Columbia Journalism Dean Fires Back At ExxonMobil: Allegations ‘Unsupported By Evidence’

Steve Coll disputes oil company’s allegations that postgraduate students’ story misled regarding Exxon ignoring risks of climate change

Columbia University Journalism school’s Dean of Students Steve Coll fired back on Tuesday at Exxon Mobil’s allegations that postgraduate students misrepresented the company’s track record on climate change.

Responding to the oil company’s complaint that a story, published as part of a project with the LA Times, left out information provided by the company and misrepresented facts, Coll said the company offers no proof.

“I have concluded that your allegations are unsupported by evidence,” Coll wrote in a rebuttal letter.

He added that ExxonMobil mostly slammed Columbia’s journalists instead of offering evidence of wrongdoing.

Coll pointed out that the company’s own media relations department possesses email records “showing that your allegations are false.”

“What your letter advocates really is that the factual information accurately reported in the article, and unchallenged by you, be interpreted differently,” Coll concluded.

The Los Angeles Times also backed the story, saying it “carefully reviewed Exxon Mobil’s complaints and concluded that the articles we published in collaboration with Susanne Rust and her team at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism were accurate, fair and balanced.”