Media Research Center (MRC) and Fox News appear to be telling journalists that if they investigate the business dealings of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, you will be attacked.
In his bio on FoxNews.com, MRC “Vice President for Business and Culture” Gainor is listed as “the Boone Pickens Fellow” for MRC. Pickens is described by MRC as an “MRC Trustee,” has presented at the MRC's annual DisHonor Awards, is listed in their most recent annual report available online (2008) as a “trustee,” and was described by MRC founder Brent Bozell in 2006 as “a friend” who “supports” the Media Research Center. Pickens reportedly donated $1 million to the Swift Boat Veterans for The Truth in 2004.
Gainor has written an opinion piece on FoxNews.com attacking progressive philanthropist (and Media Matters donor) George Soros for his donations via the Open Society Foundation into journalistic operations like the non-profit ProPublica:
The ProPublica stories are thoroughly researched by top-notch staffers who used to work at some of the biggest news outlets in the nation. But the topics are almost laughably left-wing. The site's proud list of “Our Investigations” includes attacks on oil companies, gas companies, the health care industry, for-profit schools and more. More than 100 stories on the latest lefty cause: opposition to drilling for natural gas by hydraulic fracking. Another 100 on the evils of the foreclosure industry.
Gainor doesn't seem to have any problem with the factual output of ProPublica, just the fact that it exists and investigates issues. He even says "[t]he ProPublica stories are thoroughly researched by top-notch staffers." So, why the hate?
“One of the main advantages of natural gas is that it is supposed to be far cleaner than oil or coal. Right now Congress is even considering a T. Boone Pickens-inspired bill aimed at converting the nation's truck fleet to run on natural gas. If it's passed, it will be in large part on the assumption that such a move will help the nation reduce climate-changing greenhouse gases.”
“Natural gas, as T. Boone Pickens said recently, is ”cleaner, cheaper... abundant, and ours." Burning gas, used primarily to heat homes and make electricity, emits 23 percent less carbon dioxide than burning oil. Gas is the country's second-largest domestic energy resource, after coal."
“In December the DEP fined Chesapeake and Schlumberger, two of the biggest operators in the Marcellus Shale and in gas development nationally, for spilling hydrochloric acid, which is used for hydraulic fracturing and is corrosive. Cabot Oil and Gas, a Houston-based energy company that lists T. Boone Pickens as one of its stockholders, was fined in November for a series of spills, including a fracturing fluid spill by its contractor Halliburton.”
ProPublica has aggressively covered the natural gas industry, noting many of its shortcomings - particularly the environmental hazards. Gainor describes this coverage as “laughably left-wing,” but while the concept may be alien to MRC, this is what is generally described as “journalism.”
Pickens, an MRC benefactor, has financial interests in the natural gas industry, and the man who is a beneficiary of his donations attacks ProPublica -- via Fox News. Interesting how that works out.