Chevron looks better when it does its own reporting
May 14, 2009
In response to the 60 Minutes report about contamination of the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador, Chevron apparently hired its own reporter to create its own version of the report. According to the New York Times:
Both videos start with a correspondent appearing on camera and calling it a “bitter” dispute. But from there, they diverge. The “60 Minutes” report visits the rain forest, talks to the Ecuadorean judge and interviews a Chevron manager. The Chevron video interviews the same Chevron manager, as well as five professors who are consultants to the oil company, but none of the plaintiffs.
The Chevron video never directly claims to be journalism. But a casual viewer could be swayed by the description — “Gene Randall reporting” — and the journalistic devices used, including file footage of the rain forest and over-the-shoulder interviews with experts. Chevron declined to answer questions about the video.
Chevron also bought Google ads so that its own website about the lawsuit, which includes the video, appear as the top link when anyone googles "Chevron in Ecuador".
It’s unclear how much Chevron spent on the video and website, but it seems that money would have been better spent actually cleaning up oil wells in Ecuador. Surely that would have done more to improve Chevron’s image than this bit of greenwash.