CNN could not help itself. This is just how it does things.
Someone from inside the EPA — likely a disgruntled environmentalist — sent the news agency a suggestion that Gov. Michael Dunleavy had met with President Donald Trump while the president was winging his way to Asia. And the next thing that happened, lo and behold, the Environmental Protection Agency lifted its preemptive veto of progress on the Pebble Project permit.
“Aha!” implied CNN. “Gotcha! This is proof that Dunleavy, onboard Air Force One for a chit-chat, asked the president to lift the veto.”
“The EPA publicly announced the reversal July 30, but EPA staff sources tell CNN that they were informed of the decision a month earlier, during a hastily arranged video conference after Trump’s meeting with Gov. Mike Dunleavy. The governor, a supporter of the project, emerged from that meeting ‘saying the president assured him that he’s ‘doing everything he can to work with us on our mining concerns,'” CNN reported.
“The news came as a ‘total shock’ to some top EPA scientists who were planning to oppose the project on environmental grounds, according to sources. Those sources asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution,” CNN reported. (Italics added by MRAK.)
And then, as fact, CNN reported this gem:
“The copper-and-gold mine planned near Bristol Bay, Alaska, known as Pebble Mine, was blocked by the Obama administration’s EPA after scientists found that the mine would cause ‘complete loss of’ the bay’s fish habitat.” (Italics added.)
The mine is one of the most controversial projects in Alaska, to be sure. And it has been pummeled by fake news for years.
During its construction, it would employ about 2,000 people, and 1,000 during its estimated 20-year life. For environmental industry types, the Pebble Mine is right up there with the Amazon rainforest, and it’s easy to raise money by stoking fear. Opponents of the mine fear it will take out the last great salmon run in the world.
It’s a reasonable concern, but to not even allow Pebble to present its case for mine safety? That was an unprecedented action during the Obama presidency.
Soon the rest of the media was reporting that CNN was reporting this pair of events and all the other speculation, and it became fact across the news landscape for the next week:
Across the land, reporters and news agencies reported on a report that had nothing but conjecture to support it.
CNN, tipped off by the environmental community and opponents of Pebble inside the EPA, led the news pack down the path of speculative journalism. This is Exhibit A for how the environmental industry and the mainstream media concoct stories that become articles of faith that are then repeated as fact.