WSJ Unbalanced on Business and Carbon

The Wall Street Journal goes A1 with a “you don’t say!” story saying Big Business is mad about the EPA declaring carbon dioxide a pollutant.

Fine, but let’s count sources: Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Edison Electric Institute, American Petroleum Institute, Iron and Steel Institute, Eurofer (European steel-industry lobby). Six, all anti, of course, because they’re big carbon emitters.

They’re the “Many business groups… opposed to EPA efforts to curb a gas as ubiquitous as carbon dioxide” the story focuses on.

You’d never know from this piece that there are businesses that have carbon-policy stances that don’t mesh with Exxon’s, say. Including that would have made this a more-interesting and fair story.

Remember all those companies that left the Chamber of Commerce or its board because of its carbon-policy position? Big names like Apple, Exelon, Nike, Pacific Gas & Electric, according to this October Forbes article, which lists other corporate anti-carbon activists like Starbucks, GE, BP, Caterpillar, and Sun Microsystems.

I don’t know if they’re pro or con the EPA regulation, but there’s no evidence that the Journal asked or that there might be anything but a monolithic business position on carbon policy.

And is there an environmental or labor group quoted in this story? Get outta here! The best it can do is to quote the EPA and an EU regulator (who’s not quoted being pro-regulation or anything).

Bottom line: It seems obvious that most big businesses oppose serious restrictions on carbon emissions, but this story is far too tilted to the obvious anti-carbon-regulation players.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.