Nov
08
2011

Pipeline Protesters Are Noise to the Washington Post

Opponents of the Keystone tar sands pipeline project–10,000 of them, by some reports–surrounded the White House on Sunday to call on Barack Obama to reject the deal. That generated a short Metro section story in the Washington Post on Monday.

More revealing than that was the Post's preview story in Sunday's paper, which presented the issue as one where protesters are "noise" and proponents talk about facts. Here's how Juliet Eilperin's story begins:

Canadian ambassador Gary Doer has a straightforward analysis of whether TransCanada will win the Obama administration's approval to build and operate an enormous pipeline to transport oil from Alberta to the Texas coast.

"If it's made on merit, we're confident," Doer said in an interview. "If it's made on noise, it's unpredictable."

Foes of the project–which has become a test of how President Obama balances environmental considerations against economic and energy supply concerns–will try to turn up the noise Sunday with a rally around the White House. Unemployed workers who support the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline are planning to counter with a blitz of media interviews over the weekend.

The article quotes six different sources from the company trying to build the pipeline, consultants working for the company and U.S. and Canadian government officials. Climate activist Bill McKibben is the lone environmentalist voice quoted, and in the final paragraph.

If the protests are creating "noise," the Post doesn't exactly seem eager to hear it.

UPDATE: Eilperin is back on the Keystone case today, with similar results:

Pipeline route may get another look from U.S.

Opposition mounts to plan for shipping Canada oil sands crude

Eilperin reports that opposition is coming from "environmentalists and an eclectic group of ranchers, farmers and other opponents." So who's quoted in the article? A State Department official, the president of the American Petroleum Institute and the spokesman for TransCanada (the company wanting to build the pipeline come first. And the final paragraph is reserved for someone from the National Wildlife Federation. That's in a piece that is, judging by the subhead, about the mounting opposition to the pipeline.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.