WaPo on CEI’s FOIA release – biasing by innuendo

Today the Washington Post carried a follow-up article on CEI’s release of Treasury’s estimates — through a FOIA request —  on the cost of cap-and-trade legislation.  The article by Steven Mufson was quick to find and quote those who said CEI’s interpretation of those costs – an extra $1,761 each year for each American household – were built on false assumptions.  What was more interesting about the article, however, is the subtle slant the reporter gave in his depiction of both CEI and Declan McCullagh, who broke the story.

First, in its only description of CEI, the article states:  “. . . Competitive Enterprise Institute, which questions whether human and industrial activity is linked to global warming. . . .”  That certainly doesn’t describe CEI and the many issues it works on nor its approach to global warming.  Why didn’t the reporter depict it as “a free market policy group” and then go on to describe its global warming position accurately?

Second, the article disparagingly referred to Declan McCullagh as “A CBS News blogger named Declan McCullagh.”  Now, McCullagh is a respected and accomplished journalist, and he is listed on the article referenced by WaPo as “a correspondent for CBSNews.com.” Here’s what his bio says:

Declan McCullagh is a senior correspondent for CBS News’ Web site. He became the chief political correspondent for CNET News in 2002, where he remains a frequent contributor, and lives in the San Francisco area after spending over a decade in Washington, DC.

An award-winning journalist, McCullagh writes and speaks frequently about technology, law, and politics. From 1998 to 2002, he was Wired’s Washington bureau chief. Previously he was a reporter for Time Magazine, Time Digital Daily, and The Netly News, as well as a correspondent for HotWired. At CBS, McCullagh writes for the Taking Liberties section, the successor to a weekly column he started in October 2008 titled Other People’s Money.

Guess straight-forward descriptions didn’t fit what Mufson and the Post wanted to get across.