At Times, Objective Reporting An Endangered Species
By Don Feder
Wednesday March 4, 2009

In today’s edition, The New York Times (AKA: The Sierra Club Newsletter) has a story on Obama’s move to undo a Bush policy that would have allowed federal agencies to proceed with projects without checking with advocates for the snail darter.

Near the end of his administration, President Bush told federal officials they didn’t have to clear it with “scientific experts” in the federal bureaucracy before proceeding with projects that might harm plants or animals protected by the Endangered Species Act.

Naturally, The Times was aghast by Bush’s blatant disregard for the welfare of wildflowers — even with the nation in desperate economic straits.

Its story quoted the Tree-Hugger-in-chief pledging to “help restore the scientific process to its rightful place” in regard to the Endangered Species Act, and declaring that it was “false” to say the nation had to choose between jobs and environmentalism.

Typical of the way The Times balances its sources, it quoted one critical of the move and three who think it’s the greatest thing since the Kyoto Accords.

The critic, Bill Kovacs, vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the action constituted unreasonable interference with needed projects, warning, “While real Americans are looking for real jobs, Washington bureaucrats are debating if, for instance, a bridge project in Florida contributed to the melting of Artic ice,” making life more difficult for endangered polar bears. (“Real Americans” are those who take The Times with a grain of salt.)

Against this lone voice of reason, the paper arrayed Democratic Representative Nick J. Rahall II, who thought the Obama move was “a change for the better,” Kieran Suckling (executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity) who hailed it as “welcome news,” and Jane Brimmer (a staff attorney for EarthJustice) who called it “an important first step.” Two paragraphs were devoted to Brimmer’s views.

Along with Obama, that makes four sources supporting the change versus one against it. Apparently, The Times couldn’t find anyone else opposing the move — say a Congressman on the other side or a Heritage Foundation scholar.

At The New York Times, objectivity and balance are endangered species.

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