Blog ››› ››› JILL FITZSIMMONS
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.