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Monday, January 27, 2014

NPR Accused of "Hatchet Job" For Report on Oil and Gas Worker Fatalities

Was NPR's report a hatchet job?
From Forbes:
Is 24 fatalities per 100,000 workers a large number? It depends on the context. The on-the-job fatality rate across all industries is about 3.2 per 100,000. But that includes me sitting at my keyboard. What is the fatality rate for, say, farming? About 26, which is comparable to the wicked and reckless oil and gas industry. How about commercial fishing? Yikes, the fatality rate is 124! If we’re going to regulate fracking out of existence to save lives, does NPR also recommend that we stop eating?
What was the leading cause of fatalities among oil and gas workers? About 30 percent died as a result of car accidents on public roads. And the leading contributing factor was that the driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt—the same as with other auto fatalities. So then, what was the NIOSH Oil & Gas Extraction Safety & Health Program’s number one recommendation for reducing fatalities in the oil and gas industry? Less emphasis on profits? Reduced drilling and exploration? Nope. Drivers should wear their seatbelts.
How much airtime did NPR devote to these facts? Nada.
Topic selection, framing, fact selection, guest selection, expert selection, questions asked, questions not asked, anecdotes included, and anecdotes left on the cutting room floor can slant a story any way an editor chooses.
You can read the whole article here.

The original article from NPR is viewable here. 

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