WSJ and the Disappearing ‘Gasland’ Quote

The documentary Gasland was up for an Academy Award last night. Director Josh Fox has been writing about the gas industry’s campaign against the film, which is a critical look at hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” That controversy found its way to the Wall Street Journal on Friday, where a story byBenCasselman was posted that included an interesting admission.

As Press Action noted:

In the original version of the article, Casselman, who has covered the energy industry at the Journal for several years, quoted Range Resources-Appalachia director of public affairs Matt Pitzarella as saying: “We have to stop blaming documentaries and take a look in the mirror.”

Obviously, “we need to look in the mirror” is not the message the industry means to send about the film. And that might explain why the quote disappeared–to be replaced, ironically enough, by an industry spokesperson declaring that they “don’t want to get drowned out… We need to be able to respond objectively and accurately.” Yes, let’s hope the energy industry gets a chance to be heard!

So what happened? Press Action got a response, though not one that helps explain what happened:

Press Action contacted Casselman on February 26 to find out if he knew why the Range Resources spokesman’s quote was removed from his article. In an e-mail response, Casselman wrote: “As a matter of policy, the Journal doesn’t discuss its editorial decisions, so I can’t get into details. But stories are edited all the time between editions, for all sorts of reasons (space, clarity, etc.). So it’s not unusual for the early versions of a story to look different from the final version.”

Perhaps aWall Street Journal editorcouldprovide an answer?

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.