Accuracy in Media

WASHINGTON — Reuters’ most recent analysis of the shale boon is quite misleading with the title, “U.S. shale is a boon to manufacturers but not their workers”.

shale boon vallourec starReuters points out that even though shale has led to a boom in revenue, they accuse shale investors of not increasing local job growth thanks to Reuters’ twisted and flawed logic. But, they ignore how North Dakota is undergoing a huge shale-driven boon and is fueling their economy to unseen heights.

A French and Japanese venture Vallourec Star opened a $1.1 billion state-of-the-art steel pipe mill in Youngstown, Ohio,  is the first new steel mill since the 1920s and is the largest investment by a manufacturer since the 1960s. The billion-dollar steel pipe mill added “just 350 workers”, but is helping to revive the region’s struggling economy.

But Reuters rains on the parade, saying that the job growth is not as great as promised. Their analysis attacks oil shale companies and say they have not replaced the jobs that were lost. Vallourec Star received more than 20,000 applications when the hiring process began and could only hire 350 for its job openings. Reuters quotes the company president and COO Joel Mastervich as saying, “You can see how hungry people are”, as if it was a bad thing.

Reuters fails to point out that the shale companies did not layoff workers, but it was the outdated Rust Belt factories that laid off workers. The shale corporations are not to blame for laying off workers, but are adding jobs slowly. An investment is something that is long-term and reaps benefits later, not solely a short-term fix (at least most of the time). Reuters may need an economics and a business finance lesson sooner rather than later.

Then, Reuters cited a Cleveland State University study that said the results of the shale boon are inconclusive and “not yet evident”, while jobs are being added in the region. Reuters blames the plant because:

“those jobs won’t begin to make up for ones lost just a year ago, when RG Steel closed its plant here and laid off more than 1,000 workers – let alone the tens of thousands of jobs Youngstown has lost since the late 1970s, when the steel mills that drove the local economy closed.”

Is the new plant to blame for a previous plant’s layoffs and failures? It is as if Reuters is blaming a Hallmark store closing down and laying off its workers, then blaming the next tenant for laying off Hallmark’s workers.

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