There’s been quite a bit of discussion among Colorado journalists lately regarding a new website called “The Energy Accountability Project” (EAP), which appears to be little more than a media bashing tool that is half-heartedly disguised as a “fact checking” resource. We’ll have more discussion on the EAP site a bit later in this space, but first let’s get you caught up on the controversy and the O&G industry’s boneheaded responses to criticism.
Wow, Colorado’s oil and gas industry appears to be personally attacking journalists’ on this site, rather than focusing on putting out factual information. @finleybruce @JoeStGeorge @blairmiller all have their own “pages” #copolitics #coleg #COgov https://t.co/93PeJCqMJM
— John Frank ☀ (@ByJohnFrank) August 8, 2018
The EAP website launched with a menu that listed individual reporters by name, which understandably didn’t make reporters very happy. Even former Colorado journalists found the site to be a massive #FAIL. As former Colorado Springs Gazette reporter Peter Marcus wrote on Twitter:
When trying to convince the media and public that fracking is a safe practice, aligning with a Trump narrative that the media is the enemy of the people won’t get you any traction. Surprised the well-funded OilandGas industry would make such a poor calculation.
9News journalist Kyle Clark was irritated enough that he spoke out on his 6:00 pm show “Next With Kyle Clark”:
Anonymous oil & gas industry website attacks journalists by name. Kyle calls on them to come out of the shadows. pic.twitter.com/6FxK9b8oFl
— Next with Kyle Clark (@nexton9news) August 9, 2018
The purveyors of the EAP website have since made significant changes to the layout, including removing menu items linking to individual reporters in favor of links to news organizations instead. The folks at EAP also responded to criticism after they initially
refused forgot to disclose their financial backers, which includes the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, but that mea culpa was packaged in another box of #FAIL. Check out this message posted to the EAP site from Dan Haley of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association:
We were asked by 9News this week if the Colorado Oil & Gas Association was supporting this website, and we said yes. Whenever anyone asked, we said yes. We should have been forthcoming with that at the beginning. As Kyle Clark pointed out, it would have been better to follow the example of other industry journals and websites by listing our support.
If you’re waiting for the punchline, you won’t be disappointed. As you can see from the screenshot below, the EAP rated its own statement as totally great!
This is so stupid.