Right-wing sentiments demand a response
Wow! Responding to only the most blatant right-wing propaganda that appears in your generally more open-minded-than-average paper is getting to be a full-time job.
I was surprised to read Lynn Burton’s misleading column of March 14: “Get a Grip…” I didn’t realize that he held the view he espouses in that piece. Specifically, he accused journalists of “tree-hugging” on the job, black people of playing the race card, and Colorado Public Radio of expansionism at the expense of “tiny local stations.” I’ll address these issues one at a time.
The suggestion that journalists, especially at the New York Times, are unfairly biased in favor of pro-environmental viewpoints is preposterous. Corporate media is notoriously anti-environmentalist. This is mainly because the giant conglomerates that own the major media outlets are the same ones that own the oil giants, the mining giants and the logging giants. Environmentalist points of view, when they are mentioned at all in the major media, are generally discredited or portrayed as dogmatic extremism. When was the last time you read a newspaper article that advocated the increased use of renewable energy resources? When environmental viewpoints are mentioned, they inevitably include some criticism that describes greenie ideas as “unreasonable” or “too costly” etc. The New York Times in particular is notorious for advocating the positions of big business and the government that fronts for them.
The example Mr. Burton cites is really nothing more than nitpicking of New York Times reporter H.J. Hebert’s choice of words at any rate. Mr. Hebert certainly doesn’t advocate anything as radical as reducing America’s addiction to dirty fossil fuels. That would be a genuine environmentalist viewpoint, and if he sincerely did so, he would soon be out of a job.
I’m not entirely sure what Mr. Burton is complaining about in his words on the Associated Press’s story about the H. Rap Brown murder conviction. Apparently he feels that the story should have made it a point to describe the racial and gender makeup of the jury – presumably so all us “white folks” could point our fingers and say: “See, even blacks sometimes convict blacks.” Who’s playing the “race card” here anyway? Of course blacks will convict blacks, if the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
The implication of Mr. Burton’s statements is that African-Americans are less trustworthy as jurors than whites. Let’s lay that misconception to rest right now. To date, there has never been a white man executed in the state of Texas for murdering a black person. There have, of course, been countless blacks executed for murdering whites in that state, although I hardly believe that this is because white Texans haven’t murdered a few black people in their time.
Mr. Burton claims to have seen a “black riot or two on TV.” Well Mr. Burton, be careful here, because this smacks of outright racism. There is no such thing as a “black riot.” I am a white Caucasian, and I have participated in some of those riots that he eagerly qualifies as “black.” Despite what the TV shows us, racism is alive and well in this country and even in this county. Witness the flurry of anti-Hispanic and anti-Mexican letters to the editor that the Post-Independent’s coverage of the Mexican consul’s visit engendered last week. I see plenty of racism right here in innocent old Garfield County every day. The “Cop Shop” section of your paper today offers a fantastic example. It seems that the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office managed to bust a whole slew of Hispanics in their recent undercover drug investigation, but not one single white person.
Finally, concerning the threat that Colorado Public Radio poses to private broadcasting. Public radio has been under attack in this country from the right-wing for a long time now. They have had to compromise and take grants from different corporations and right-wing foundations for years. In fact, they have been forced to, in effect, advertise for these corporations by mentioning that : “the preceding program was made possible by a grant from____.” Corporate support never comes without strings attached, and the quality of coverage by the so-called Corporation for “Public” Broadcasting has deteriorated as a result – not that it was ever particularly impartial to begin with.
I’m not sure which “tiny local stations” Mr. Burton is afraid that our rapacious Colorado Public Radio is going to swallow up. There may be a few exceptions, but the vast majority of private radio is owned by the same big conglomerates that own all of the major media.
In short Mr. Burton, we get plenty of anti-environmentalist, anti-peace, pro-corporate, pro-war, and latent support for racism in the major commercial media. I for one would prefer to see less and less of it in my local paper. No personal offense intended.
Editor’s note: It should be noted, as reported in an earlier correction to Lynn. Burton’s column, that H.J. Hebert writes for The Associated Press, not the New York Times.
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A coalition of northwest Colorado local governments want more say-so in the plan to reintroduce wolves in the state, especially as it relates to the Western Slope.