Obama, Coal and Journalism

From the Kansas City Star, Yael Abouhalkah reports:

Hopping on comments promoted by conservative blogs, Palin said the media are trying to hide Barack Obama‘s comments that his pollution proposal could bankrupt coal plants.

The audio of the interview with the San Francisco Chronicle is here.

The germane part of the interview:

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

Said Palin on Sunday:

“Why is the audio tape just now surfacing? This interview was given to San Francisco folks many, many months ago. You should have known about this, so that you would have better decision-making information as you go into the voting booth.”

John Diaz, The Chronicle‘s editorial page editors, blasted back:

“How can anyone suggest that we hid an interview that we did, immediately put up on the Web – and advertised to our readers?” he said. “We promoted it like hell … and I’m sure the Clinton campaign and the McCain campaign scrubbed it. You can still find the whole 48 minutes and 33 seconds online.”

However, a visit to the San Francisco newspaper’s Web site shows two things.

— First, the paper’s information about the audio recording does not mention Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal, the controversial part that’s now getting attention.

Instead, the newspaper chose to highlight three other issues discussed by Obama, and to post the entire interview (again, without mentioning the cap-and-trade plan).

— Second, the news story produced by the newspaper the day after the interview does not contain any mention of Obama’s plan for coal-fired power plants.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov 03, 2008 /PRNewswire–USNewswire via COMTEX/ — Mike Carey, president of the Ohio Coal Association (OCA), today issued the following statement in response to just-released remarks from Senator Barack Obama about the nation’s coal industry.

“Regardless of the timing or method of the release of these remarks, the message from the Democratic candidate for President could not be clearer: the Obama-Biden ticket spells disaster for America’s coal industry and the tens of thousands of Americans who work in it.

“These undisputed, audio-taped remarks, which include comments from Senator Obama like ‘I haven’t been some coal booster’ and ‘if they want to build [coal plants], they can, but it will bankrupt them’ are extraordinarily misguided.

“It’s evident that this campaign has been pandering in states like Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania to attempt to generate votes from coal supporters, while keeping his true agenda hidden from the state’s voters.

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