Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Fox TV's streaming service, Fox Nation, is offering a non-existent "free trial" subscription - I've filed complaints with the FTC & my state's Consumer Protection Division

Today I unexpectedly stumbled onto this in the course of reporting a story about Fox News.

From the home page of Fox Nation:


See that "Start Your Free Trial" balloon? Stick in pin in it.

Here's a screenshot of the top results of a Google keyword search for "Fox Nation" "free trial." (Click the link and you'll see plenty of other results.)


Click on any of the "free trial" offer links and most take you back to the Fox Nation home page which contains "Start Your Free Trial" balloons and boxes up and down the page.  


But click any of the "Start Your Free Trial" balloons and boxes and you'll land on this page which offers no free trial option, only these paid subscriptions.


Obviously, this is fraudulent advertising so this afternoon I filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Division.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

After I requested a published correction for a factual error, the Delaware News Journal disappeared the error - I've asked parent company Gannett for a ruling

For online news outlets that want to cover up reportorial errors, the digital age is a wish granted. 

A reporter gets something wrong? Just disappear it.

How bad can it get? Per a 2019 story in the journalism watchdog Press Gazette, my efforts uncovered that the vast majority of UK news outlets can disappear entire stories without recourse.

Moving right along, what you're reading is tied to my January 26, 2022 blog item, My dad's name has been scrubbed from a Delaware solar farm after I informed energy companies of his dark history.

At the time, I pitched the story to a bunch of Delaware news outlets including the News Journal, the leading daily in Wilmington, but I didn't get any takers.

A few days ago my Google News alert sent me a March 4, 2022 Journal News story by reporter Ben Mace because it included these words:








Straightforward factual error, right? Per my blog, my dad's name had been dropped from the solar farm. 

So on March 6, I emailed a polite request for a published correction to this department and copied Mr. Mace:











The News Journal is owned by Gannett, so in my request I pointed out that any correction should adhere to Gannett's editorial guidelines which in this case should include an explanation that the name  of the solar project was changed and on what date - also perhaps why it was changed.

I never received a reply, but this morning I revisited the paywalled article and found this:


And this scrub job:



You may not be surprised to learn that the article, updated the day after I sent my request, includes no note informing readers that the article's been corrected and why.

In my opinion, that's sleazy journalism and may violate Gannett newsroom guidelines (see below), so this morning I asked a Gannett editorial representative for a ruling. 

I'll update this item with the results.

Correcting errors

When errors occur, the newspaper has an ethical obligation to correct the record and minimize harm.

  • Errors should be corrected promptly. But first, a determination must be made that the fact indeed was in error and that the correction itself is fully accurate.
  • Errors should be corrected with sufficient prominence that readers who saw the original error are likely to see the correction. This is a matter of the editor’s judgment.
  • Although it is wise to avoid repeating the error in the correction, the correction should have sufficient context that readers will understand exactly what is being corrected.
  • Errors of nuance, context or tone may require clarifications, editor’s notes, editor’s columns or letters to the editor.
  • When the newspaper disagrees with a news subject about whether a story contained an error, editors should consider offering the aggrieved party an opportunity to express his or her view in a letter to the editor.
  • Corrections should be reviewed before publication by a senior editor who was not directly involved in the error. The editor should determine if special handling or outside counsel are required.
  • Errors should be corrected whether or not they are called to the attention of the newspaper by someone outside the newsroom.
  • Factual errors should be corrected in most cases even if the subject of the error does not want it to be corrected. The rationale for this is rooted in the Truth Principle. It is the newspaper’s duty to provide accurate information to readers. An exception may be made – at the behest of the subject – when the correction of a relatively minor mistake would result in public ridicule or greater harm than the original error.
  • Newsroom staffers should be receptive to complaints about inaccuracies and follow up on them.
  • Newsroom staffers have a responsibility to alert the appropriate editor if they become aware of a possible error in the newspaper. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

My dad's name has been scrubbed from a Delaware solar farm after I informed energy companies of his dark history [UPDATED]

A day after I sent a letter to three companies developing a solar energy farm in Delaware named after my father, the late Henry J. Heimlich MD (best known for his namesake anti-choking maneuver), his name has been stripped from the project.

I learned of the project via this January 20, Cape Gazette item, Delaware Electric Cooperative solar projects to provide clean power:
Seven new utility-scale solar projects will begin providing clean energy to Delaware Electric Cooperative members over the next three years. The nonprofit utility has announced it will purchase power produced at solar facilities to be built across Kent and Sussex counties.

...Construction will also begin this year on the 4.5-megawatt Heimlich Solar Facility that will power about 900 Sussex County homes, farms and businesses. The project is a partnership between Delaware Electric Cooperative and Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, which is owned by DEC and 10 other nonprofit electric cooperatives.

The 35-acre facility is being built along Mile Stretch Road just west of Greenwood. Once completed, the facility will feature nearly 16,000 individual solar panels. The project is being managed by EDF Renewables Distributed Solutions, a developer of solar and battery storage projects in North America. The site, which is expected to begin producing power in late 2022, is named after Delaware native Henry Heimlich, who invented the Heimlich Maneuver.
Here's my January 24 inquiry to executives at the companies (click here to download a copy) and the email reply I received last night.



blogger inquiry

Christine Karlovic <Christine.Karlovic@edf-re.com>
To: "peter.heimlich@gmail.com" <peter.heimlich@gmail.com>
Cc: Sandi Briner <Sandi.Briner@edf-re.com>
Tue, Jan 25, 2022 at 7:41 PM

Dear Mr. Heimlich: 

 

Thank you for bringing to our attention the history relating to your late father and the naming of the solar project.  We have discussed the matter and will be changing the name of the project in the next couple of weeks to something more suitable.  

 

We thank you again for bringing your concern to our attention. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Christine Karlovic 

EDFLogo

Christine Karlovic

Director, Communications

T: 1.917.371.5778


1/29/22 UPDATE

Via the Wayback Machine, a screenshot from San Diego-based EDF Renewables website about the project (with "Deleware" typo):



Same page today (with same typo):