"Trump: Hillary Waging Costly 'War on Energy' "
This headline in a large font accompanied by a 4" x 6" picture of Donald Trump, dominates the top half of this morning's Intelligencer front page. The article, by Intelligencer reporter and propagandist for the fossil fuel industry Casey Junkins, covers parts of the speech that Trump gave yesterday to the Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh.
Trump covered a number of topics; Junkins, for the most part, concentrated on Trump's energy statements. To that end, the article makes extensive use of Trump quotes without any balance or fact-checking. For example, Trump asserted that "Hillary Clinton's war on energy will cost our economy $5 trillion, at least" and that the shale boom is potentially worth $50 trillion. If Trump used any evidence in his speech, it certainly wasn't cited in the article. Nor did Junkins bother to check for accuracy.
Since this certainly appears to be an anti-Clinton/pro-Trump article, Junkins also does his own asserting:
Clinton has never taken a firm position on hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, but Trump accused her of plotting against the practice.
Really? Apparently Junkins missed the Democratic debates where Bernie Sanders frequently made her support for fracking an issue. Back in April Politifact, an online fact-checker, examined Sander's claim. Here is their conclusion:
Sanders said that Clinton supported and continues "to support fracking."
As secretary of state, Clinton supported and promoted fracking around the world. As a 2016 candidate, her support comes with conditions such as local choice, stronger environmental regulation and chemicals.
Sanders’ claim is accurate but needs additional information. We rate it Mostly True.
It gets worse. Given Trump's frequently-used strategy of telling an audience what he believes they want to hear, a reporter ought to be checking anything that Trump says against what he previously said. Such is the case with fracking. Here is Politico, two months ago, telling us in its headline:
Trump agrees with Clinton on fracking debate
The article explains:
Donald Trump today told a Colorado TV station that he supports local control over fracking, wading into a controversial issue that has pitted oil and gas companies against environmentalists - and agreeing with Hillary Clinton.
The GOP nominee told Denver's NBC station that "I'm in favor of fracking, but I think that voters should have a big say in it. I mean, there's some areas, maybe, that don't want to have fracking, and I think if the voters are voting for it that's up to them."
It took me about five minutes to find these sources and it's certainly something a reporter should be doing. What about a propagandist? Hey, why bother?
"Cole: Get Government Out of the Way" (so that West Virginia can once again be exploited?)
Apparently Republican candidate for governor Bill Cole also spoke at yesterday's conference although I could not find a non-Ogden source to confirm that point. Regardless, candidate Cole also made it to this morning's front page singing the praises, along with politicians from Ohio and Pennsylvania, of oil and natural gas:
“This should be the greatest thing our three states have ever seen,” Cole said. “It would be great, in my opinion, if we could jointly take over the narrative about how great this is. We need to think big in West Virginia.”
Yes, great. And like West Virginia's timber and coal before it, I'm sure it will really work out well for the state's citizens!
"Standing Up For Consumers" completes the trifecta
Once Republican WV Attorney General Morrisey went after the cost of Mylan's EpiPens (see two posts down), even the most casual reader of Wheeling "newspapers" knew it was only a matter of time before we saw this editorial. Not surprising, there is no new information in the editorial and its conclusion restates the editorial's title:
Someone has to stand up for Mountain State consumers, after all.
Friday -- the Intelligencer makes it a good day for Republicans.