Barack Obama’s comments to the Chron’s editorial board in January — during which he promised to bankrupt the coal industry and implement policies that would cause electric rates to “skyrocket” — are making news on the eve of the election.

Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh are asking why the comments have only surfaced now after audio of the Chron’s editorial board meeting was posted anonymously on YouTube.

Chron editorial page editor John Diaz said in this morning’s Chron that both audio and video of the interview has been posted at since the interview took place in Jan. 17. Above is a photo after the interview with Phil Bronstein on the left and Diaz on the right.

However, the Chron’s stories about the interview didn’t mention Obama’s comments about bankrupting the coal industry or letting energy rates skyrocket. The only way a reader would learn about that is by listening to the entire 48-minute editorial board meeting.

Neither the story today quoting Diaz nor an online commentary by political reporter Carla Marinucci explains why the newspaper didn’t report on the candidate’s intention to bankrupt the coal industry.


(Photo credit: Andrew S. Ross, Chron)

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  1. Yeah, I don’t think the quote says he wants to “bankrupt the coal industry.” The coal industry already has hundreds of coal plants. Obama is talking about people who want to build new ones.

    Also, Obama comes from a state with 25 percent of the United States’ coal supply. He’s been a huge backer of clean-coal technology since his days in the Illinois legislature. This issue was the biggest reason I had reservations about voting for him in the primary. The information is out there, people. You just have to find it. The supposedly biased NYT did a huge article a while back all about Obama’s ties to the clean coal folks.

  2. One wonders how the Chron editors would have reacted if Obama had casually indicated he wouldn’t be at all unhappy if the entire U.S. newspaper industry went bankrupt.

  3. Obama’s exact words are:

    “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

    The previous anonymous poster can spin it however he wants or change the subject, but those are Obama’s actual words.

  4. This is a slanted commentary giving Sarah Palin way more gas than she deserves.
    I remember seeing that audio and video the day after the interview, and like others didn’t take the time to listen to all of it. I had my mind made up about Obama. This only indicates the laziness of those who were unsure about him but didn’t take the time to research.
    Any good reporter knows that you don’t quote an entire 48-minute interview in an article. Who would read it? You focus on what you think are the most pressing elements, what are the biggest topics of the day. At the time, that was his comments about Clinton, given that this was the primary season. So, that’s what subsequent articles focused on.
    Moreover, Obama never “promised to bankrupt the coal industry,” as our SF Press Club blogger claims. He promised to implement a cap and trade system to combat climate change.
    For all of you attacking him for this on behalf of Palin or Clinton, check this out: the reason the Chronicle didn’t bring this up in an article comparing Clinton and Obama is because they both support that same solution.
    Finally, “McCain’s market-based climate change proposals are similar to those of his Democratic rivals Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who both support a cap-and-trade systems,” according to the News Hour with Jim Lehrer ( and McCain’s own website ( This is a non-issue.
    Get a clue SF Press Club moderator, and get ready for caps, trades and clean energy.

  5. Unfortunately, this is a commentary on the news media in general. It makes one worry that if Obama wins we will not have the press to rely on to inform us when the government oversteps. It’s sounding more like Pravda and the Soviet state media of the cold war.

    When will they wake up?

  6. The Chronicle’s ed board was probably so awestruck by Obama that none of them heard him when he said he planned to eliminate an entire industry.

  7. Why not wipe out the coal industry? What a huge polluter! We’ll be much better off with coal. Time to develop solar, wind and tidal energy. Glad the Chronicle didn’t emphasize his comments because it just gives ammunition to the Republicans.

  8. It is why newspapers and/or news orgs are dying and will die soon. People are receiving biased coverages and slanted views from the sources they used to trust.

    BSNBC is the worst but other like ABC, CBS, etc..are producing propaganda news and fake news about shoes, warrobes etc..

    Local newspapers like Chron are dying because they think readers are dumb and indeed readers are too dumb and lazy sometimes. Circulation is down and they will all die in 5 years.

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