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

by CalWatchdog Staff | April 23, 2013 6:15 am

April 23, 2013

By Chris Reed

The fact that no one in the California media besides me[1] 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[2]. He noted that the Merc-News in February posted a massive Frequently Asked Questions feature[3] 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[4]:

“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[5], 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.

  1. me: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/mar/10/tp-fracking-evil-or-just-another-heavy-industry/
  2. coverage of the bullet train: http://www.calwatchdog.com/2013/03/28/bullet-train-is-l-a-times-beat-reporter-ashamed-of-edit-page/
  3. Frequently Asked Questions feature: http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_22092533/13-things-know-about-california-cap-trade-program
  4. October 2012: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/science/earth/in-california-a-grand-experiment-to-rein-in-climate-change.html?_r=0
  5. profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/danahull

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2013/04/23/n-y-times-shames-mercury-news-on-ab-32-coverage/