#ExxonKnew Just Can’t Let Go of #FakeNews CA Investigation Story

#ExxonKnew activists are so desperate they’re starting to tout investigations that never even happened – again.

This week, eighteen U.S. House Democrats from California wrote a letter to the new California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to ask him to “continue the state’s investigation into what ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies knew about the dangers of climate change.”  The letter goes on to state,

“Under the leadership of then-Attorney General Kamala Harris, the State of California began an investigation into whether leading oil companies, in particular ExxonMobil and its predecessor companies, internally acknowledged the science of climate change decades ago yet covered up studies and worked to mislead the public about climate change’s dangers. As you know, Attorneys General from the states of Massachusetts and New York have subpoenaed ExxonMobil records and are currently defending their investigations in court.”

The only problem? There never was an investigation by the California Attorney General’s office (and Exxon didn’t cover up climate science, by the way). Harris’s office has never confirmed or made any mention of an investigation. To put it bluntly, all they have ever said about this issue is: “no comment.”

Right on cue, InsideClimate News (ICN) – the organization that produced the original Rockefeller-funded anti-Exxon articles – jumped in to report on the letter proclaiming “California’s new attorney general is being urged to continue a climate fraud investigation of ExxonMobil.” Yet even ICN admits that Harris never once said she was investigating the company:

Although Harris never acknowledged an Exxon investigation, she was one of 17 Democratic state attorneys general who formed the AGs United For Clean Power coalition last year, vowing to hold the fossil fuel industry responsible for climate change.” (emphasis added)

This is the same outlet that even tried to take credit for Harris’ non-investigation in their bid for the Pulitzer Prize (that they didn’t win). Here’s what ICN founder and publisher David Sassoon said in a cover letter submitted for the prize:

“Within weeks of publication, the attorney general of New York issued Exxon a subpoena seeking extensive disclosure of its records to see if its actions constituted fraud under the state’s consumer and securities laws. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and many others have called for a federal investigation under the Racketeering-Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute, the law underpinning tobacco litigation of the 1990s. Most recently, news reports confirm the California attorney general is also investigating Exxon.” (emphasis added)

Not to be outdone, the LA Times – which also published a related series of #ExxonKnew hit pieces written by the Rockefeller-funded Columbia School of Journalism – recently put out an editorial claiming that “California has its own inquiry underway,” which then proceeded to admit that Harris had refused to confirm that such an inquiry even exists!

Yet it doesn’t stop there. ICN also published a headline proclaiming “Federal Climate Investigation of Exxon Likely to Fizzle Under Trump” even though there has never been federal investigation into ExxonMobil. The Tom Steyer-funded Center for American Progress followed suit, issuing a report claiming “As the head of DOJ, Sen. Jeff Sessions would have the power to sweep [the federal Department of Justice’s Exxon] investigations under the rug.”

The facts are clear: When California Reps. Ted Lieu (D) and Mark DeSaulnier (D) asked then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch to launch an investigation into ExxonMobil, the Department of Justice punted the request to the FBI in March 2016 to determine if there was enough evidence to even warrant an investigation. There has been no movement on that ever since and that was the last anyone ever heard of it.

But pushing #FakeNews is par for the course for #ExxonKnew activists, considering that the foundation of their entire campaign is built on a series of bogus stories that they generated themselves. It’s now well-known that ICN and the Columbia school of Journalism cherry-picked, ignored, and distorted the statements from Exxon’s publically available documents to reach a predetermined conclusion, as EID’s video demonstrates in detail.

Together these two outlets are creating a counterfactual narrative about the campaign against Exxon, misleading their readers on its status and the reasons for its failure. Meanwhile, just about every editorial board has said ExxonKnew activists are running on empty and Bloomberg recently wrote, the “only reasonable response to this is a sigh and an eye roll.”



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