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On Fracking, InsideClimate, and Public Integrity

Hi Alan,

First of all, it's fitting that Earthworks (another Park Foundation-funded entity) would come to the defense of InsideClimate News. EID's original pushback against ICN (Feb. 2014) noted how its report was essentially a carbon copy of a report that Earthworks published several months earlier. EID addressed many factual errors and exaggerations in that earlier report, too. Nonetheless, thank you for providing more evidence to support the conclusions in this post.

Second, where are the ad hominem attacks, exactly? Presenting evidence that reporters have misled interviewees and given them false information is not a personal attack. Nor is it ad hominem to raise questions about whether entities receiving funding from anti-fossil fuel activists can report objectively on fossil fuels. It's sunlight on a worrisome trend.

Third, I invite all readers to review the comprehensive response Energy In Depth put together when ICN, CPI, and the Weather Channel first published their Eagle Ford report. There are plenty of substantive points, and a litany of examples demonstrating how that report was misleading and, in many cases, misstated the facts. http://energyindepth.org/texas/activism-deception-weather-channel-eagle-ford-shale-report/

When InsideClimate News responded to this report, it did not provide an evidentiary basis for its pushback. It merely wished away the conclusions with dismissive, single sentence retorts, mixed with anti-corporate rhetoric and talking points about "front groups." Its lack of ability to address the substance is the real story, and it shows just how solid EID's research was.

Disagreeing with someone -- or, in this case, not enjoying what that person has to say -- does not make his comment(s) ad hominem. Retreating to that defense is also not a substantive response; it's simply a desperate one.

July 30, 2014    View Comment    

On InsideClimate News Responds to Steve Everley of Energy in Depth

Energy In Depth "did not dispute the evidence we presented"? I would invite everyone to read the lengthy, fact-based rebuttal to the report that ICN, CPI, and the Weather Channel published on the Eagle Ford region of south Texas: http://energyindepth.org/texas/activism-deception-weather-channel-eagle-ford-shale-report/

EID also described errors in ICN's subsequent coverage here: http://energyindepth.org/national/insideclimate-news-confirms-anti-fracking-bias/

Working in public affairs is not a rebuttal to ICN's refusal to cover scientific research that affirms the environmental benefits of shale gas, and citing at length a 2009 memo only serves as a distraction from ICN's lack of adequate disclosure.

The fact that ICN spent so much space ranting about "front groups" and EID's affiliation with industry (which is self-evident), in lieu of providing a substantive response to the investigation itself, is the real story here. 

July 29, 2014    View Comment    

On Fracking, InsideClimate, and Public Integrity

Jesse,

Yes, it is good that those groups are up front about their affiliations. In fact, it's branded on their home pages. But you're also comparing apples to oranges, because blog posts from V4E and Energy Tomorrow are not reprinted by news wires, nor do they appear in local papers across the country as if they are unbiased news reports. ICN and CPI have every right to write the stories they want, with as much emphasis on sensationalism and negative impacts as they see fit. But readers also need to know when conflicts of interest occur, which is why, at the very least, their funding sources -- especially the common links with the anti-fracking groups that they cite and reference -- should be adequately disclosed as part of their reporting.

Coverage from ICN and CPI would be better categorized in the opinion section. If an industry-funded "news" outlet tried to get away with the same thing, but with a bias toward only the positive, there would be justifitable outrage. 

July 29, 2014    View Comment