A Media Matters report published earlier this year demonstrated how news coverage of the Keystone XL pipeline has largely mirrored pipeline proponents' preferred framing by overstating the jobs impact of the project while overlooking potential environmental consequences. The most recent example is a New York Times article by Jennifer Steinhauer, which presents a blatantly one-sided perspective on the political fight over Keystone XL.
The Times begins by framing the pipeline as an economic and employment issue:
President Obama is finding himself increasingly boxed in on the Keystone pipeline fight as more Congressional Democrats are joining Republicans in backing the project, which has strong labor support and could generate significant numbers of jobs in economically hard-hit states.
But what exactly is a "significant" amount of jobs? The Times later cites an industry estimate that the project could create 20,000 jobs, noting that the figure is "disputed." The figure is an unsubstantiated claim from TransCanada, the corporation behind the pipeline. By contrast, the State Department has said that while the project may employ 5,000 - 6,000 workers during the construction phase, it "would not have a significant impact on long-term employment."
The article also fails to note that several major unions, including the the United Steelworkers, supported President Obama's decision to delay the project.
You'd never know from reading today's New York Times that last year's health care reform legislation will reduce the deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Here's the Times:
Invoking the mantra of fiscal restraint that has dominated House action since lawmakers reconvened last month, Republicans began committee work this week on two bills that would greatly expand restrictions on financing for and access to abortions.
Over and over, Democrats said that by bringing up the abortion issue now, Republicans were going back on their word to focus on the budget.
Yet the bills that have surfaced on the House floor this year have been fiscal in nature, including the repeal of the health care law, which was later rejected by the Senate, and some measures designed to cut spending.
Got that? The "mantra of fiscal restraint" has dominated House action this year, and Democratic criticism of Republicans for going back on their promises to reduce the deficit is unfounded because the GOP's proposals, like health care repeal, "have been fiscal in nature."
One little problem: Repealing health care reform would have increased the deficit.
Don't take my word for it: Here's what the New York Times reported on February 2:
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said that repealing the health care law would add more than $230 billion to federal deficits between 2012 and 2021.
The Republicans' attempt to repeal health care was "fiscal in nature," all right -- but its fiscal impact would have been to drive up deficits. The New York Times knows this. So why is it now pretending that the repeal effort is consistent with the GOP's "mantra of fiscal restraint"?