Journalistic integrity hit a new low last week when the Los Angeles Times published an outlandish and inaccurate story funded by environmental extremists and called it "news." The article claims climate change, not crew error and a broken radar system, was to blame the Exxon Valdez tanker spill in 1989.
By running the piece, the LA Times (which previously announced it would not run letters to the editor that questioned the role of humans in climate change) gave a lobbying arm of wealthy fanatical environmentalists the opportunity to pose as journalists and rewrite history.
Just after midnight on March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez struck a reef, piercing the tanker, and ultimately released nearly 11 million gallons of crude oil in Prince William Sound, just off the coast of Alaska. The tragedy was caused by a fatigued pilot and an inoperative radar that, if working, would have warned the crew of the impending reef.
It certainly had nothing to do with man-made climate change.
Yet the Los Angeles Times printed a 2,500-word fictionalized tale of the Exxon Valdez accident, which claims that icebergs from a melting glacier forced the tanker to veer off course and into the reef.
The tale, which contradicts years of research and millions of pages of evidence regarding the Valdez accident, was written by a group of students from the Energy and Environmental Reporting Project at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Some of the richest and most influential figures in global warming activism and liberal politics fund the Project. George Soros’ Open Society Foundation is among the outfit’s largest donors. And Tom Steyer, the hedge-fund billionaire who has become the de facto puppet master for the green extreme movement in recent years, gives money to the Energy Foundation which, in turn, funds the Project.
The Rockefeller family, through the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Rockefeller Family Fund, has also poured money into this shady attempt to marry journalism with special interest-funded political activism.
Clearly, these activist donors believe plying the media with invented stories can help elect Democrats and give the government more power over the American economy.
Not to be forgotten, Columbia University’s Energy and Environmental Reporting Project has already been completely discredited, disgraced, and humiliated for falsifying a different story involving ExxonMobil.
Last December, the heads of the Rockefeller Family Fund were forced to admit that they and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund "paid for a team of independent reporters from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism to try to determine what Exxon and other U.S. oil companies had really known about climate science, and when."
Those "independent reporters" who were paid by the global warming extremists at the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to produce an ExxonMobil hit piece were researchers for the Energy and Environmental Reporting Project. When the reporters failed to find any evidence indicating ExxonMobil had knowledge of a link between fossil fuels and climate change, they invented some.
Columbia University journalism students cherry-picked statements out of context from decades-old Exxon documents, then rearranged them to concoct a series of fabricated narratives. The resulting articles claimed Exxon scientists knew as far back as the late 1970s that burning oil and gasoline impacted global temperatures, but chose to cover up the research.
The bogus stories were published by InsideClimate News — a website that also receives cash from the Rockefeller foundations — and used as the basis for a series of investigations by state attorneys general into ExxonMobil. In total, AGs from 17 state and territories launched probes against ExxonMobil and other energy firms in hopes of bringing racketeering and fraud charges against the companies.
Eventually, the truth came out and the scheme unraveled. Exxon released records proving the story was a sham, and almost all of the AGs have dropped their politically motivated investigations.
After its ExxonMobil revelation was revealed to be a specious hack job, Columbia’s Energy and Environmental Reporting Project tucked tail and stayed out of the spotlight. That changed last week when the Los Angeles Times gave the hucksters an opportunity to spew more invented nonsense in America’s fourth largest newspaper.
Environmental extremists clearly have no qualms about trying to pass off fictional opinion stories as journalism — and people like George Soros, Tom Steyer, and members of the Rockefeller family will continue to bankroll organizations that write bogus articles as long as the people are gullible enough to publish them. That means it’s up to the media — and specifically influential and respected outlets like the Los Angeles Times — to refuse to print news stories that are politically motivated, funded by special interest groups, or just plain fake.
Drew Johnson is a Senior Scholar at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and National Director of Protect Internet Freedom. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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