances, electric motors — basically anything that can be traded in for a more energy-efficient version. These types of programs generally fail cost-benefit analyses spectacularly because more energy goes into the production of the new appliances than would have been used if the old ones had just run their course.

But there are no citations to any sources (credible or otherwise), nor an associated discussion, showing that such programs “generally fail cost-benefit analyses spectacularly”.  Further, use of hyperbole in the form of the word “spectacularly,” and the weasel word “generally” amplifies how shoddy the “journalism” here is.


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