Last month, we covered an unusual article written by Denver Post environmental reporter Bruce Finley that failed to disclose the radical environmentalist ties its source. In that article, Dr. Mitchell Gershten was just portrayed as a small town doctor, when, in fact, he is also an experienced environmental activist with a particular ax to grind with the state’s oil and gas industry. Based on Finley’s long career in journalism and the editorial standards at the state’s most influential newspaper, we thought that this instance was an outlier. Unfortunately, it is not.
Below are just a few examples of Bruce Finley enlisting environmental activists as sources for his stories, and painting these individuals as just ordinary citizens. There an numerous other examples from the Denver Post that are not included here, but will be in subsequent posts.
In this March 2013 Denver Post story about seismic monitoring, Finley sought out Kim Smith for the article, simply calling her an “intensive care nurse and mother of three.” In reality? Kim Smith is an environmental activist who had a letter to the editor of the Denver Post on fracking published online last year, and called for a moratorium on fracking in Arapahoe County as early as 2011.
In another March 2013 Denver Post story about exploration in the vicinity of Colorado Springs, Finley sought out the sage advice of Dave Gardner of the Colorado Springs Citizens for Community Rights. The story gives no background information on Dave Gardner or the Colorado Springs Citizens for Community Rights. The Colorado Springs Citizens for Community Rights is a single-issue advocacy group focused solely on eliminating fracking in Colorado Springs. This radical group issued a press release last year for an event titled “Bring Your Own Gas Mask.” Even a cursory investigation of this group would uncover that their website is FrackFreeSprings.org. Just days before Finley quoted Gardner in the Denver Post, the biased source for Finley’s article penned this opinion piece for the Colorado Springs Gazette. Gardner is even working on an anti-growth environmentalist documentary, yet Finley doesn’t even offer a hint that Gardner is an extremely biased source for Finley’s article.
In a January 2013 Denver Post article about setbacks from homes, Finley tracked down Thomas Thompson for multiple dramatic quotes in his article, who Finley simply identified simply as a “Rifle-area resident.” WRONG. Thomson is a hard-core activist who hosts “Fracking Ground Zero Tours” and blogs “Voices from the Gaspatch.” Thompson is even involved in a lawsuit against Encana, an obvious conflict that any unbiased journalist should have disclosed.
These are just a few instances. There are numerous other instances of this biased reporter using his position at the Denver Post to advance an anti-oil and gas agenda by portraying hard-core environmental activists as unbiased sources for his articles. These are just a few. In the coming days, we will expose more of these bizarre and allegedly unbiased sources. Stay tuned.