Saturday, July 2, 2011

Has the New York Times Aided and Abetted A Crime? Environmentalists, Goat Farmers, and Market Manipulators

When I posted my June 30 article: “Why the NYT-Liberal Assault on Shale Gas? How About the Volt?”, I interpreted the NYT’s attack on natural gas fracking as a political diversion. It was time to hit “Big energy” again, only this time, it was “Big Gas.” I wondered why the NYT was so worried about investors in oil shale projects, in low energy prices, and black churches that had been duped by promoters. I took the series of NYT articles seriously, read the e-mails quoted, and wrote about the natural uncertainty associated with new technologies.

I was shocked, to say the least, to read Jon Entine’s article, “Natural Gas ‘Bubble’ Report: Market Tinkering or Shoddy Reporting?”

In a real example of investigative journalism, Entine discovered that, of the two “named” NYT sources, one is an investment advisor (and long-time critic of gas fracking), listed as a “geologist,” whose firm and clients possibly stood to gain from speculation against shale oil stocks.

The other quoted sources, who the NYT lists as an “Advisor” to the Dallas Fed, is a goat dairy farmer (on some citizen advisory board of the Dallas Fed) who has tangled with a natural gas company, accusing it of causing environmental damage to her farm. The NYT failed to report this as well as her membership on the steering committee of the Oil and Gas Accountability Project at Earthworks, an anti-shale-gas advocacy group. It appears she lectures against gas fracking around the country.

The NYT’s sources are unnamed, but judging from their excerpted e-mails, they are simply stating the obvious, that this is a new technology and we do not know what the future will bring. I address in my post the e-mails that speak to the difficulty of estimating reserves in the presence of a new technology. We cannot know economically-recoverable reserves without knowing future prices, which we do not. Anti-gas fracking democrat members of Congress have called for hearings. With the disclosures in Entine’s article, it now appears that hearings are necessary. The New York Times should be one of the first witnesses to testify given the possibility of market manipulation.

For Entine’s article, see:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/07/01/natural_gas_bubble_report_market_tinkering_or_shoddy_reporting.html

For my earlier post, see:
http://paulgregorysblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-nyt-liberal-assault-on-shale-gas.html

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