Why Won't National Journal Call A Lobbyist A Lobbyist?

Blog ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

UPDATE (2/10/12): National Journal accurately identified Michael McKenna as a "Republican energy lobbyist" in a January 26 article. Politico, on the other hand, has quoted McKenna without noting that he is a lobbyist in at least two articles since this post was published.

One of these is not like the others:

  • "...said Michael McKenna, a Republican strategist and energy lobbyist" [Washington Times]
  • "... said Michael McKenna, a Republican strategist and energy lobbyist" [New York Times]
  • "...said Michael McKenna, a GOP strategist and energy lobbyist" [E&E Daily]
  • "...said GOP political strategist Mike McKenna, who is an expert on energy and is close with congressional leadership" [National Journal]

National Journal reporters have quoted Michael McKenna 21 times in the past year, more than any other news outlet in the Nexis database. In each case, McKenna provided comments on the politics surrounding energy and environment issues, including EPA regulations, climate change, clean energy, and gasoline prices. Not once did National Journal note that McKenna is a lobbyist who represents oil and utility companies. Instead, he was identified as a "Republican strategist who focuses on energy issues," or a "GOP energy strategist."

McKenna is the President of MWR Strategies, which aims "to help our clients advance their agendas in the public policy and media arenas." According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, MWR Strategies has worked for major fossil fuel interests including American Electric Power, Southern Co and Koch Industries, for several years.

OpenSecrets.org chart

National Journal is not alone in omitting this information about McKenna. Politico reporters quoted the "GOP energy strategist" in 14 energy and environment stories over the past year without mentioning his lobbying firm or its clients.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Energy
National Journal, Politico
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