Keystone Pipeline: When Industry Ads and Industry-Friendly Coverage Collide

This is the sort of awkward juxtaposition that newspapers usually try to avoid. In today’s Washington Post (7/9/12), a story about the Keystone pipeline appears above a Chevron ad:


Then again, maybe not. Juliet Eilperin‘s article is all about what supporters of the pipeline project in the state of Montana are saying. Politicians, academics and labor leaders are all behind the project. One critic–a farmer–is heard from (“Not everyone in Montana has embraced the pipeline…”), but she says she’d support the pipeline if it was exclusively for the benefit of a local oil field.

Is Keystone really the kind of story that needs a story devoted to the views of pipeline supporters? It doesn’t seem like it; a recent Media Matters study shows that pipeline proponents far outnumber critics. And that doesn’t count the amplification of their message through paid ads like the one that accompanied the Post story.

Nonetheless,  the energy industry is revving up a PR campaign to rebut critics of Keystone. The Houston Chronicle reports:

Manufacturers, refiners, energy companies and pipeline operators that think the promise of Canadian crude is getting lost in the criticism of it have formed an initiative to promote the fossil fuel.

They’re already winning this debate–at least in the corporate media. Apparently they want to run up the score.


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.