There’s a running joke among GOP communicators that makes fun of how the media portrays the Republican response to actions or statements from Democrats. You see, reporters frequently write that Republicans “pounce” on issues, “seize” on them, or “rage” and “rail” about them. Some Republican operatives have even created a multicolored chart, which jokingly serves as a style guide for describing the severity of conservative outrage on a given topic.
In fact, it’s a favorite trick of a biased media – to report on the Republican reaction rather than what Democrats did to elicit the response in the first place. And often, the media’s plan is to protect Democrats from themselves.
This is a phenomenon that has arisen before, and the sequence of events plays out like this: Democrats say something crazy. Republicans point out that it’s crazy. Democrats pretend Republicans made it up. Media clean up after Democrats.
The latest iteration of this happened after Richard Trumka, Jr., a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission appointed by President Biden, said in an interview that banning natural gas cooking stoves was “on the table” because they’re a health hazard.
Here was a Biden appointee, the son of the late labor leader and staunch Democrat Richard Trumka, Sr., expressly saying that your gas stove could be an endangered appliance if the environmental radicals got their mitts on it.
And Republicans noticed. Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson seems to have been the first to highlight the absurd suggestion.
“I’ll NEVER give up my gas stove,” tweeted Rep. Jackson, who happens to be a client of the firm where I now work. “If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands. COME AND TAKE IT!!”
As other Republicans joined in, Mr. Trumka tried to put the toothpaste back in the tube but wasn’t very convincing, tweeting that any forthcoming regulations would only apply to new gas stoves, not the ones already in people’s homes. In doing that, he clearly left the door open for a forward-looking ban. Even so, the media were quick to defend Mr. Trumka and scold Republicans.
A Vanity Fair headline whined that Mr. Jackson had thrown a “ridiculous s—- fit” over the gas stove issue. It should be mentioned here that “throw a s—- fit” should now be added as a new level on the “Republicans pounce” scale.
Newsweek, meanwhile, giggled that Republicans were being “mocked over panicked claims” involving gas stoves.
And at HuffPost, there was no misunderstanding their take in a story headlined, “No, The Feds Aren’t Coming For Your Gas Stove.”
But what the media are doing is protecting Democrats from a real policy position that reporters are afraid would be unpopular. Because getting rid of gas stoves is very much a goal for the environmental radicals who control the Democratic Party today, and the evidence is clear.
New York City already banned “fossil fuel combustion” in new buildings, and now New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s new budget proposal includes language that takes that policy statewide. Ms. Hochul would ban natural gas hookups in any new construction – small buildings by 2025 and larger ones by 2028 – and also phase out the installation of gas appliances in existing buildings.
It looks like Mr. Jackson was onto something, and you can bet that wherever leftists hold power, this is the direction they intend to go.
The media have protected Democrats in this way before, of course, like when New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed a desire to phase out cows in her version of the Green New Deal, the environmental extremists’ blueprint to upend the entire American economy.
In the document first posted to AOC’s official House of Representatives website, she explained that she was aiming for “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions in ten years rather than simply “zero” because “we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast.”
Of course, when Republicans saw this and accused leftists of wanting to outlaw hamburgers, the media derided them while AOC disappeared that passage from her site.
Nevertheless, it is the stated goal of leftists to crack down on cows and other agricultural production they hate. Even the cooking website Epicurious.com has ceased publishing recipes that contain beef, a decision they described as “not anti-beef but rather pro-planet.”
So, be on the lookout for the media serving as defense counsel for Democrats. And if you see a news story criticizing Republicans for “pouncing” on something, there’s a pretty good chance the Democrats really did do it.
• Tim Murtaugh is a Washington Times columnist and the vice president for communication strategy at National Public Affairs, a full-service political consulting firm.