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« Can I say "both"? | Main | I'd say your toga matches your eyes, but I'm not sure »

Jul 18, 2011


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Fred Gregory

Oh my goodness how did you ever overlook the NY Times public editor Artur Brisbane's incisive critique of reporter Ian Urbina’s heavily criticized recent Sunday front-page article on natural gas extraction, “Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush,”? ( which you linked at another post in support of NC going slow ). Guess you didn't notice this attack on it .

Clashing Views on the Future of Natural Gas

Brisbane accused Urbina of making unsubstantiated claims, questioable sourcing and failing to provide sufficient opposing views.

"A New York Times article last month, 'Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush,' warned across two columns at the top of the front page that high expectations for companies drilling shale gas might be headed for a fall. It was the kind of story you wish The Times had written about Enron before it collapsed. Or about Bernard Madoff.

The June 26 article, written by Ian Urbina, was clearly intended to offer that kind of signal and specifically invoked 'Enron,' 'Ponzi schemes' and 'dot-coms' in the early paragraphs.

Raising the prospect of a fall, though, is a journalistic gamble. Adding to the risk, the story painted its subject with an overly broad brush and didn’t include dissenting views from experts who aren’t entrenched on one side or another of the subject. After publication, critics jumped in with both feet."

Brisbane showing no mercy finished off Urbina with this coup de grace: "My view is that such a pointed article needed more convincing substantiation, more space for a reasoned explanation of the other side and more clarity about its focus"

Can you say vindication ?

Ed Cone

Just getting ready to link that, Fred, thnx to alert reader TC. But I'm not sure it says what you seem to think it says.


"But I'm not sure it says what you seem to think it says."

Go ahead.

I'm ready.

Note to Sykes: Where are you, son?

Steve Harrison

Here's a little background on Brisbane's article.

And a little background on the background.

Have fun.

Fred Gregory

It says what it says.

Alert Reader Fred


"It says what it says."

As true as that is, Fred,we need to remember that it always gets framed to say what they want it to say anyway.

Ed Cone

Fred, the confusing (to me, at least) word in your comment was "vindication."

I read that to mean you think the NYT editorial comment in some way vindicates the position you've taken over the past several months on the unquestioned safety of hydrofracking and the advisability of fast-tracking it here in NC.

What the editor questions is the presentation and sourcing of facts about natural gas supply and the economics of the industry. Those questions seem well-founded, although the economics of the independent drillers may still be suspect, and thus their role in dealing with North Carolinians deserves special scrutiny.

If you merely meant that the editorial vindicates the belief that it's far from proven that overall gas reserves are overstated and that the current boom could well produce a viable source of energy, then, sure.


See what I mean, Fred?


There's no "framing" there. That's just what it says. I was confused by Fred's use of " vindication". Just what was vindicated?


"Two men, two calculations, and two very different consequences."

Fred Gregory

Sorry about the confusion over the " V " word. Those vindicated were the critics of Urbina's sloppy piece of journaism when it first appeared in the NY Times and subsequently posted on this blog . There, does that clear it up for you, Otey ?

Ed Cone

Thanks for the clarification, Fred.


Yep. Makes sense to me.

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