CBS Lionizes Climate Losers Blocking Traffic, Throwing Paint, Interrupting Conservative Gala

News & Politics

Like being able to visit museums without climate freaks throwing soup on world-renowned paintings? Looking to enjoy a night out at a gala? Need a peaceful commute without anyone blocking the road?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, CBS Mornings all but said no way, Jose. On Thursday, they ran a lengthy puff piece fawning over Climate Defiance and even followed them as they interrupted the March 6 gala for our friends at American Moment.

Co-host Nate Burleson incredibly wove in the climate freaks with the live scenes from UCLA as “police are clashing with protesters against the war in Gaza”.

“College campuses aren’t the only places where protesters are making their voices heard. This morning in our Climate Watch series, we’re focusing on climate activists who are taking direct action to make their point. Last week one group blockaded the entrance to the global headquarters of CitiGroup in Manhattan. They demanded the banking giant stop funding fossil fuel interests,” boasted fill-in co-host Jericka Duncan.

She added “[s]enior national and environmental correspondent Ben Tracy [took] a closer look at one climate group that says it doesn’t need to be liked to be effective.”

The chyron was unsurprisingly stupid: “Climate Watch; Protests for the Planet; A Look at What’s Driving Climate Activists to Get Aggressive”.

With that stacked deck, Tracy gave unassuming and seemingly neutral (i.e. pro-thuggery) open: “Blocking traffic, throwing red powder on a case housing the U.S. Constitution, and dousing a global-covered Van Gogh with soup, climate protesters are not just marching in the streets. They’re finding new and more aggressive ways to demand climate action.”

Tracy was then shown following around Climate Defiance in their preparation, execution, and aftermath of their storming of the American Moment gala. Tracy and CBS cameras even palled around with one of their leaders as they scouted out the hotel a day beforehand.

Of course, Tracy denied our friends the full free advertising by refusing to name them (click “expand”):

MAXWELL DOWNING: We can still cause a little bit of a scene. Cause some chaos.

TRACY: On a recent Wednesday night in Washington, D.C. —

DOWNING: I know exactly the route that we can go.

TRACY: — 21-year-old Maxwell Downing shared his plan to cause a scene at this nearby hotel. [TO DOWNING] What exactly are you guys doing tonight?

DOWNING: We’re going to a fancy, schamncy gala that J.D. Vance — Republican senator from Ohio — is going to be speaking at. J.D. Vance is one of the top 20 recipients of oil and gas money in Congress.

TRACY: Downing cased the hotel the day before they found the best escape routes.

DOWNING [TO FELLOW THUGS]: Who does not have $50 in cash?

TRACY: So, after making sure that everyone had money in case they got arrested —

DOWNING [at American Moment gala]: J.D. Vance is a climate supervillain!

TRACY: — these climate protesters stormed the ballroom —

DOWNING: Come out, J.D., face us.

CLIMATE DEFIANCE PROTESTER: He’s a climate criminal.

TRACY: — interrupting the event until security finally threw them out.

DOWNING: Face us! Off fossil fuels!

AMERICAN MOMENT SECURITY GUARDS: Get out. Get out.

DOWNING: Immediately, security guards hands around the neck, which is not usual.

Nearly a minute and a half into the five-minute-and-37-second block, Tracy finally identified the group as Climate Defiance, taking them at their word that they don’t “engage in vandalism or violence” and have “become notorious for surprise confrontations with oil executives…and politicians on both sides of the aisle.”

Tracy even served at the group’s unofficial spokesman by having CBS ask Senator J.D. Vance “for his reaction to the disruption” at the gala he was speaking at. Of course, Vance’s team “did not respond”.

One could presume this question to Climate Defense executive director Michael Greenberg was meant to be adversarial: “When you burst into a room and you call somebody like Senator Manchin a sick f-word, what is the outcome you’re hoping to achieve?”

Greenberg was unapologetic in explaining they “don’t necessarily expect to move Manchin or whatnot” but instead “make climate change a top issue in American politics”….via intimidation.

“He says their protests are designed to go viral on social media, attracting new members to their cause, and raising awareness of climate change as an existential issue,” Tracy added.

Tracy’s other question came with a drive-by-ish tone: “Do you worry about turning people off, that they see you as more annoying or more of a threat than actually helping the cause you say you’re trying to help?”

The only mild, official pushback from Dana Fisher, an American University professor who penned “a new book about climate activism” (Click “expand”):

GREENBERG: We’re trying to shake the public awake.

TRACY [TO GREENBERG]: Do you worry about turning people off, that they see you as more annoying or more of a threat than actually helping the cause you say you’re trying to help?

GREENBERG: Yeah, we’re definitely an acquired taste. Not everybody loves us. You don’t need to be popular to be effective.

FISHER: And their goal is media attention, plain and simple. [TO STUDENTS] When you guys look at the general population —

TRACY: Dana Fisher is a professor at American University and author of a new book about climate activism.

DOWNING: He is a criminal!

TRACY: She calls these kinds of activists “shockers,” not unlike some of the AIDS activists of the 1980s who desperately tried to get people’s attention. [TO FISHER] How do we know if this is actually effective?

FISHER: I think it’s going to be a hindsight thing. I mean, I do not think that the whole movement should shift toward these kinds of actions because I think it will be a detriment to the movement itself, but it is playing a role in helping to keep the conversation going.

The CBS correspondent closed by bragging that “they have had some success” in securing “a meeting with John Podesta, the White House’s chief climate adviser” and were “part of the pressure campaign that recently led President Biden to pause the expansion of liquefied natural gas exports.”

Duthiers gushed about how “this is such a great piece” with “a lot to digest,” adding “you can understand that they want cameras there…because it does cause people to pay attention” since “politicians…have enacted or have at least put plans into place to address climate issues.”

Duncan also voiced her support: “But only time really will tell in terms of what action is actually taken, what policies are actually passed as a result of bringing attention to something that I think everyone, at this point recognizes, is a problem.”

“We love shock value. But we’ll see if this is counterproductive or not in the future,” Burleson said.

Exit question: How would liberal journalists feel if protesters stormed and occupied their studios, or say, blocked roads that made them late for family emergencies?

To see the relevant CBS transcript from May 2, click here.

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