Monday, July 28, 2008

NYTimes Covers, Charged with Two Errors

Sunday's New York Times covered the group organizing ongoing protests against the Washington Nationals for their major sponsorship deal with ExxonMobil. even wonders if the Nats will allow ExxonMobil to purchase naming rights to Nats Park.

The Green Miles is a Nats partial season ticket holder. I'm already wavering about renewing them since the Nats continue to make stupid baseball decisions, like trading Jon Rauch for a Freddie "The Flea" Patek clone and bidding against themselves to wildly overpay Christian Guzman. The only thing that keeps me coming back is a beautiful day at the ballpark (even if my team typically gets killed). But if the Nationals sell the naming rights of our brand-new green diamond to ExxonMobil, I'll dump my tickets that day.

Back to the article. It's a decent summary of the protests, but there are two egregious flaws. Here's the first:
During a nine-game home stand in late June, ExxonMobil worked with the Alliance to Save Energy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, to offer energy-saving tips at the new stadium. [...]

The president of the Alliance to Save Energy, Kateri Callahan, said she knew that working with ExxonMobil “could raise some eyebrows,” but said that the company had been a conscientious partner in her group’s fuel-efficiency campaign.

Makes it sound like the Alliance to Save Energy is some tiny little ragtag outfit taking a big risk with a brand new partnership with ExxonMobil. Except for the nagging little detail that ExxonMobil is a major contributor to the Alliance to Save Energy. Seems like something the NYTimes should've mentioned, don't you think?

In fact, the group's donor list (the Alliance prefers to call them "members") is a virtual who's who of big energy companies and major polluters. The Alliance isn't going out on a limb -- it's paying back one of its major donors by helping them greenwash.

Then there's this:

Mr. Jeffers, however, said ExxonMobil was emphasizing energy efficiency in light of forecasts from the company and other analysts that hydrocarbons will continue to supply about 80 percent of the world’s energy over the next few decades.
Can you believe a reporter for what's supposed to be one of the best newspapers in the country would take ExxonMobil's forecasts as gospel?
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