Va.-based Franklin Center petitions New York Times’ standards editor over negligent natural gas reporting

September 8, 2011 by

This past Wednesday, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity sent a letter to Phillip Corbett, standards editor of the New York Times, urging him to launch a formal inquiry into Ian Urbina’s biased and unfounded natural gas reporting over the past few months.

The Center writes:

“The letter raises a number of difficult-to-answer questions surrounding Times standards that appear to have been violated by reporter Ian Urbina in two recent articles on shale gas (‘Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush,’ June 25 and ‘Behind Veneer, Doubt of Future of Natural Gas,’ June 26).  The reports, which relied heavily on anonymous sourcing, rattled energy markets and raised the ire of federal regulators by suggesting the gas industry and the government were grossly exaggerating shale gas reserves for the purposes of maximizing short-term investment.

The reports relied heavily on several industry critics whose credentials appear now to have been described in a misleading and inaccurate manner.  Furthermore, Urbina left the impression with readers that a much broader cross section of government officials and experts were sourced in the report, when in fact his reports were based primarily on the opinions of three critics whose motivations and biases raise serious questions about their credibility.”

Click here to read this informative letter.

Hopefully the Times will take proper action against Urbina, given that he violated a number of the paper’s standards and practices that were put into place in the aftermath of the Jayson Blair scandal.

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