ricochet.W.Post.deceptive.photo.1.jpg

A Deceptive Photograph at the Washington Post

Recently, the Washington Post‘s Juliet Eilperin ran an article lamenting how the Obama administration is weakening some regulations proposed by the EPA that would apply to coal-fired power plants.

Accompanying the article was the photo, at left, of a power plant near St. Mary’s, Kansas owned by Westar Energy.

However, as the blog “Watts Up With That” documents, the apparent smoke in the photo is only water vapor:

Plumes of condensing water vapor normally look white and benign, but by artfully choosing a vantage point to the east of the plant, and a time just after sunset, AP photographer Charlie Riedel managed to make the pretty white plumes look black and threatening. That power plant has state-of-the-art “scrubbers,” which which cost over $400 million, and which remove 95% of the SO2 and nearly all of the particulate matter. Almost nothing visible is left except steam.

Here’s a photo, posted at Watts Up With That, that shows what the stacks look like under normal lighting:ricochet.W.Post.deceptive.photo.2.jpg

Westar Energy sent an email to the Post, documenting the inaccuracies.  The Post has yet to issue a correction or apology.

For the top photo, the Washington Post ran the following caption: “Silhouetted against the sky at dusk, emissions spew from the smokestacks at Westar Energy’s Jeffrey Energy Center coal-fired power plant near St. Mary’s, Kan.” Note that the water vapor is described by the phrase “emissions spew.” Note also that the Post calls the stacks “smokestacks,” although it’s not smoke that is coming out of the stacks. Such phrases and the lack of a correction or apology make me believe that the deception was intentional.

  1. Macsen

    Facts, schmacts. The Earth has a fever!

  2. Jim Chase

    Typical. I’m surprised they didn’t photoshop a polar bear into the image. Or the Lorax.

  3. raycon and lindacon

    D’ya think?

  4. david foster

    Many “progressives” probably thing that CO2 is a black substance like coal soot.

    Note the perpetual use of “carbon” as an inaccurate shorthand for “carbon dioxide”

  5. Dave Roy

    Not only the lack of apology/response, the fact that they actually wrote the caption that way says to me that it was intentional.

  6. Nick Stuart

    Thanks for pointing out this old, old trick of the Green Lefties.

    It is sooo old in fact it’s boring. Very tedious to have to keep refuting the same bullsnort over, and over, and over.

    Thankless job, but it’s good that folks like Tim take the time to do it.

  7. shelby_forthright

    Of course it was intentional. It’s becoming a rare thing when a lefty isn’t making an argument in bad faith.

  8. Western Chauvinist

    You mean progressives lie in order to advance their agenda?? No!

    /sarc off

    One way you know — absolutely, 100% — progressives aren’t serious about carbon dioxide emissions is they’re not advocating for nuclear power 24/7. Global warmism is socialism dressed up in environmental concern. 

  9. Randy Weivoda

    The fact is, water vapor is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  It’s only a matter of time before the greenies start worrying about the amount of water we’re evaporating. 

  10. John Murdoch

    Couple of thoughts:

    First, in the WaPo caption the word “spew” is being used as a verb. The noun in the sentence (“emissions”) is factually correct. The use of the verb “spew” on the other hand, is a textbook example of journalistic slant: choosing a loaded, derogatory verb to describe an entirely ordinary mechanical process–steam rising. What that smokestack (yes–it’s a smokestack, that’s the term for it) is emitting is essentially the same thing as what’s coming off the top of a pot of locally-grown, pesticide-free, community-supported-agriculture purchased vegetable soup.

    But, of course, pots of soup in the communes of Greenbelt don’t “spew.” They “emanate” or “waft” or “permeate the air.” Such is the stuff of a biased media.

    Second, this is old, old, old news. Take a look at any photograph you have ever seen of a cooling tower. All that eery stuff “spewing” from the top? Pure steam–distilled water. Nothing else.

  11. Crow

    Fight fire with fire:

    Wind1.jpg

    Wind turbines, silhouetted against a darkling sky, spew foul haze.

    Wind2.jpg

    Endangered, noble bird needlessly slain by callous wind turbine

    Wind3b.jpgWind5.jpg

    Unreliable turbine tech explodes, raining ash and fire on locals….

    Wind4.jpg

    ….and destroying their precious helpless seedlings (no pesticides used)

    In fact, even groups that were once supportive:

    Windcat1.jpg

    Have now taken to accusative finger pointing at these irksome needles:

    Windcat2.jpg

  12. TeeJaw
    Randy Weivoda: The fact is, water vapor is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  It’s only a matter of time before the greenies start worrying about the amount of water we’re evaporating.  · 43 minutes ago

    The amount of water vapor that comes from these stacks in minuscule compared to the amount that occurs naturally, and humans have no control over that.  Ghia is enemy of the liberals on this one.

  13. Mark Wilson

    Journalists (and apparently journalistic photographers) tend to be basically ignorant on technical matters.  I have observed this for years and it frustrates me to no end.  The topics where it’s particularly egregious are climate/energy and guns.

  14. Western Chauvinist
    TeeJaw

    Randy Weivoda: The fact is, water vapor is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  It’s only a matter of time before the greenies start worrying about the amount of water we’re evaporating.  · 43 minutes ago

    The amount of water vapor that comes from these stacks in minuscule compared to the amount that occurs naturally, and humans have no control over that.  Ghia is enemy of the liberals on this one. 

    But, this is “man-made” water vapor! It contributes disproportionately to the problem, doncha’ know. Except when it’s coming off their organic free-range-Thai noodle soup.  [see what I did there?] Then it’s guilt free.

    Shhh… don’t even mention the greater forcing effect of methane gas over carbon dioxide. You’ll bring out their inner soup Nazi: “No bean soup for you!”

  15. Palaeologus
    Mark Wilson: Journalists (and apparently journalistic photographers) tend to be basically ignorant.

    There, I fixed it for you Mark.

  16. Nathaniel Wright

    [Sarcasm]“Only” water vapor?! ONLY water vapor?!

    Don’t you know that water vapor is a dangerous Greenhouse Gas. It’s one of the few GGs that create a negative feedback loop. The more water vapor, the more the warming, the more the water vapor, ad infinitum.

    It is quite simply the most dangerous pollutant ever to enter the atmosphere. It is what killed the Dinosaurs. It’s was caused the Biblical Flood. It was responsible for the Medieval Warming Period that resulted in the invasion of England by…well…everyone.

    And…it causes cancer.

    If you like water vapor, then you sir are the equivalent of (Godwin’s Law Reference)![/sarcasm]

  17. DocJay

    One of my patients supports technology at all the coal plants accross the west for which he is compensated well. A California politician was at a site screaming about the pollution one day from the stacks and he said,”it’s water vapor,” to which the politician said he was a liar. His response was priceless,” why don’t we get a crane then and lower your completely ignorant ‘ butt’in it and you can go up there”. The guy made some calls and walked away still screaming about other things that were bad but abandoning the smoke theory.

  18. 3rd angle projection

    Frankly, I’m only surprised when they get caught telling the truth. And that’s fun because that’s when heads roll.

  19. genferei

    Tim – if you got the chance to write an op-ed piece for the Post would you take it, knowing what you know about their ‘journalistic’ ‘ethics’?

  20. DocJay

    BTW, of course the deception is intentional. These commie slime should be strung up like Baghdad Bob.

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