N.Y. Times shames Mercury-News on AB 32 coverage

April 23, 2013

By Chris Reed

The fact that no one in the California media besides me has reported that the Obama administration considers fracking no big deal and just another heavy industry is pretty amazing. Obama’s picks for EPA chief and energy secretary dismiss environmental alarmism about hydraulic fracturing, yet somehow this isn’t considered relevant by state business and enviro reporters. I will look at this weird issue more thoroughly in coming days.

CARB.ab32But now I want to point to something that a friend who lives in the Silicon Valley has drawn to my attention: As bad as The New York Times has been historically in covering California — it is an eager proponent of the idea that Proposition 13 is the devil that ruined the Golden State — the NYT has been far better in covering AB 32, the landmark 2006 state law forcing a big shift to cleaner but costlier forms of energy, than state newspapers.

What prompted my friend to point this out was my recent praise for the San Jose Mercury-News’ Mike Rosenberg for his coverage of the bullet train. He noted that the Merc-News in February posted a massive Frequently Asked Questions feature on cap-and-trade and AB 32, complete with a graphic. Yet in 2,000-plus words, it didn’t even mention the economic risks the law posed — not one word.

Meanwhile, here’s what the NYT had to say in October 2012:

“The outsize goals of California’s new law, known as AB 32, are to lower California’s emissions to what they were in 1990 by 2020 — a reduction of roughly 30 percent — and, more broadly, to show that the system works and can be replicated.

“The risks for California are enormous. Opponents and supporters alike worry that the program could hurt the state’s fragile economy by driving out refineries, cement makers, glass factories and other businesses. Some are concerned that companies will find a way to outmaneuver the system, causing the state to fall short of its emission reduction targets.

“’The worst possible thing to happen is if it fails,’ said Robert N. Stavins, a Harvard economist.”

Harvard economist with AB 32 doubts? Why talk to him?

Why didn’t Mercury-News reporter Dana Hull interview Stavins? He was the lead environmental economist in the Clinton administration and is arguably the lead environmental economist in the world.

I have no idea. But if you read Dana Hull’s LinkedIn profile, the hints are pretty clear:

“I’ve been a staff writer at the San Jose Mercury News since 1999, covering a variety of beats and publishing stories on everything from the anti-war movement to the war in Iraq, education to eco-terrorism, politics to Prop. 37, Solyndra to Smart Meters. 

“I listen. I hunt down documents. I write. I blog. I tweet. I live-tweet! I’m an old-school journalist with digital media chops.

“I currently cover clean technology & California energy policy as a business reporter. I often write about electric vehicles, energy efficiency, Tesla Motors, the solar industry, California’s cap-and-trade program and PG&E. …

“I adore public radio and have been a guest panelist on KQED’s Forum, Climate One at the Commonwealth Club, Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud program and the World Affairs Council.  …

“My favorite assignment? Flying to Seattle to cover the massive WTO demonstrations in 1999.”

Can you say Patty Hearst?

Dana looks to be an acolyte of the movement she covers. “I adore public radio”? LOL.

When it comes to AB 32 coverage, give me The New York Times any day.


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  1. Tom Tanton
    Tom Tanton 23 April, 2013, 08:09

    I’d also note that Stavins also was very critical of CARB’s so called economic analysis done to justify the AB32 scoping plan; but then so were many others. I’d also note San Diego UT and Orange County Reg used to cover AB32 pretty well, until the ‘lost’ their ace reporters.

    Reply this comment
  2. OddThat
    OddThat 23 April, 2013, 08:22

    True story: One day, the air quality testers were testing the air in Los Angeles. The air was good. The next day, it was bad and they were stumped. Finally, after much testing in the labs, they discovered “foreign particles” in the air. The foreign particles turned out to be from China. It seems that China has these huge dust storms and those particles are carried on the jet streams and land right smack dab in California. So, should we sue the Chinese government for polluting our air? LOL!!

    Reply this comment
  3. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 23 April, 2013, 08:43

    The Symbionese Liberation Army has taken over California.

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  4. Jeff Wyman
    Jeff Wyman 23 April, 2013, 08:56

    To the left it doesn’t matter one bit what things cost or whether they will work or will they bury the state in the long run. The only thing that matters is does it make me feel good or does it sound right. With California having a super majority of leftists running the state the only thing saving us is the ability to get propositions on the ballot.

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  5. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 23 April, 2013, 09:11

    If I didn’t know better I would have guessed Dana’s LinkedIn profile was an Onion parody. (How did she miss out on covering OCCUPY??) lol

    The scariest thing is that she considers herself a “business reporter”.

    Then we come to this:

    “…I listen. I hunt down documents. I write. I blog. I tweet. I live-tweet!…”

    …and I throw up.

    Self-absorption. The plague of the 21st century.

    Seriously! Who puts this dog’s breakfast of accomplishments and sundry interests in their LINKEDIN profile???!!!

    Reply this comment
  6. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 23 April, 2013, 09:16

    and at risk of piling on…..

    Here’s Dana, second from right (or should I say third from Left).

    Why do women of the environmental left dress like…….my grandfather?


    Reply this comment
  7. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 23 April, 2013, 11:02

    “Why do women of the environmental left dress like…….my grandfather?”

    Well, judging from that photo you linked to I would say they are just about as likely to wear a dress as your grandfather. The two “ladies” in that photo link are the absolute antithesis of feminine pulchritude. I’m guessing Dana’s nickname around the office is Butch. She looks like a thinner version of my college Social Geography Prof. (an in-your-face, lesbian socialist with a disposition as ugly as her manly mug).

    Do these journaliar ProgBot freaks have the slightest clue how self stereotyping and utterly bizarre they are. Hell no! I bet Dana thinks of herself as the epitome of an unbiased, non partisan journalist and just as normal as blue sky and apple pie.

    To paraphrase William F. Buckley, I would rather be ruled by the first one hundred people in the San Jose phone book than by the likes of Dana Hull. Hell, I would rather be ruled by the inmates of Folsom State Prison than these ProgBot mutants.

    Reply this comment
  8. us citizen
    us citizen 23 April, 2013, 11:57

    Calif’s problem is not prop 13……..its unions and ILLEGALS.

    Reply this comment
  9. Sean Morham
    Sean Morham 23 April, 2013, 13:06

    No, not the problem, the future is gov t unions and illegals. Who wouldn t think that will drive the Cal economy for the balance of the 21st century?Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson had their turn, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington Carver had their turn, Franklin Roosevelt, John Lewis(UMW), Emily Dickinson had their turn. Now it is the 52 year old retired state cop with all the toys in street, it is gov t subsidized house full of people coming and going(two minivans and a SUV always there)….i.e a five bedroom house equals a at least a three family house. The cop and house full of transients, both dependent on gov t income… they are the future of California.

    Reply this comment
  10. Tim OConnor
    Tim OConnor 23 April, 2013, 20:08

    Please keep in mind that Dr. Robert Stavins is a vocal proponent of the market based measures that are at the heart of AB 32. Also, since the NYT is the preferred publication of this blog post, it is worth noting the several articles of that paper over the last 4 years describing the benefits to California from the state’s premier clean energy law. Documenting the wide array of economic growth that has occurred and opportunities that lie ahead for California puts Hull in the majority as opposed to being an outlier.

    Reply this comment

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