BLOG: Examining the Issue of Bias in the Energy Industry

BLOG: Examining the Issue of Bias in the Energy Industry
Surveys reveal that Americans struggle with identifying facts from opinions in their news, and media bias is exacerbating the issue.

This week, the Pew Research Center released findings from a survey examining whether the American public can recognize news as factual or an opinion. What was most interesting to me was out of the more than 5,000 adults surveyed, just 26 percent were able to identify all factual statements. For opinion statements, that percentage increased to a whopping 35 percent.

The report also revealed that both Republicans and Democrats are more likely to think news statements are factual when they appeal to their side even if they are, in fact, opinions.

So, I deduced that not only do many Americans struggle with receiving their news objectively (which isn’t surprising human behavior), they also struggle to distinguish between facts and opinions.

I decided to do a little surveying of my own.

In a poll posted on Rigzone’s Twitter page, I asked respondents to indicate if they thought the news media was bias in its news coverage. The results are below.


Out of 1,044 Twitter respondents, one-third believe the media is biased most of the time. Another 30 percent said the media is always biased in its news coverage.

How much of this falls on the media and how much falls on the industry?

Bias is quite normal for people to exhibit, according to Alex Epstein, founder and president of the Center for Industrial Progress and author of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.”

In the energy industry, this could prove to be specifically problematic as there has long been a feud between pro-industry advocates and environmentalists. And with the phrase “fake news” being thrown around so much these days, bias in reporting and in receiving news needs to be addressed. The media is speaking to a public that – based on findings of the aforementioned surveys – has difficulty identifying facts and accepting news objectively and has a mistrust of the news media.

Couple that with the fact the energy industry does a terrible job of telling its story (according to award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien), and it leaves the door open for misinformation, something the industry simply can’t afford as it continues to try to attract the younger generations to the workforce.   

“Being evenhanded requires deliberate effort,” Epstein told Rigzone, adding that every thought process or conversation is based on some framework (a starting structure of assumptions, beliefs or practices) which then influences everything else.


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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.

Peter Guske  |  July 05, 2018
The idea of, instead, emphasizing that FF enhance the human condition by saving lives, especially of children, by providing inexpensive, reliable HVAC, dramatically increasing life span and quality, improving water quality, bringing healthcare to remote areas, sparing vegetation/wildlife and the environment...all demonstrably true, especially when compared to the damage to the above created by rare earth metals mining, killing of birds, unreliability of the "alternatives" to provide enhanced healthcare, clean water and contributing to the demand for and stripping of vegetation/wildlife. I thought these were goals ALL could agree on?! On balance, with regard to these goals, which form of energy has done better? It should be an easy choice. Unless, of course, that is really not your goal at all. Maybe, just maybe, it's still the age old, socialism vs capitalism? Hhmmm...
Randy Verret  |  June 21, 2018
One thing the industry can do is STOP touting economic benefits as the first & most relevant issue in just about any situation. The environmental activists have (now) been working for DECADES to tarnish the oil & gas industry's image, so it will take a concerted, grass roots effort and a coherent, fact based media approach to begin shifting that paradigm. The environmental stewardship, responsible energy development & REAL alternatives in the transition away from fossil fuels need to be the primary focus moving forward. Jobs & economic output (then) are mainly the "icing" on the cake...

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