Media stunner: New York Times partners with Shell Oil to peddle elite access

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"Media stunner: New York Times partners with Shell Oil to peddle elite access"

UPDATE: NY Times replies to this post

NOTE:  The NY Times has responded to this post (see below).  I have updated two phrases for clarity and posted their response and my reply at the end. Now if I could only get them to post my critiques of their climate coverage!

Robert BrulleThe NY Times is, at best, oblivious to a blatant conflict of interest. How can we rely on the objectivity of this paper when they are co-sponsoring private conversations among an invited elite in league with the oil industry?

NYT Shell 2

What is the New York Times thinking?  The one-time paper of record has partnered with a major oil company to sponsor a private, elite conversation whereby Shell gets to leverage the credibility of the New York Times brand to attract an elite audience to peddle its greenwashing.

You can find that screenshot and full details at www.2011energysummit.com.  Don’t you just love the wind turbines on a grassy field!  How green Shell is!  My favorite part of the website is the constant loop of favicons (website icons) for Shell and NYT, as if they were almost interchangeable.

At the top is the comment given to me by Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, whom the NYT itself quoted in 2009 as “an expert on environmental communications.”  You would think the NYT would be working doubly hard to protect its reputation after Newsweek got slammed for partnering with Big Oil (see Newsweek partners with oil lobby to raise ad cash, host energy and climate events with lawmakers “” while publishing the uber-greenwashing story, “Big Oil Goes Green for Real”).

It is obvious what Shell is getting — they can hob-nob with a former NY Times columnist (Frank Rich) and other members of the elite drawn in my the NYT co-sponsorship to push their entire green-washing message for two days.  Check out the Agenda, which includes 75 minutes for “Eco-Marathon VIP Tour” (a contest Shell sponsor’s for super-efficient vehicles) and an hour for “Closing Session: Shell’s Commitment”.  Its commitment to destroy a livable climate, perhaps?

What a messaging boon this is to the once-green, now-greenwashing oil company (see Shell shocker: Once ‘green’ oil company guts renewables effort and Investors warn Shell and BP over tar sands greenwashing).

You can’t buy this kind of press.  Oh, wait.  You can!

But what is the Times getting?  This screenshot emailed me by a surprised invitee provides a clue:

NYT Shell 3

So the Times is peddling to the elite audience some hyped up new media capability it has created that combines its content into some sort of interactive guide and magazine for conferences.  Woo-hoo!

If I may paraphrase Sir Thomas More in the masterful A Man for All Seasons:

It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the world.  But for the iPad?

The NYT apparently thinks that the way to preserve its declining fortunes in the new media landscape is by selling off its remaining credibility.

As Brulle asks, “How can we rely on the objectivity of this paper when they are co-sponsoring private conversations among an invited elite in league with the oil industry?”

Their coverage of fossil-fuel-combustion-caused global warming has been quite poor at times (see here and here and the 2009 “Citizen Kane” award for non-excellence in climate journalism goes to “¦).  Now are we going to have to wonder in the future if their reporters’ coverage is influenced by spending so much time cozying up to oil companies executives, getting the industry “perspective ” — see, for instance, Science Times stunner: “”¦ a majority of the section’s editorial staff doubts that human-induced global warming represents a serious threat to humanity”)?

The paper’s coverage of the oil industry has also been questionable (see NYT suckered by ExxonMobil in puff piece titled “Green is for Sissies”).

And they have previously been criticized for running ExxonMobil’s false, greenwashing ad on their front page:

The Gray Lady drinks Texas tea.  She should be gagging at the prospect.

UPDATE:  Eileen M. Murphy Vice President, Corporate Communications at the NYT Company complains that this “blog posting portrays a very inaccurate picture of The Times role in this event”:

First, Frank Rich has left the New York Times; his invitation to attend as a speaker took place after his departure.  The New York Times is a Media Sponsor of the event.  We are not paying for any part of it, nor do we have any newsroom or Opinion involvement.  We are not promoting the event in the newspaper or online.  We are not providing any content and we are not sending anyone from our newsroom or opinion staff.

She asks that I “correct the record.”

As far as I can tell — and there would have been no possible way for anybody getting this invitation to know this — the ONLY error in the post is the phrase “hob-nob with NY Times reporters.”  It should read “hob-nob with a former NYT columnist (Frank Rich).”  I removed one other phrase that wasn’t wrong just because I didn’t want to leave any misimpression — a misimpression that the NYT’s own co-sponsored website still leaves.  Indeed, Shell or whoever put together the website ( which presumably includes the NY Times) have obviously tried to create the impression that there would be New York Times honchos there — why else have Frank Rich, who is not actually an expert on energy?

Actually, it looks like the event is the worst of both possible worlds.  The New York Times editorial/reporting side takes a credibility hit, and the marketing department is leaving the apparently false impression that the NYT staff is involved and that people might be hobnobbing with them.  Note that the website still says that the conference’s “interactive conversation” will be built around, “content from the New York Times.”  So for attendees, I think it is best classified as a bait and switch.

Again, anyone who thinks that the the NYT isn’t linking the credibility of its brand to Shell’s should click on this.

How I wish the NY Times would “correct the record” on its countless misinformed articles on energy and climate — starting with the ExxonMobil greenwashing discussed above and including:

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40 Responses to Media stunner: New York Times partners with Shell Oil to peddle elite access

  1. cervantes says:

    What a Coinkydink! I just got an e-mail touting the The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Annual Conference and Awards Dinner featuring George Soros and Bill Gates, among others, and sponsored by (drumroll please) — Shell Oil! They’re doing so much good for Africa, after all. Web site here.

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    The Times is cutting its own throat here, and taking its frayed credibility down to another level. Notice that Paul Krugman, their one good voice on energy issues, isn’t going to be there.

    It’s time for a new media company, with a different business model and editorial philosophy. This company needs to start from scratch, and find people who have not forgotten that their mission is to enlighten the people.

    The Times already lost its soul from the Exxon Mobil relationship, just as Huffpost is now in the clammy embrace of AOL. Bad things happen when reporters and editors get mixed up with those kind of people.

    The new company would find plenty of ad revenue from companies like Apple, Patagonia, and Brightsource Energy.

  3. The paywall for subscription version of the Times seems to be easily breached. Poor NYTimes, they are making bad decisions all around.

    The rule these days is “evolve or die out”

  4. BlueRock says:

    > My favorite part of the website is the constant loop of favicons…

    I LOLed. NYT / Shell / NYT / Shell / ….

    The dinosaurs just don’t get it. We’ve had enough of the pro-pollution propaganda.

    NYT: build your paywall and wait for customers who won’t arrive; climb in to bed with the polluters and take their money. It’ll buy you a short reprieve from the inevitable.

    Good riddance.

  5. izmir escort says:

    The paywall for subscription version of the Times seems to be easily breached. Poor NYTimes, they are making bad decisions all around.

  6. BlueRock says:

    Off-topic: Joe, if you’ve not see it yet – Monbiot jumps the shark in spectacular style.

  7. Mond from Oz says:

    Abramoff,Scanlon,DeLay.. What a coup! Don’t tell me the boys are back in business!

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    NYT advertises Nuclear Plants

    Nuclear Industry in Russia Sells Safety, Taught by Chernobyl http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/business/energy-environment/23chernobyl.html

    There are several reactors inside europe which operate since almost 40 years and those are like chernobyl without container compound.
    CNN stopped live broadcast of the english NHK stream, today atm the english ustream from NHK got suspended too. All this while radiation increases in the tokyo region. People try to ignore the impacts of nuclear energy disasters, if you like to learn japanese http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nhk-gtv

  9. paulm says:

    Its a business for goodness sake.

    Its all about making money, no?

  10. jcwinnie says:

    Re: Rhetorical question

    dunno, ask SciAm Online

  11. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Really! The Rightwing MSM hob-nobbing with Rightwing Big Business and Rightwing politicians to push the Rightwing agenda of ‘business-as-usual’ ie endless (so they dream!) economic growth, the vast bulk of the wealth produced by which,ie, these days >90%, these very same elites will appropriate for themselves. A real ‘dog bites man’ story. The NYT has always been an elite propaganda rag, slightly more up itself than the Murdoch product, but ideologically the same. Whenever I get an attack of optimism I return to reality by remembering that this planet is totally controlled and ruled by greedy, egomaniacal, fanatics who despise the rest of humanity. That calms me down.

  12. Mike says:

    Why are they publicly advertising an event the public cannot attend?

    I think people should e-mail Rich, Richardson and other identified speakers and ask that they not attend. Newspapers are supposed to report the news, not create it.

  13. llewelly says:

    “Oblivious”? More like desperate. NYT has destroyed its reputation for accuracy and reliability. They’ve tried to replace it with a reputation of playing the reasonable middle view – like Roger Pielke, Jr. That hasn’t worked. With no reputation, they have no source of funds but fossil fuel boot lickers. A history of dishonesty has left them with little choice but for further dishonesty. How long will it be before the fossil fuel industry is done using them, and casts them aside to wither and die? I don’t know, but I won’t shed any tears when it is over.

  14. Mike says:

    Scratch my first question. I misunderstood the lead paragraph to imply the event was by invitation only. Apparently anyone can attend. The registration form did not mention the price which seemed odd.

    [JR: It certainly looks like it is invitation only.]

  15. Mike says:

    I did not try filling out the registration form. There must be a charge or a catch.

  16. Bill Waterhouse says:

    I agree the Shell/NYT partnership sucks. But looking forward to hearing what Frank Rich, who is leaving NYT, says at the conference since I almost always agree with him and doubt he will pull his punches.

  17. Jeff Huggins says:

    Five Things (All Important)

    First, if The New York Times is still in the news, reporting, and transparency business, for the public good, then the first thing it should happily do at this point is to tell us who the invitees to this thing are. That will be the first test as to whether there is a conflict of interest (which there certainly is, here). We should all ask The Times to make public the list of invitees, which it should certainly know or have access to, being the co-sponsor.

    Second, given this event, The Times must certainly have access to key Shell leaders, so The Times should also be able to tell us, clearly, in no uncertain or ambiguous terms, what the top-most leaders of Shell say about the reality of global warming and the fact that it is caused by human activity, including the use of hydrocarbon fuels. If The Times is willing to co-sponsor events with Shell, The Times must certainly have an ability to ask Shell execs, and press them, to provide clear statements about Shell’s view about climate change. So, what do the Shell folks say, New York Times? If the Shell folks aren’t willing to answer your questions clearly, in order that you can (in turn) provide some clarity to the public about Shell’s views, then you probably shouldn’t be cosponsoring events with them, right?

    Third, just for the record, let’s not forget that Bill Keller (of The Times) is from a oil family himself. His father, George Keller, was Chairman of Chevron for many years back in the 1980s.

    Fourth, of course The New York Times has, for a long time, covered ExxonMobil (if you can call it coverage) with gentle kid-gloves, while ExxonMobil has been one of the largest advertisers in The Times.

    Fifth, anyone attending this conference, including the folks from The New York Times, should certainly read (carefully) the book, ‘Challenged By Carbon: The Oil Industry and Climate Change’, by Bryan Lovell, former geologist for BP and now President of The Geological Society of London. The book was called “An authoritative insider’s view” by Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, former Chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell. It contains great, and vital, historical context. Anyone seeking or pretending to cover the oil industry in relation to climate change should read this book.

    So again, I’d like to see who has been invited to this conference. The Times should know. If they are still in the business of news, reporting, transparency, and serving the public good, they should be happy to tell us, promptly and without hesitation. How do we find out? Who do we ask? Joe, will you/CP ask?

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  18. Mike Roddy says:

    Jeff, maybe Shell is doing this as PR to make up for halting their already puny investments in renewable energy:

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article5927869.ece

    It seems that they are now mostly interested in biofuels, since they can
    put it in people’s gas tanks.

  19. VL Brandt says:

    It’s even worse than you think. Just this morning I received an email from NYTimes.com with the subject line: Enjoy unlimited access to NYTimes.com, courtesy of Lincoln. Yup, Lincoln, as in those big old gas-guzzling cars pimps drove in 70’s cop shows.

    Here’s the text of the email:

    *******
    Dear NYTimes.com reader,

    As a frequent reader of NYTimes.com, you’ve demonstrated an uncommon interest in a wide variety of today’s most important topics. This makes you anything but average. In fact, it can’t help but make you “smarter” — just the kind of person we at Lincoln want to engage.

    Though NYTimes.com will soon begin charging for unlimited access*, Lincoln is offering you a free digital subscription for the remainder of 2011. Enjoy all that NYTimes.com has to offer every day — investigative news and special reports, videos, blogs and more. It’s all yours at no charge, compliments of Lincoln.

    Take advantage of this limited-time offer** to receive free, unlimited access to NYTimes.com.

    **********

    Big Oil, the auto industry… what’s next? Free subscriptions sponsored by Viagra?

  20. ağva says:

    Poor NYTimes, they are making bad decisions all around.

  21. tom says:

    Cheney had an energy summit, too.
    I emailed the Times and asked them how I could get a copy of the transcript or view the video.

  22. Richard Brenne says:

    The energy from all the green smoke blown up the *sses of the participants could power Houston until it’s underwater.

    Also the suction from the Gray Lady going down could do the same for New York.

  23. Ed Hummel says:

    Bluerock #6: I just finished reading Monbiot’s article on Fukushima and nuclear power, and I don’t think he’s jumped the shark any more than Jim Hansen or James Lovelock have in their advocacy of nuclear energy, if done right. Unlike the main topic of this thread which concerns the unholy alliance of the New York Times and Shell oil in producing something that will most likely be a big greenwashing excercise, Monbiot as well as Hansen and Lovelock have all just pointed out the realities of the human situation as it exists today and as it will most likely be over the next few years and decades. Ideally, if humans had never evolved a sophisticated technological culture and kept our total numbers down to levels that could be supported by local environments as is the case with all other species, we wouldn’t have to have discussions about the pros and cons of each type of energy generating scheme.

    As Monbiot so forcefully pointed out with many examples from the British experience, every energy producing scheme comes with its own set of environmental costs. The conundrum we face is figuring out which ones we can live with to satisfy the demands of our present civilization while not destroying ourselves and everything else in the world in the process. But such a conundrum also begs our assumptions on what it means to be human on this planet. Could it actually be true that our present technological civilization and its gross overpopulation is impossibly unsustainable, and only a drastic reduction in population, and a complete rethinking of what it means to be human while making a living on this planet need to be undertaken. I wouldn’t be the first to bring up these questions and their seemingly obvious solutions, but I really am convinced that nothing else is relevant anymore.

    The whole question of energy generation and use by humans has become a luxury item as far as I can tell since we’ve long since reached a point where, no matter what we do, our wants and needs have far outstripped Earth’s ability to accomodate us and our desires, no matter which energy sources we employ, even renewables. This whole issue of the paths we must take to forstall climate disaster, or at least to ameliorate it as much as is possible given the time lags already built in, only become relevent if we also agree to reduce our total impact on the environment to levels which the current environmental state can deal with. This has to mean negative population growth and a drastic reduction in our overall energy use, even if it means reverting to muscle power as a major part of the mix. I’m definitely not recommending that we go back to the 17th century; we have learned quite a bit about the universe in the intervening 400 years, after all. However, there is really no reason why humanity can’t be happy and fulfilled while using just a fraction of the energy we use today. As long as we have adequate food, clothing and shelter as well as a rich community and intellectual life, we really don’t need all these gadgets which just end up in junk piles when we tire of them.

    Again, I’m not the first to bring up these points, but I am convinced that their consideration needs to be part of the discussion and that any rational being will quickly realize that their rapid implementation leaves all other topics, such as unholy alliances between coporations and whether or not nuclear power should be part of the energy mix, considerably further down on the totem pole of relevant discussions, at least until the issues of overpopulation and the extreme use of energy are settled in a rational manner before nature takes them out of our hands for good.

  24. Prokaryotes says:

    “Ideally, if humans had never evolved a sophisticated technological culture and kept our total numbers …”

    Total numbers are irrelevant, what counts is Co2e – equivalent emissions. Thus emitted from a small fraction of the species. Life is about growth and humans need to advance because of many reasons. It comes down to use resources much more carefully, i.e. recycled paper instead of plastic, recycle of gadget materials etc.

  25. Prokaryotes says:

    Japan’s Quake Damage May Swell to $309 Billion, Four Katrinas http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-23/japan-sees-quake-damage-bill-of-up-to-309-billion-almost-four-katrinas.html

    Money which could construct enough wind and solar to provide enough energy to power the USA.

  26. Dan MB says:

    Ed Hummel @23;

    Mark Hertsgaard has an excellent book that addresses your question and Prokaryotes response @24.

    In a nutshell: If we were to consider the simplest options for reducing dangerous Carbon pollution we would likely come to the conclusion that eliminating the wealthiest humans would be the most efficacious solution to the problem.

    Let me rephrase this, Most of the global warming / climate destabilizing pollution comes from people who have benefited mightily by the emission of the pollution.

    Let’s try another tack: If you want to cull the population to the benefit of most humans on the planet you’d take out the wealthiest and work your way down.

    Rationally speaking this would be superb. Politically, economically, ethically – Not So Good.

    Let me repeat, NOT GOOD. Not So Good, Not Good in any measure – reasonable or ethical Population reduction, as currently discussed, means lots of poor people dying. When it means lots of major polluters dying it would make sense, rationally speaking.

    Mark Herstgaard has writen a seminal book on global warming, climate change, and the vast array of issues, ethical, economical, and personal, that we must address.

    And he’s outlined a future that we’ll either miss or achieve.

    We’ll either be clean a green 21st Century or a dirty 19th Century fossil fuel end game.

    Population may be an issue, but… How much GDP does it take for a community to be happy?

    Is it numbers or abuse of access to resources because of privilege?

  27. Stephen watson says:

    :-)

    MEDIA STUNNER – Large media corporations found to be very chummy with other large corporations!

    The print media especially, and commercial TV, exist to deliver advertisers to consumers. That is just what the NYT is doing here, only perhaps a little more blatantly than usual. Nothing to see here, move along …

  28. Joan Savage says:

    Why not go to the conference and add your distinct perspective?
    If not, let some ordinary independent journalists have have a go at it.

    Shell is part of the United States Climate Action Partnership which is a startling mix, ranging from The Nature Conservancy and NRDC to Rio Tinto and Shell. I’d like to see who among them attends the conference.

    The conference application looks like attenders pay their own transportation and lodging, but otherwise the schedule and venue are published.

  29. Ed Hummel says:

    To Dan #27, I just assumed that it would be obvious that the top users should be the first to go, since the millions of very poor in the world have minimal impact on their local environments as well as the general global environment than do any other human societies. However, even dirt poor people have a much greater impact on their environments than is sustainable if their numbers get too high. I wouldn’t call the favelas of Brazil rich, but I wouldn’t call them environmentally sustainable, either. The big elephant in the room that most humans refuse to talk about is our misplaced notion that just because we are supposedly sentient beings we have a right to be fruitful and multiply beyond the sustainable carrying capacity of local, regional, and now global environments. I guess that’s what makes me the most pessimistic, since as prokaryotes said at #24, there is a general feelings that humans must continually “advance” for various reasons that he doesn’t mention, but which I imagine have something to do with our “advanced intelligence”. I think one of the indicators of an advanced intelligence is knowing enough to curtail our activities when then come up against natural limits imposed by physics, chemitry, biology, and the realities of this particular planet we call Earth. But since as a species we don’t seem to have this kind of intelligence, I doubt very much that anything meaningful will be done about global warming, or any other problem, until Gaia finally solves our problems for us in her own way. And as Joe always likes to say, that would be very painful indeed.

  30. Fred Teal, Jr says:

    Ed # 30 & 23

    If you consider the consequences of the issues you raise, the almost certain conclusion is that we must give up most of the economic growth aspects of “The American Way of Life”. I don’t think we will do this until we have a “King Midas” moment. I don’t know when our larger society will realize we are killing our future generations just as certainly as Midas was but I am afraid it will take something drastic to cause us to forego the “golden touch.”

  31. Ed Hummel says:

    Fred #31, you got that exactly right!

  32. KarenS says:

    The American Way of Life is now little more than economic feudalism. Them what gots gets, and tough luck for everyone else. The American Dream, carjacked by the Citizens United Supremes decision, is little more than a vague dream. Anyway, 6 billion people could never have all lived in 3000 square-foot, two-car-garage homes on one-acre lots zoned residential. We are in the fossil fuel end game. End games are characterized by shortages. The worst shortages are in imagination and political will, due to an overabundance of greed and fear. The high cost of low trust is corroding everything it touches. Though I’m disappointed in some who are supposed to act as neutral arbiters serving the public, it’s no surprise that anyone with power is finding strange alliances and strange bedfellows.

  33. Prokaryotes says:

    New York Times Co. has been working to fix about 200 glitches in the technology for charging online readers of its namesake newspaper, just weeks before the project is scheduled to debut, said a person familiar with the matter.

    The company has already repaired more than 500 of the 700 glitches uncovered during tests of the paywall system, said the person, who couldn’t be identified because the testing isn’t public. Among the issues still being addressed are how the system will determine who is required to pay and the point at which various visitors hit the paywall.

    Times Co.’s effort to turn online readers into paying subscribers is being watched by other newspaper companies struggling with a decline in traditional print advertising. The New York-based company is spending $40 million to $50 million on the project and has said it plans to debut it by March. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-28/new-york-times-fixes-paywall-glitches-to-balance-free-vs-paid-on-the-web.html

  34. Prokaryotes says:

    Am I Violating The DMCA By Visiting The NYTimes With NoScript Enabled?

    As we continue to explore the NY Times’ bizarrely pointless paywall, it comes as no surprise that the wall itself is barely any wall at all. It’s not even a fence. It’s basically a bunch of fence posts, and someone screaming: “Pay no attention to your own eyes. There is a fence here, and you should go round the front and pay at the entrance… unless someone sent you here. Then walk on through.” That, of course, is bizarre, and it means that most people will never actually see any fence at all. But it gets even more bizarre when you discover that the “paywall” itself has apparently been written in javascript, meaning that when you do hit the wall, the full article you want to read actually loads in the HTML, it’s just then blocked by some script asking you to pay up. That means it’s even easier to remove than many had predicted (no need to even delete cookies or any such nonsense). In fact, that link above points people to NYTClean, a four-line javascript bookmarklet, that makes it easy to remove the paywall with (literally) the click of a button, should you actually encounter it.
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110322/03485913583/am-i-violating-dmca-visiting-nytimes-with-noscript-enabled.shtml

  35. In Hell's Kitchen (NYC) says:

    The NYTimes ? isn’t that the “paper of record” that Cheney used to quote
    from (“Don’t blindly believe me when I tell you Saddam has WMD, even the
    NYTimes says Saddam has WMD”) a few days to a week after NYTimes journalists
    (re)printed the talking points Cheney’s people had fed them ?

    LOL…the NYTimes is partly responsible for the Iraq debacle and now they
    have the temerity to demand corrections of the record ? ROTFL !

  36. Joan Savage says:

    For the record…sort of. (I love to browse old newspapers, so here’s a tidbit.)

    “Paper of record” minimally includes the Legal Notices. Governors can designate a “paper of record” to publish public notices, speeches of elected officials, new laws, and voting records, as an alternative to a separate government publication. In the late 19th century particularly, a governor could say what he darn well pleased, and it would all have to be transcribed and published, regardless of any facts to the contrary of the governor’s opinion (Some things just don’t change.).

    In cities with several competing newspapers, it was advantageous as well as prestigious to be selected by the government to serve as the paper of record for the government, as it guaranteed that readers would turn to it as a source document.

    It’s nonsense to call the NY Times a paper of record in this context, as we have other access to government sources.

    I’m still hoping a bunch of independent journalists cover the peculiar event in Houston. Many eyes and ears help make good reporting.

  37. Jeff Huggins says:

    Regarding The NY Times’ Response and Update:

    This still leaves some concerns and questions:

    First of all, their response is that no personnel from the newsroom or opinion areas will be attending the event. What about senior execs, senior editors, marketing and advertising staff, and so forth? If The NY Times wants to be transparent and clean, it should identify all NY Times employees attending the event, if any.

    Secondly, if The NY Times actually wants to spend as much time covering the news as creating it or profiting from it, it should, at this point, let its readers know who has been invited to the event and who will be attending. After all, climate change and energy are both immensely important issues, and (one way or another) The NY Times would seem to have some sort of relationship with, and access to, this particular event, of which the public should be interested to hear. I can’t reconcile The NY Times’ official involvement, in ANY capacity, in such an event if they (The NY Times) aren’t at least willing to cover the event AS news, including telling who is (or will be) there, what Shell said, and so forth. After all, this is not a mere baseball game or film opening: it is, apparently, an invitation-only event, offered by (depending on the year) the largest or second largest oil company on the planet, having to do with energy, energy technologies, climate change, and so forth. So, NY Times, give us the story, full and clear, please. Is that not your job?

    Thanks, Joe, for covering this.

    Jeff

  38. llewelly says:

    First, Frank Rich has left the New York Times; his invitation to attend as a speaker took place after his departure. The New York Times is a Media Sponsor of the event. We are not paying for any part of it, nor do we have any newsroom or Opinion involvement. We are not promoting the event in the newspaper or online. We are not providing any content and we are not sending anyone from our newsroom or opinion staff.

    But will NYT marketing people be at the conference?
    Will NYT management be at the conference?
    What they’ve really said is that people who might write about the conference won’t be there, officially.

  39. Marion Delgado says:

    Monbiot’s nuclear column is an honest opinion, imo. Without the egregious bullshit in his first column on Phil Jones. I may not agree with his opinion, but it’s out there for people to evaluate – unlike his initial response to the CRU hacks, it’s not fishy – it’s not dishonest and it’s not half as stupid.