Oceana : In Their Own Words

What They Tell You About:


Health Oceana exerts significant influence over mainstream media outlets. Many of its press releases concerning seafood and mercury get wide play from reporters. In the first quarter of 2008, the New York Timespublished a report testing sushi samples from local New York restaurantsusing roughly the same methodology as an Oceana report released the verysame day.


What They're Not Telling You

The Times'resulting report mirrored Oceana's misguided and alarmist rhetoric, but its mercury distortions did not go unnoticed. Several leading media critics and the New York Times own public editor discredited the paper's reporting. The New York Times issued a rare public rebuke of its own reporter for producing a story that was "less balanced," than it should have been an evaluation that reporters from Time, Slate and the Center for Independent Media concurred with.

Moreover, while the tone of Oceana's and the New York Time's misinformation campaign suggested a mercury danger lurking in sushi tuna, Oceana obscured the fact that its own test results found average mercury levels in fresh and sushi tuna safely below the FDA limit.

Reporters that rely on Oceana without fact-checking are increasingly facing corrections and challenges about balance, accuracy and sourcing.

The Tough Questions:
If Oceana's primary expertise is in environmental protection, how can they speak to health information about tuna and other fish? And when they do, why does the press report their claims uncritically while ignoring the expertise of doctors, scientists and registered dietitians?