Reporter No Longer in a Hurry to Defend Pipeline Hit Piece

In January, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ran a two-part series on the Enbridge pipeline system running under Wisconsin and the Straits of Mackinac. In a decidedly alarmist tone, reporter Dan Egan strongly implied the pipelines posed a potential hazard to the public. Media Trackers responded with a piece that heavily quoted a spokesperson for Enbridge. Our reporting included comments from Enbridge that Egan’s piece did not, even though, we are told, he was given extensive access to the company in the summer of 2016. After our piece ran, Egan reached out, wanted to respond to it on the Jerry Bader radio show, which we host. From his January 24 email:

Hi Jerry. I saw your comments about the pipeline article I wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Feel free to give me a call. I’ll go on your show and we can talk about any of this without you having to guess my motives for explaining this or exploring that in the article. I’m a Green Bay guy (Premontre class of ’85) who grew up playing on the banks of the Fox.

We were quick to accept:

Be glad to have you on. How about Thursday, 9:06?

Egan said that didn’t work so we agreed to touch base the next Monday to schedule an appearance for the next week. We reached out on Monday and got no response. So, we tried again on Tuesday, January 31. Ultimately Egan told us he was working on a book and that another pipeline series would be coming out in March. He preferred we wait until then. On March 6, we reached out to Egan to see if he was still interested in discussing his piece on Enbridge pipelines. We discovered his enthusiasm to defend his reporting had waned:

I’m going to pass. I have that book coming out tomorrow and I’m off to NY first thing in the morning to start a whirlwind trip of book store appearances (each in front of 4 or 5 people, I’m guessing ) and such that is going to keep me hopping for weeks to come. Just last week I told the publisher people I’m not adding anything to that list until later this summer.

We told him we found that response puzzling, given that it was he who reached out to us back in January. His response:

I know! I reached out to you. Pipelines were hot on my mind in the days after the stories on Enbridge came out, and they will be again; I’m in the middle of another pipeline piece and will finish it after my book stumping stops in a couple of months. (the book has nothing to do with oil pipelines).

When those next stories come out — and if you see them — send me another note and we can talk pipes.

By our reckoning, “a couple of months” will be early May. We will indeed be reading his additional reporting on pipelines and will let you know if Egan follows through on his offer to discuss his reporting with us in a public format.