Latest distortion of facts by Cape Cod Times on Cape Wind

Friday fakery: Disinformation to damage Cape Wind yet again


 This graphic on the front page of Friday's Cape Cod Times uses a nearly 8-foot tall basketball player to show readers how high the 7 inch underwater transmission cables are.

Local daily publishes wildly inaccurate cable story on its front page

By Walter Brooks

Media mendacity mated with deliberate disinformation again today on the front page of the Cape Cod Times in a completely erroneous and hyped story which was wrong in all basic areas:

  1. The cable shown is actually 7¾ inches high, notfeet as they reported.
  2. The MMS study is a generic study of all ocean transmission cables and part of the Interior Department's studies for its report on ocean management, and not one specifically for the Cape Wind report which that agency completed several months ago.
  3. The Cape Cod Times graphic gave Cape Wind as its source when it was not.
  4. The story focused on one Cape Wind cable which will NOT be in The Sound for years while there are already four transmission cables already crossing Nantucket Sound, and that they have been there for generations bringing electricity to both islands.


The story on the front page even attributed the source of their disinformation to Cape Wind, but the online version was re-edited.

What concerns this writer and many others today is the obvious timing of The Times distortions.

This is the latest of several, each timed for Friday with a small correction buried inside the far less read Saturday edition. Critics are referring to them now at the "Friday fakeries."

Fool reader once, shame on Times.
Fool reader twice, shame on reader.

It was so in 2003 when The Times ran another graphic, one that showed the area in the Sound to be covered by the proposed wind farm. That graphic was supplied by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and showed an area twice as large as the actual area of the project and much closer to the shore. The Times surely knew the true size of the Cape Wind farm since they had published the actual plot plans earlier.

It was so prior to that when The Times ran a long editorial blasting the project which was later proved to be copied word for word from the Alliance's website.

In 2004 The Times commissioned and published the results of a survey about the public opinion on the project, but left out the 20% of the votes for "undecided" in a lame attempt to prove a slight majority vote against the project. The reporter covering the story objected, was turned down, and left shortly after. His his tale of this embarrassment here.

"This error is typical of previous Cape Cod Times articles and illustrations damaging to Cape Wind."
             - Jim Liedell, CPN

You won't find the story from today's print edition shown above on the right in their online version because the latter was rewritten after Mark Rodgers of Cape Wind called the distortions and errors to the Times' writer's attention.

Perhaps most alarming is that the editors of the flagship newspaper of the Ottaway newspaper chain did not think that the cables already running under Nantucket Sound could not possibly be nearly 8-feet tall.

There are large areas of the Sound where anything that tall would stick out of the water.

Is is reasonable to assume they don't know and don't care.

Epilogue: Newspaper offers lame correction Saturday

An ethical response for its gross, even comic, error in running a front page story exaggerated twelve-fold, would have been to run a similarly illustrated correction the next day. Instead, the newspaper ran the story the way it should have been written in the first place, but buried the correction in the fourth paragraph.

The Times chose instead to wimp along with this statement:

Undersea cables unlikely to snare turbines
A new federal study on the effects of submarine electric cables on marine wildlife should not delay a decision on the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm, according to an e-mail statement from the lead agency reviewing the project.

A formal "record of decision" necessary for Cape Wind Associates LLC to obtain a lease to build 130 wind turbines in the sound is "not tied to" the study of electromagnetic fields announced this week, U.S. Minerals Management Service spokesman John Romero wrote in the e-mail received yesterday by the Times.

MMS - a division of the Interior Department - released a final environmental report on Cape Wind in January that found negligible effects on fish and other marine wildlife from the electromagnetic fields.

The Cape Wind cables, which would measure less than 8 inches in diameter - not 8 feet as reported in a Times story yesterday - would be buried 6 feet beneath the ocean floor and be well insulated, according to Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers... CC Times.

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