Earlier in the month, we reported on several stories (here and here) by Denver Post environmental reporter Bruce Finley that sought out anti-drilling activist sources for his articles, without disclosing the deep-rooted political activism, leaving readers to believe that they are just average people. Well, it turns out that this practice goes back to at least 2012 as well.
On April 20, 2012, Finley wrote an article about drilling in Erie, CO, and quoted “a group of mothers, organized as Erie Rising” who “asked state health officials to look into their concerns about potential harm to children.” Erie Rising may be a group of suburban moms, but they are sponsors of Frack Free Colorado, they have written an aggressive anti-exploration letter to the Boulder Daily Camera, as well as submitted a petition to ban fracking in Erie containing 21,000 internet-gathered “signatures.” Only problem was that just 100 of those signatures were from residents of Erie. It should be noted though, that the writer of this Denver Post opinion piece was able to correctly identify Erie Rising as “a small group of environmental activists,” an important detail that Finley chose to omit. Perhaps because it did not fit his agenda.
It is also worth pointing out that Erie mayor Joe Wilson recently called out the Denver Post for naming this radical group to their list of “Top Thinkers.” The mayor’s story in the Post’s Idea Log paints a very troubling picture of this “group of mothers” that Finley sought out for his story.
Let’s take a look at another source that Finley used for an article published on April 1, 2012: the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. Finley implied that this organization was a “farming advocacy group,” with no mention whatsoever to their obvious left wing agenda. The first sentence of RMFU’s “about us” page describes the group as “a progressive grassroots organization.”
In a February 12, 2012 story, Finley sought out Kristi Douglas as a source. Finley’s article simply described her as one of several “residents” asking elected officials to limit planned oil and gas exploration in Commerce City. Finley does not disclose that Douglas is actually an experienced anti-fracking activist, who testified in front of the Colorado State Senate, and has been an outspoken critic of exploration efforts.
As with the Erie Rising example, Douglas has been correctly identified as an anti-oil and gas activist in the Denver Post. Monte Whaley identified Douglas as a “critic,” and Yesenia Robles correctly represented her as a “fracking opponent.” But, why not Finley?
This long track record of this calls into question any environmental story published by the Denver Post, as editors have permitted Finley to continue this practice for a long time.