The New York Times has published an editors’ note saying a front-page story questioning the scope of the oil spill “should have included more information” about the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, which was described as a “conservation group” without noting its close ties to the oil industry and Transocean, the owner of the rig that exploded.
The head of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation was quoted as 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.”
Striking a defensive tone, the editors’ note says the Gulf of Mexico Foundation gets “the majority of its funding” from the government, but that it also has ties to industry. It does not mention the specific ties to Transocean (the Gulf of Mexico Foundation’s most recent board meeting was hosted by the company).
Here it is in full:
A front-page news analysis article on Tuesday discussed the uncertainty over the ultimate environmental impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. One expert quoted was Quenton R. Dokken, a marine biologist who is the executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation. (He said the spill “isn’t the end of the Gulf of Mexico,” but also said that “we’ve always got to ask ourselves how long can we keep heaping these insults on the gulf and having it bounce back.”)
The article described the Gulf of Mexico Foundation simply as a conservation group. It should have included more information about the organization, a nonprofit group that says its mission is “to promote and facilitate conservation of the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico and its resources” through research and other programs. While the group says the majority of its funding comes from federal and state grants, it also receives some money from the oil industry and other business interests in the gulf, and includes industry executives on its board.