Matthew Yglesias repeats the speculation without question or investigation.
Roberts calls the ABEC a "front group" for the coal industry, and looking at their list of supporters, that seems pretty fair.
It doesn't, of course, imply any dishonesty, and a real journalist might have asked.
So I asked the ABEC: "When ABEC sponsors a presidential candidate debate, does it have any control over which questions are and aren't asked of the candidates?"
Here's the reply I received from Brad Jones, West Region Communications Director for ABEC:
Absolutely not.I've also asked CNN the same question, but haven't received a response or not.As a matter of fact, we are hoping the candidates address energy policy, but they have not as of yet.
Our investment in the sponsorship is strictly used to help raise awareness around the important role coal plays in meeting our demand for electricity.
CNN makes the decisions as to what questions are asked.
You may be interested in a blog posting we developed in relation to that
Maybe you believe them, maybe you don't. But at least they're on the record as denying any control over the debate content. And as far as I know, questions about global warming haven't come up at non-ABEC sponsored debates either.
The fact is, climate change isn't exactly very high on the MSM's mind. And in the polls I've seen, it barely registers on the minds of voters. Small wonder CNN didn't ask any questions about it.