Ok, I made that up. But having the President of the American Petroleum Institute serve as the guest panelist for a forum on Capitol Hill called "Climate and Energy Policy: Moving?" isn’t much more logical than inviting the Republican political strategist and former Bush senior adviser to advise about the future of the Democratic Party. Unless, of course, the organizer of the event is the American Petroleum Institute. But it isn’t. It’s Newsweek Magazine.
The editors of Newsweek cordially invite you to attend Newsweek’s Executive Forum entitled, Climate and Energy Policy: Moving? This Capitol Hill policy forum is scheduled on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 4:30 P.M. in the Mansfield Room (S-207) in the United States Capitol. There will be an informal reception immediately following the discussion. The panel discussion will be moderated Howard Fineman, Newsweek National-Affairs Columnist and Senior Washington Correspondent with special guest panelist Jack Gerard, President & Chief Executive Officer of American Petroleum Institute (API). Newsweek is also honored to have forum invitations currently pending confirmation with notable members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. These additional program announcements will be made in the coming days and you will be apprised of these updates. Newsweek is pleased to be co-hosting this panel discussion with API.
After getting heat from both environmental groups and journalism ethics scholars, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman defended the magazine’s decision to co-host the event.
Rep. Ed Markey, the chief sponsor of the House cap-and-trade bill and a leading environmental advocate, is a full participant in the open, on-the-record discussion with no control by API over the questions or flow. Dem Sen Byron Dorgan is also participating and will reflect various views in Dem caucus. Rep Fred Upton, who opposed the House bill, will also participate. I see nothing wrong with an open, on-the-record balanced discussion like this. Newsweek has a long tradition of enviro reporting, including our annual green issue.
Hate to tell you Howard, but that’s a complete red herring. How is API’s participation balanced by the presence of some Democratic Senators and Congressmen? Markey and Dorgan make policy. The American Petroleum Institute is trying to influence that policy. If Newsweek truly cared about maintaining its journalistic integrity, maybe you should have thought about having someone else with a different perspective on what energy and climate policy should be share the stage. You could have probably thrown a rock from the steps of the Capitol Building and hit a policy expert who would be happy to go toe to toe with Jack Gerard.
photo by Gillian Laub