Fact Check

Anti-renewable energy fabricator Robert Bryce continues charade as “journalist”

Anti-renewable energy fabricator Robert Bryce continues charade as “journalist”

Anti-renewable energy writer Robert Bryce has ground out error-prone commentaries and books about topics including wind power for years (see below for our library of over 20 fact checks of Bryce’s fallacies.)

Despite our regular explanations why his writing about wind energy is wrong and misleading, Bryce continues to masquerade as a “Texas-based journalist.” That’s the title he used twice this year in emails sent my way about something he’s writing to misinform readers about American wind power.

That’s not surprising.

Several fact-check groups and media watchdogs have published numerous pieces about Bryce’s connections to special interests and think tanks opposing renewables. See below for a few examples:

The fact-check group Checks and Balances Project even tried to ask Bryce directly, “Do you receive direct or indirect support from the fossil fuel industry?” It was a question Bryce apparently could not give a simple “yes” or “no” answer to.

Fortunately, Checks and Balances ran video of the response. You can see the 2:12 video below. Bryce gets increasingly, visibly upset as a result of the fact-checker’s question about his, and his organization’s, funding.

Not long before this exchange, the Checks and Balances Project submitted a petition signed by more than 50 journalists and educators to the New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane, calling on the New York Times to do a better job of disclosing the ties of op-ed contributors like Bryce.

That petition led the Times to publish an open letter acknowledging that “the issue of authorial transparency is an important one,” and later further stating:

“Certainly, the Manhattan Institute is well-known to some, including organized groups like the Checks and Balances Project…But I don’t think every reader knows what the Manhattan Institute is. So, while I recognize that The Times has limited space in print to provide more disclosure, I believe it should do more to help readers learn about outside Op-Ed contributors.”

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Despite these efforts, and The Times recognizing a need to do more, mainstream news outlets have often failed to acknowledge Bryce’s special interest ties when publishing the anti-renewable energy opinion pieces he authors.

Mother Jones reported on this in December 2012: “Major news outlets give fossil-fuel funded think tanks a free platform.” The article cited a Check and Balances Project study that covered a five-year time frame and 60 news outlets, and concluded that special interest ties like Bryce’s were only disclosed six percent of the time.

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While Bryce may continue to email private businesses, renewable energy trade associations and others asking for them to comment about his misleading writing, the facts show Bryce is a paid anti-renewable energy opponent, and those groups would be better served passing on his attempts to misinform.

You can read all of AWEA’s blogs fact-checking Robert Bryce’s misrepresentations over the years at the following links:

Fact Check

David Ward is the primary point of contact for all press inquiries and manage AWEA’s day-to-day media relations. He also oversees media monitoring responsibilities and analyzes trends in the news about wind power. He owns a Master of Arts in Strategic Communications from Villanova University and earned a Commendation for Service from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid due to work for the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC).

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