NewsHour Finds Drilling Critic

We noted last week that the PBS NewsHour‘s coverageof the Gulf oil disaster one night includeda one-on-one interview with a spokesperson from BP. Going through the show’s coverage since then, a remarkable fact emerged: The show hadnot interviewed an environmental advocate opposed to the White House plan to increase offshore oil drilling. The reticence to talk about this obvious policy angle was bizarre–though not at all limited to PBS.

Well, last night the NewsHour hosted a debate between Greenpeace’s Kert Davies and Sara Banaszak of the American Petroleum Institute. So let the record show that the NewsHour has opened up a tiny bit of space for that discussion to happen.

And it’s an improvement over the comments by PBS liberal Mark Shields, who on April 30 was lamenting the fact that the current spill might set back the effort to increase offshore drilling: “The resistance on the environmental left to offshore drilling, I think, had diminished at the time the president came forward, because of the advances in safety equipment and strategies.”

That wasn’t really the case; the environmental groups that opposed offshore drilling continued to oppose it, no matter what Barack Obama thought of the idea. It’s good that PBS is letting its viewers in on that now.

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.