In February 2011, Chevron lost a legal battle in an Ecuadorian court, but for years it had lost the battle for media fairness regarding the case.
CBS's "60 Minutes," The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets had already sided against the oil giant in favor of Steve Donziger and his Amazon clients. But following the Ecuadorian court ruling, Bloomberg BusinessWeek actually gave much more balanced treatment of the lengthy fight.
In a cover story "Steve Donziger: Jungle Justice," the magazine examined not only Donziger's arguments that Chevron should be held financially responsible for clean up costs and mass injury. It also noted the "evidence of a disturbing nature" dug up by Chevron's lawyers including, a scientific expert's testimony that he had not signed a report which bore his name.
BusinessWeek also mentioned one of the outtakes of the film "Crude" in which Donziger boasts about intimidating the Ecuadorian judge, saying, "The only language that I believe this judge is going to understand is one of pressure, intimidation and humiliation."
It was that sort of evidence that prompted Lewis A. Kaplan, a federal judge, to write that "Donziger's own words raise substantial questions as to his possible criminal liability and amenability to professional discipline."
Chevron's attorneys, Gibson Dunn, filed a civil racketeering suit against Donziger and the rest of his legal team and his clients. On Mar. 7, 2011, they managed to get a "preliminary injunction from Kaplan blocking enforcement of the $18.1 billion verdict," BusinessWeek reported.
The Business & Media Institute has previously written about a $3-million bribery scheme uncovered by Chevron in video recordings that may implicate the Ecuadorian judge, and other video that seem to show that Donziger's team colluded with Richard Cabrera, the supposedly neutral "expert" for the Ecuadorian court.
BMI had also tracked media bias against Chevron on CBS and in The New York Times, specifically including the Oct. 2009 misused of a photo by the Times. That image of "murky" polluted water in Ecuador, that actually showed an oil pit created by Petroecuador could have misled Times readers about the situation.