The Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports issued a misleading statement to the Seattle Times in response to last week's guest post by contributor Mike Stark: Why Are Coal Industry PR Pros Laughing About Climate Change in Private Talks on Export Terminals?
The Alliance statement accused Mr. Stark of “eavesdropping” on a conversation between an Edelman PR vice president and Arch Coal executives in a hotel lobby. The Edelman/Alliance accusation lacks merit, as we demonstrate below.
In these audio files, Mr. Stark can be heard introducing himself and asking questions to Alliance spokesperson and Edelman vice president, Lauri Hennessey [mp3].
A short time later, Mr. Stark engages with Arch Coal senior vice president Matthew Ferguson [mp3], immediately prior to the subsequent conversation which he reported on last week at DeSmogBlog.
The audio reveals Mr. Ferguson agreeing to speak with Mr. Stark just prior to turning to speak with Ms. Hennessey.
In sum, both Ms. Hennessey and Mr. Ferguson were well aware that Mr. Stark was a reporter, and neither party did anything to suggest that the conversation Mr. Stark recorded was private, off the record or otherwise secret.
In response to the Alliance's allegations, DeSmogBlog issued the following statement to the Seattle Times and other media outlets that reported on this important story: