AP, Other Reporting on New York's Fracking Ban Ignores Awful Upstate Economy

December 20th, 2014 7:49 AM

The establishment press is virtually giddy over New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's cowardly, self-serving decision to ban fracking in New York. It's cowardly because Cuomo is publicly pretending that he's only deferring to his environmental and health commissioners, when everyone with an ounce of sense knows that he's getting the recommendations he wanted. It's self-serving because it enhances his political cachet with environmental zealots while disregarding the frightening plight, with the exception of Metro New York City, of the Empire State's seriously decaying economy.

Examples of pathetic press coverage, plus a depressing look at the state's non-New York City job market, follow the jump.

In a Wednesday evening report, the Associated Press's Mary Esch celebrated the state's plans to prohibit the practice, formally known as hydraulic fracturing, as a "breakthrough victory"  for environmentalists which "is all but etched in stone." There was no mention of "jobs" anywhere in her coverage.

In an copout analysis piece on Thursday, while finding a pollster who laughably claimed that "only Cuomo himself" knows whether the move was politically motivated, the AP's Michael Virtanen barely improved on that. His only mention of jobs came as he quoted Cuomo: "I am not going to put health at risk for jobs."

At Reuters, a pair of reporters claimed that the move "ends what has been a fierce debate," even though in their very next paragraph, they wrote that "there is not enough scientific information to conclude that fracking is safe." So the debate will still be over when that information arrives? Well, at least they mentioned jobs once, referring to an industry group assertion that, in the reporters' words, the decision "would deprive the state of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue."

What's really appalling is how what the American Petroleum Institute accurately described as "a proven technology used for over 60 years" is being kept out of an area which needs it so badly.

The following chart, based on data from the Household Survey at Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics through November 2014, shows what has officially happened to the the labor force and employment in New York as a whole, New York City separately, and the rest of the state since the end of 2008 — a period during which Democrats have controlled both the White House and New York State's governor's mansion:


While New York City's job market has grown under Andy Cuomo, the rest of the state has been crashing. Its Household Survey employment is down by over 4 percent, and its labor force has shrunk by over 5 percent. The monthly data (seen here and here for employment and the labor force, respectively) indicate that job and labor force contraction continued, though at a slower rate, even after post-recession job growth finally resumed in the rest of the country in early 2010.

If the counties on Long Island and those just north of New York City were further separated from the rest of the state (a process that would be tedious, because "Metro New York City" also includes areas in New Jersey), we would more than likely find that the suffering in areas outside of Greater Gotham has been even more pronounced. It's additionally likely that the BLS's apparent fiddling with the definition of who is treated as looking for work is understating the unemployment rate in the non-New York City labor force.

No wonder Bill Jacobson, proprietor of the Legal Insurrection blog, reacted as follows to Cuomo's move: "Upstate NY’s dim light bulb just went out."

But the nation's agenda-driven establishment press is far more interested in environmentalists winning "victories" at others' expense than in looking at the wreckage their zealotry leaves behind.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.