Submitted by Anne Landman on
A news analysis article on the front page of the May 4 New York Times about the Gulf oil spill was titled "Gulf Oil Spill is Bad, but How Bad?" It quoted an "expert," Quenton R. Dokken, a marine biologist who is also the executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, which the Times described as a conservation group based in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dokken played down the gravity of the spill, saying "The sky is not falling ... We've certainly stepped in a hole and we're going to have to work ourselves out of it, but it isn't the end of the Gulf of Mexico." Who is this "conservation group" that minimizes the impact of an oil spill in its area? It turns out it's not really a conservation group at all. At least half of the group's 19 board of directors have direct ties to the offshore drilling industry, and one of them is currently an executive at Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded in the Gulf, causing the spill. Other board members are employees of oil companies or businesses that supply the offshore oil and gas industry. After being confronted with the undisclosed information about the Gulf of Mexico Foundation's board, the Times published an Editor's Note saying that the article "should have included more information about" the Gulf of Mexico Foundation.