And that’s probably just as well for the Chesapeake Energy grand poobah, who likely isn’t yearning for any more attention from the magazine.
A story in RS’ March 15 edition didn’t just skewer McClendon, it slapped him on a George Foreman grill and served him up with a $400 bottle of French Bordeaux. The wine is what McClendon evidently sipped as he visited with magazine writer Jeff Goodell in an Oklahoma City restaurant to defend hydraulic fracturing by musing that if it’s so dangerous to the environment, then “where are the dogs with one leg?” That was sweet manna from heaven for Goodell, whose name-says-it-all story, “The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind the Gas Boom,” depicted McClendon as a modern-day energy baron all but gnawing on the slender bones of wood nymphs.
And that was the flattering stuff.
Goodell assails Chesapeake for high-wire financing schemes that have “more in common with Enron than ExxonMobil.”
Chesapeake wasted little time responding to the story. Shortly after Rolling Stone’s story went online, the energy company issued a statement lamenting that Goodell’s past writings had made it evident he wouldn’t give a “fair shake” to McClendon or Chesapeake. “Although our expectations for honesty and fairness were quite low, the writer failed to reach even that low bar,” noted the statement by Michael D. Kehs, Chesapeake vice president of strategic affairs and public relations.
He went on to refute a litany of allegations in Goodell’s piece. Chesapeake charged the journalist with “selective reporting” that “recycles the same old debunked theories of a few short-positioned analysts, activist academics and publicity-seeking litigants that have mischaracterized” the company.
Chesapeake’s lengthy response, in turn, prompted a response from Goodell.
For the time being, there is no Chesapeake response to the Rolling Stone response.