Accountability Moment: Manhattan Institute's Robert Bryce Squirms And Evades Question on Fossil Fuel Funding

Read time: 2 mins

Robert Bryce from the fossil fuel industry-funded Manhattan Institute just can't bring himself to answer a simple question about the fossil fuel industry funding flowing into his group. Readers of DeSmogBlog may recall our previous coverage about Bryce's anti-clean energy attacks in the New York Times op-ed pages and elsewhere.

Citing the prime example of Robert Bryce's conflict of interest, I asked the Public Editor at the New York Times last year why the paper doesn't require its op-ed contributors to disclose their funding sources so that readers can make up their own minds about the potential bias of these contributors.

Since Bryce is typically only listed as a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, that doesn't let the reader know that his organization has received a significant amount of money from dirty energy interests including ExxonMobil and Koch Industries. That's an important factor in evaluating the rationale behind Mr. Bryce's bias against clean energy.

Watch below as Gabe Elsner, my friend at the Checks and Balances Project, asks Bryce the simple question about his funding from fossil fuel interests. 

Gabe explains: 

I asked Bryce if he had financial ties to the fossil fuel industry after his debate appearance before the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners conference on Monday. Not only did Bryce refuse to answer the question, he also launched into an angry, finger-pointing tirade saying that I’d “made up” the amount of fossil fuel support documented by Manhattan Institute records.

Watch the clip with Gabe's analysis embedded:

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Attacks on Environmental groups are mounting;

I find it odd that an industry owned entirely by foreign interests is telling us not to listen to foreign interests.

“I find it odd that an industry owned entirely by foreign interests is telling us not to listen to foreign interests.”

I suspect that message was crafted by the Conservative politicians and their policy advisors, who are stupid enough to think they can demonize environment groups into backing off. Of course the environment groups are getting more donations than usual, ever since Joe Oliver’s opening salvo.

I wonder if some of the oil corporation people are embarrassed by their rabid political allies.

Fantastic job Gabe, that takes guts pursuing someone in a forum like that & making them accountable.

This is a topic that has pissed me off for a long time & totally agree with Brendan when he says “so that readers can make up their own minds about the potential bias of these contributors.” A bit of transparency would be nice.

It drives me nuts American news here on late night T.V & see interviews with ‘think tanks’ like ‘The Cato Institute’, or the ‘Competitive Enterprise Institute’, or the ‘Fraser Institute’. Whenever a think tank is asked their opinion in the media, I agree, there should be some sort of disclosure as to their political affiliation & their funders.

Here in Australia, the ‘Institute of Public Affairs’, as Graham pointed out a few posts ago, is brought in for ‘balance’ on many social issues here in Australia, but their name is deceiving,. Their interest is not representing the public, it is enforcing right wing opinion & pushing their oil & tobacco funding clients agenda.

I’ve seen them on T.V at various times & asked friends or work mates, did they know who they are & who they represent? Not a single person knew. Mission accomplished IPA eh?