House committee chairman attacks reporter for doing his job

Rep. Rob Bishop goes after Washington Post’s accurate account of Bishop’s legislative agenda

Utah Congressman Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has made no secrets about his disdain for America’s foundational conservation laws.

On the Endangered Species Act: “I would be happy to invalidate [it].”

On the Antiquities Act: “It is the most evil act ever invented.”

On the Land and Water Conservation Fund: it is a “slush fund” and we should instead “plow some money back into [the oil and gas industry] to make sure that it’s there.”

(See the bottom of this post for for a summary of each law and its importance to American conservation.)

Even though these positions are extremely unpopular with voters across the West and the American public, Congressman Bishop has built his political career proudly working to undermine national public lands and weakening or invalidating a slew of environmental laws.

That’s why it was so bizarre when the House Natural Resources Committee personally attacked a Washington Post reporter for simply writing a story about Rep. Bishop’s agenda. Darryl Fears, a reporter with more than three decades in the news business, published a piece about the congressman’s work on the Endangered Species Act. The article is summarized by the story’s headline:

Fears is reporting on the five pieces of legislation (HR 717, HR 3131, HR 1274, HR 2603, HR 424) that Rep. Bishop has moved through his committee to accomplish the stated goal of defanging and, ultimately, “invalidating” the Endangered Species Act.

Rather than owning his agenda, Rep. Bishop and his staff at the House Natural Resources Committee decided to attack Fears and his reporting. In its weekly email blast — The Source — the committee doesn’t dispute the accuracy of Fears’ story, but nonetheless accuses him of “fervently [swallowing] the tired shticks of the radical Left.”

Fellow reporters immediately came to Fears’ defense. NBC’s Chuck Todd — host of Meet the Press — responded on Twitter:

It’s a troubling turn of events when reporters can’t write about the activities of our own government without risk of reprisal. But when your agenda is so deeply unpopular, it’s a lot easier to exclaim “Fake News!” rather than argue for why your ideas — and the policies you’re pushing — are worthy of consideration.

The foundations of American conservation

  • The Endangered Species Act was signed into law by President Nixon to provide protections for species nearing extinction. The act is responsible for saving humpback whales, grizzly bears, bald eagles, California condors and numerous other species from extinction.
  • The Antiquities Act, signed into law by President Teddy Roosevelt, has protected many of America’s prized national parks and monuments, including the Grand Canyon, Acadia, Arches, Olympic, and dozens of others.
  • The Land and Water Conservation Fund, passed during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration, invests royalties from offshore oil drilling back into land protections. LWCF is the most important funding source to provide recreation access and protect lands within national parks, forests and other public lands.
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