Newsweek's Fineman defends “balance” of panel that included oil industry, excluded enviro groups

Newsweek's Howard Fineman responded to controversy over the Newsweek/big oil panel he moderated last night:

Rep. Ed Markey, the chief sponsor of the House cap-and-trade bill and a leading environmental advocate, is a full participant in the open, on-the-record discussion with no control by API over the questions or flow. Dem Sen Byron Dorgan is also participating and will reflect various views in Dem caucus. Rep Fred Upton, who opposed the House bill, will also participate. I see nothing wrong with an open, on-the-record balanced discussion like this. Newsweek has a long tradition of enviro reporting, including our annual green issue.

Seriously? The “discussion” featured the president of the American Petroleum Institute -- which just happens to fund Newsweek -- but no representatives of environmental organizations ... and Howard Fineman calls that a “balanced discussion”?

Apparently to Newsweek, “balance” means “Industry representatives who fund us and--Hey! Look over there!”