Environmental Group Targets NPR for Misleading Coverage of Fracking Issue Linked to Corporate Sponsors

Posted April 2, 2014

MP3 Interview with Drew Hudson, executive director of Environmental Action, conducted by Scott Harris


It’s no secret that money wields influence in the corporate world and in politics. And it’s also true that in journalism, be it newspapers, television or radio, that a media outlet’s owner and their financial interests can determine what stories will be covered, which will be ignored and the point of view their coverage conveys. Therefore it was not surprising that when National Public Radio, NPR, started accepting corporate sponsorship from the American Natural Gas Alliance, those funds could influence how the radio network covered issues that the Alliance cared about.

According to the group Environmental Action, The American Natural Gas Alliance is a front group that promotes some of the worst energy polluters in America, including companies that employ the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking method of extracting natural gas from underground shale formations. Fracking, although successful in producing more natural gas than was possible with older methods, has become controversial for the chemicals used in the process that have polluted water and air and contributes to climate change.

In response to NPR’s accepting corporate sponsorship funding from the American Natural Gas Alliance, which uses its underwriting airtime to disseminate misleading information about fracking across the U.S., Environmental Action launched a petition drive asking the network to stop taking fracking industry money that they believe negatively influences its reporting on the issue. Between The Lines’ spoke with Drew Hudson, executive director of Environmental Action who discusses his group's current campaign targeting NPR and recounts a Dec. 18 meeting he and other activists had with NPR officials at the network’s Washington headquarters.

For more information on the group’s NPR Don’t Even Think About It campaign, visit npr-dont-even-thinkaboutit.org/.

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