Saturday, June 11, 2011

Joe Nocera Having More Trouble With His Facts

New NYT op-ed columnist Joe Nocera is off to a rocky start. In April, in his second column about hydraulic fracturing, a process used to mine natural gas, he wrote:
The truth is, every problem associated with drilling for natural gas is solvable. The technology exists to prevent most methane from escaping, for instance. Strong state regulation will help ensure environmentally safe wells.
This was industry talking points regurgitated, not careful examination of state regulators in Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania. Or if he did any examination of the state regulation of hydrofracking there, he completely misunderstood the situation (see ProPublica's "State Oil and Gas Regulators Are Spread Too Thin to Do Their Jobs" -- and also "Many PA Gas Wells Go Unreported for Months" and "Leaked Memo Depicts Bare-Bones Regulatory Environment for NY Gas Drilling.")

In today's column, Nocera has a new problem. The piece calls for Obama to appoint Elizabeth Warren, even if the GOP will block her, because it will be good politics. Great, I agree -- except thing is people were writing this weeks ago (months ago, in fact). And then there was this:
The last time Warren appeared before the committee, on May 24, she was mauled by the Republicans in a brutal hearing during which a North Carolina freshman named Patrick McHenry twice accused her of lying, while conducting a Perry Mason-style interrogation (“Yes or no, Ms. Warren”) that was at once ludicrous and shameful.
McHenry does look young; the first time I saw him I was surprised he was the necessary 25 years to be in the House. But in fact he is not a freshman; he's been in the House since 2005. (For more fun, read up on Patrick McHenry from Alex Pareene'e article. Pardon the blatant SEO work.)

NYT columnists aren't supposed to make such blatant errors.

Update: the Times corrected the error on June 13.


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