“The Hill's stupid coverage of Rick Perry's sexual assault comment is why nobody trusts the media,” tweeted conservative commentator Tim Carney Thursday afternoon.
His comment came after The Hill published a story entitled, “Perry links fossil fuel development to preventing sexual assault.”
According to The Hill, former Texas governor Rick Perry, who now serves as President Trump’s energy secretary, was discussing his recent trip to Africa and highlighting the needs for increased production and access to electricity there.
After a protester screamed at Perry that his planned use of fossil fuels was going to kill people in poor countries via climate change, according to the Politico, the energy secretary made the following statement:
“I just got back from Africa. I’m going to finish up with this, because I think I heard a lady say there are people dying. Let me tell you where people are dying, is in Africa, because of the lack of energy they have there. And it’s going to take fossil fuels to push power out into those villages in Africa, where a young girl told me to my face, ‘One of the reasons that electricity is so important to me is not only because I’m not going to have to try to read by the light of a fire and have those fumes literally killing people.’
“But also from the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts. So from the standpoint of how you really affect people’s lives, fossil fuels is going to play a role in that. I happen to think it’s going to play a positive role, and I wish we could understand it’s not just about us living here in the comfort and confines that we’re in.”
It was unclear if Perry was still quoting the girl with his line about sexual assault and righteousness, but the media took those words as his own. After The Hill’s headline made the story go viral, Perry was hit with a litany of mockery from the left.
But Carney replied on Twitter, “An honest headline would have said ‘Perry Suggests Reliably [sic] Electric Lighting Can Reduce Sexual Assault.’”
Writing for the Washington Examiner, "It's almost the perfect tweet for press coverage of the Trump administration. A Trump administration official makes a claim, poorly articulated, and a reporter wryly and snarkily reduces that argument to a stupid and overly simplistic format. The Hill — maybe the worst offender in this regard — tweets out that reductive and misleading formulation, and it goes viral."
Carney then pointed to a United Nations paper that made a very similar statement to Perry's:
"Given the challenges of energy poverty, providing energy to households in safe and sufficient quantities is hypothesized to result in myriad positive outcomes, including the following: Improved health outcomes: Reduced burning of biomass and kerosene in homes will reduce people’s exposure to harmful pollutants. Access to modern fuels is expected to help prevent the cuts, falls, bites, and episodes of sexual harassment and assault that women and girls might otherwise sustain while collecting fuelwood."
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