NYT buries ‘fracking is safe’ report on page A19

January 7, 2013

One would think that a newspaper which in its view has largely made its reputation on publishing leaked government documents and revealing government secrets would have been a bit more excited about being the sole recipient of a report from the State of New York indicating that hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is safe. The State had already sat on the report for a year.

The Times published the story on January 3, but on Page A19, while changing its original strong title (“Hydrofracking Safe, Says N.Y. Health Dept. Analysis” — seen in the browser window) to a less descriptive, boring, and somewhat deceptive “Gas Drilling Is Called Safe in New York.”

Even if one might argue that the news is a New York-only story — an argument I find weak, given the importance of national energy independence — the Times’s rundown of stories on Page A19 in its “New York” section lists the fracking story third behind a writeup about how taxicab customers’ tips are declining and about how the Journal News, which published an interactive gun permit mapFracking for two New York counties two weeks ago, has hired armed guards.

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