Bob Ostertag has a short but lancing piece in the Huff Post today about how the New York Times got astroturfed by an organization calling itself the “Gulf of Mexico Foundation”. The NYT describes them as a “conservation group” when the evidence is that they are, essentially, an oil industry front.
I understand that the pressures of reporting a story as it happens are real and sometimes require cutting corners, but if you don’t have time to do fact checking, then why not simply avoid making any factual assertions you don’t have to make? Nothing about the story requires labeling them a “conservation group”. Just, you know, leave off the word “conservation” — that’s all it takes.
(Of course, doing some elementary digging into the group’s governance would have been even better, but failing that, the NYT could at least avoid doing their PR work for them.)