When I emailed the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas about the Times' representation that she was on an "advisory committee" and was a "commissioner," spokesperson James Hoard corrected the record: She is an unpaid volunteer member of the "small business and agriculture advisory council (not 'committee'), which is composed of professionals primarily representing small business and agriculture . . . local citizens who provide input into regional business conditions. (Ms. Rogers is a cheese producer.)," he wrote. Hoard added that she has no "governance or policy responsibilities." The two former chairs instrumental in appointing her are executives in the oil industry: Jim Hackett at Anadarko Petroleum and Ray Hunt at Hunt Consolidated.
I asked Rogers whether she had discussed her ongoing battle with Chesapeake with the Times. She paused. "Call Urbina, call the New York Times." When pressed, she went silent. "Thanks," she said, and hung up.
Where were the Times' fact-checkers? Imagine how the reader of the Times' "investigation" would have assessed Rogers' credibility if Urbina had revealed key contextual details. Would she have been seen as credible, or even featured in the piece, if she had been introduced as "Deborah Rogers, a goat farmer, cheesemaker and activist who has tangled repeatedly with Chesapeake Energy and lectures for anti-fracking NGOs"? That would have been a one-sided caricature -- but no less deceptive than the résumé details cherry-picked by Urbina.
I spoke with representatives of two companies that are portrayed in the Times' piece as peddling to their customers the "bubble lie" that shale gas has a rosy future. PNC Wealth Management said it was not contacted by the reporter. IHS Drilling Data spokesperson David Pendery, quoted in the Times story, was irked at the paper. "I got a bizarre call from the New York Times reporter, who wanted me to respond to sections of an email that he read to me, but he wouldn't supply us with the actual email so we could read it in context," he said. "He wasn't very professional."
More on the NYT Natural Gas Story