Shareholder imbecilism

Fox News' infamous pundit-for-hire makes a fool of himself, again.

Published February 1, 2006 12:08AM (EST)

An e-mailed press release from an outfit calling itself the Free Enterprise Action Fund arrived in my in box today. "GE Loses Bid to Block Global Warming Shareholder Resolution," it crowed. "Mutual Fund Calls On GE to Stop Advocating Global Warming Regulation."

Say what? Shareholder activism aimed at stopping GE from pushing for limits on global warming? Something didn't compute. According to one Thomas Borelli, who bills himself as the "principal" of Action Funds Management, the "investment adviser" to the Free Enterprise Action Fund, "Now GE shareholders will have the opportunity to request that GE justify its global warming policy in scientific and economic terms."

Who could these jokers be? Well, for more info, interested parties could contact a certain Steve Milloy, who is quoted in the press release as noting that one of the reasons for pushing the shareholder resolution is that "we don't believe the available scientific data indicate that human activity is measurably changing global climate."

Steve Milloy? Why is that name familiar? Oh yeah -- in the world of conservative pundits who supplement their salaries with direct payments from the industries that they write about, Steve Milloy occupies pride of place. He is a Fox News columnist, proprietor of and longtime critic of such controversial theories as the idea that secondhand smoke is dangerous, or, gasp, that human activity might be responsible for serious long-term climate change.

Last May, Mother Jones revealed that in 2003 and 2004, ExxonMobil donated $50,000 to a "Free Enterprise Action Institute," whose mailing address happens to be Milloy's private home. Last week, the New Republic continued the evisceration, noting that "Milloy has a long history of taking payment from industries that have a stake in the science stories he writes."

ExxonMobil is not only one of the biggest, and right this second, most profitable corporations in this world, it is also a leader in the fight to oppose any action that might restrain global warming. Given that lineage, there's really only one word to describe the Free Enterprise Action Fund and its "shareholder activism."


By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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