Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NYT Reporter On NPR Uses His Sleazy Skills: NYT Still Has Not Reported Tests Disproving February 26th Story

The NYT Reporter called yesterday on the NPR Diane Rehm show the fact that test results released more than 6 weeks ago proving PA waters are not contaminated with radionuclides "good news."

 For NYT readers these old test results would be news indeed.   The NYT Reporter has not written a story about the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority monthly test results that are on the world wide web at its website or the May 16th Pennsylvania American Water Company test results of massive testing that it did.

To be clear the NYT Reporter knew about the tests but has not written an article about them and did not tell the NPR listeners (see below for one more example how manipulative this reporter is) about them until I managed to confront him on the show with the test results.

These test results and others prove how sensational and false the NYT Reporter's February 26th story was that claimed PA residents were at risk of ingesting radiation poisoned waters.  They are not fit to print in the NYT.

The last New York Times story on radiation and PA waters was April 7th with a headline of "Pennsylvania Calls For More Testing." It is another story designed to fan fears. See

Prior to that the NYT wrote on March 7th a story about Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in stream test results showing no contamination.  The story went to some lengths to argue those test results of 7 streams were not definitive. 

Here is what happened on the show.  The format and the tight control by the host prevented any direct engagement with what guests said but Ms. Rehm asked the NYT Reporter about the (deliberately false) NYT February 26th article and its findings.

In response the NYT reporter said simply that the article found that pa's waters could be contaminated with radionuclides due to supposedly inadequate oversight of drilling waste.  Nothing more.  He just repeated the false narrative about pa waters and radiation.

Probably about 5 minutes or more later I was asked another question and did not answer it but used the opportunity to inform those listening that massive testing had now been done by the drinking water companies involved and found no contamination.

Ms. Rehm immediately said "Ian Urbina" and the NYT reporter then said yes the results were "Good News".  How amazingly ironic and yet another example of what a skilled manipulator of information this NYT reporter is. 

He is effective and readers are just putty in his unrestrained hands.


  1. Your posts about tests at the water supplies are compelling, but I don't think the NYT is going to find any tests compelling until either:

    1) Waste water is itself tested.

    2) Streams are tested downstream from a wastewater plant after a discharge.

    The PADEP tests following the story failed on both counts. In fact, Krancer's spokeswoman falsely stated in the Inquirer that natural gas wastewater is slowly discharged. This isn't true. Dr. Dan Volz's research at Pitt documents it, but it also just doesn't pass the commonsense test.

    You'll get me to go along with you if someone does either of the above, until then: I think radiation is still a story.

    Radiation is not, in my opinion, as big a story as arsenic, ethylene glycol, benzene, Sublette, Wyoming, the inevitable decay of well bore cement or the simple matter of spills and "dust control" in drilling country, but radiation is still a story.

  2. Concerned ScientistJune 29, 2011 at 4:39 PM


    1) Waste water is itself tested.

    This happens all the time every day. This is how they know how to treat the water.

    2) Streams are tested downstream from a wastewater plant after a discharge.

    All of those tests were downstream of plants that were discharging treated waste water. That is the whole point. That is why the NYT should write a follow up story saying that radioactivity does not appear to be a problem. The tests proved that this was a non-issue. There are no elevated levels of radionuclides downstream of where treatment plants release the treated water.

  3. Mr. Russell,

    What waste water heading for discharge is there to test? As of May 19th there was no more waste water being discharged into Pennsylvania waterways, making your above stated concerns moot. The tests clearly and definitively show that no Pennsylvania residents were exposed to any sort of elevated radiation levels. As one that works closely with smaller producers, I can tell you that this is a very hefty burden that they have voluntarily committed to. It sure would be nice once in a while to have the positive steps we are taking to lessen our impact commended, instead of continuing to be thrown under the bus even in the face of overwhelming scientific consensus, Conrad's witchhunt not withstanding.

    Mike Knapp
    Knapp Acquisitions & Production
    Kittanning, PA

  4. Mr. Hanger,

    FWIW, I listened to the whole D.R. show. I became nearly annoyed that D.R. seemed to be giving you a whole lot less time than the other guests.

    And I have shared this opinion with some of my friends who seemed to think that Ingraffea was great and you were not a very good participant.

    I was particularly looking forward to a discussion between you and Ingraffea, that seemed to be aborted, about the greenhouse gas risk of natural gas.

    Howarth, Santoro, Ingraffea wrote an article that tentatively concluded that coal and natural gas were about even when it comes to GHG and PADEP wrote a rejoinder. I also saw a NETL critique of Howarth et al.

    This is an incredibly important issue and I look forward to more good science on it.

    Stanley R. Scobie, Ph.D., Binghamton, NY

  5. I today got a call from the producer of the show apologizing for the phone going dead and for how the show went. I will leave it at that. I do know that a number of people have told me that they were unhappy with my limited opportunity to talk and Ms. Rehm's tendency to interrupt me in my few opportunities. Ms. Rehm clearly wanted to hear mainly from Urbina and the Cornell Prof. Most people want to hear from people who confirm their opinions and biases. Few have real tolerance for competing view points. To the show's credit, the producer asked that I return to the show and I said that I would be glad to do so.

    I would have loved a chance to reply to the Cornell prof's statements about carbon and coal versus gas on the show. I tried but failed to get a chance to do so. The Horwath study is widely seen as very poor work. A couple major studies on the same question are going to be published soon. They will agree with the NETL analysis in large part and refute Horwath.

  6. Good news, just not good enough for the NYT