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As Texas went dark, Fox News blamed windmills

Posted February 21, 2021 2:00 p.m. EST

— The majority of power outages in Texas over the past week came from losses in coal, natural gas and nuclear energy, according to the state's own energy officials. But right-wing media has zeroed in on another, far smaller culprit: wind turbines and solar energy.

"This week showed that the problem of parallel news universes — the problem of alternative realities of information — does not just apply to politics," CNN's Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter said on "Reliable Sources" Sunday. "It even applies to the weather."

Some on Fox News blamed frozen wind turbines — which make up nearly a quarter of Texas' power — and attacked the Green New Deal when the state's power plants failed. While frozen wind turbines were a contributing factor, wind shutdowns accounted for less than 13% of the outages, an official from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the state's power grid, told Bloomberg.

Tucker Carlson was just one of the Fox News personalities who criticized windmills and questioned the existence of global warming. A chyron on his show last week read, "Green Energy Means a Less Reliable Power Grid."

Pro-Trump outlets, Stelter said, took swings at progressive politicians rather than holding lawmakers of both parties accountable.

Fox News' senior political correspondent Mike Emanuel criticized Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who launched a fundraiser for Texas relief — for "pouncing" on the state's power issues in an effort to push her "progessive wish list." The Democratic congresswoman from New York said over the weekend the effort had raised $4 million.

"It is a literal political storm in the South," Stelter said.

As for the millions of Texans who are struggling, "It has been apocalyptic," Emily Ramshaw, co-founder and CEO of The 19th News, told Stelter.

"If local media weren't doing their jobs here we would have next to no information," said Ramshaw, who's based in Austin. "I have reporters from other news organizations coming to my house to shower with this very limited water trickle we have."

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