As the old saying goes, a photo can say a thousand things. But what it can't say is how it can be used to say one thing, but really be another thing. And that's just how The New York Times used it.
In the Oct. 9 issue of the Times, an article by Simon Romero and Clifford Krauss examined the events in a decade-and-a-half-long legal battle between a left-wing environmental group, supposedly representing the people of Ecuador, and Chevron over pollution allegedly left behind by Texaco.
However, the Times took liberty with a photo of "murky" polluted water with its Oct. 9 story, one that could lead a reader to Chevron is really at fault for pollution in Ecuador. (h/t Carter Wood, ShopFloor.org) The photograph, taken for the Times by Moises Saman (for photo see here), was captioned "a pool of oil in Lago Agrio, an Ecuadorean town in the Amazon where Texaco left contamination."
Imagine being sued in a third-world country with a leftist government and you're a major international corporation with deep pockets. Sounds like you might have a deck stacked against you, right?
Back in May, CBS's "60 Minutes" aired a one-sided segment that could be viewed as nothing short of serving as an accomplice in $27-billion extortion effort by a leftist Latin American government against Chevron (NYSE:CVX). The segment was about a lawsuit filed by the Amazon Defense Coalition (ADC), a group described as "eco-radicals," who are trying to squeeze $27 billion from Chevron for environmental cleanup that Ecuador's government signed off on more than a decade ago.
The ADC maintains it was working on behalf of 30,000 villagers, although there were only 48 named plaintiffs, to win funds for so-called environmental damage in Ecuador's rain forest from then-Texaco Petroleum's (Texpet) operation of oil well sites. A subsequent May 15 New York Times story followed, but neither CBS nor the Times gave much credence to the possibility of corruption in the Ecuadorian courts.
When $27 billion is at stake, some companies would pay big bucks to win a PR battle, but one side of an environmental lawsuit doesn't have to, since CBS is pushing its position for free.
On CBS's May 3 "60 Minutes," correspondent Scott Pelley, who once compared global-warming skepticism to Holocaust denial, gave the plaintiff of a $27-billion frivolous lawsuit against Chevron a public relations victory with his report.
Pelley's report featured a suit filed by the Amazon Defense Coalition, a group described as "eco-radicals," who are trying to squeeze $27 billion from Chevron for environmental cleanup that the nation's government signed off on more than a decade ago. Pelley described ADC as working on behalf of 30,000 villagers, although there are only 48 named plaintiffs, to win funds for so-called environmental damage in Ecuador's rain forest from then-Texaco Petroleum's (Texpet) operation of oil well sites.