Paul Cienfuegos’ June 2nd, 2015 Commentary on KBOO Evening News
(His weekly commentaries are broadcast every Tuesday evening. You can view or listen to them all at PaulCienfuegos.com, CommunityRightsPDX.org/podcast, or subscribe via ITunes.)
Greetings! You are listening to the weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos.
Last week, my commentary was about the two proposed liquefied so-called “natural” gas export terminals being proposed for Astoria and Coos Bay, Oregon, and the statewide anti-LNG rally that took place last week in Salem. I screwed up, and my commentary was much too long, so it wasn’t broadcast until the KBOO Evening News on Thursday. My apologies to listeners and to the quite amazing all-volunteer news staff at KBOO who had to deal with my mistake. If you missed last week’s commentary, you can still hear it and all of my other archived weekly commentaries at CommunityRightsPDX.org/podcast.
This week, I want to offer a critical look at the endless hypocrisy that is so blatantly applied by the editorial board at the Oregonian newspaper and its online publication OregonLive. Specifically, I want to unpack some of the misrepresentations in their Opinion section page one editorial from this past Sunday, May 30, titled “It’s time for Kate Brown to support Jordan Cove”.
Jordan Cove is the eco-friendly name for a significantly UNfriendly LNG export terminal being proposed in Coos Bay on the Oregon coast. Something I frequently notice in the Oregonian’s editorials is how inconsistent they are regarding who should get to decide whether a proposal is approved or not. Sometimes they rail against big government and demand that more localized decision-making rule the day. Other days, they rail against local communities having the gall to block projects which big government seems gung-ho to support.
There’s a very simple litmus test that’s required to understand that in fact, contrary to how it appears on the surface, the Oregonian is extremely consistent in it’s editorials. What’s the litmus test? It’s one simple question. And that question is, “Which side is supported by the directors of large corporations?”. The Oregonian’s editorial board always stands on the side of large corporations, regardless of the issue. And we really ought not to be surprised, given that the Oregonian and OregonLive are owned by a massively large privately-held media corporation named Advance Publications, that owns dozens of other newspapers and magazines. You might be surprised by the list of what else it owns. Wikipedia has a page solely devoted to Advance Publications. Check it out.
In the case of the editorial board’s analysis of the proposed Jordan Cove LNG terminal and pipeline, they insist that our new governor must support this terminal because “to do so would signal to coastal residents that self-determination matters everywhere in Oregon, not just in Portland, and that Salem stands by to help”. But what if the coastal residents yearning for self-determination are mostly opposed to the terminal? Will those same residents then become the latest example of pesky activists getting in the way of progress? One has to wonder!
The editorial writers claim they are grieving the “decline of Oregon’s natural resource economy”, but this is just code for those pesky environmentalists who won’t let industry cut the last remaining 3% of old growth forests or dig yet another toxic mine. Yes, Oregon’s natural resource economy has certainly declined rapidly over this past 60 years but it isn’t because of “unyielding environmentalists”. That blame can be laid squarely at the foot of another culprit – a finite planet. The editorial board seems either incapable or unwilling to acknowledge that there might just be actual measureable limits to economic growth on planet Earth. One of my favorite quotes that I learned in my college days is that endless growth is the ideology of a cancer cell. By definition, it ultimately kills its host when it runs out of something to eat. That same ideology is alive and well today in every corporate newspaper’s editorial board. If we are to ever tackle the certifiably insane mantra of endless economic growth based on natural resource extraction, it will happen only when we end corporate ownership of our mainstream media institutions, and reclaim our right of self-government.
The Oregonian’s editorial board has never seen a resource extraction project it didn’t like. In this particular case, with the proposed terminal being located in the tsunami zone on a rugged coastline, and with the proposed 231-mile pipeline crossing an equally rugged hilly landscape where private landowners will have their properties seized under eminent domain laws if they don’t comply with the pipeline owner’s demands, they still claim that the project could be completed with only minimal risk, with Oregon’s conservation laws left intact, and the coastline protected. I might argue otherwise, and wonder aloud that in a democratized economy, where the 99% gains access to investment capital to decide publicly and accountably what the future of Coos County would look like, I’m quite doubtful that a very dangerous LNG terminal would be the economic development choice of the local residents. But we’ll never find out whether I’m right or wrong unless and until The People of Coos County organize to take their decision-making authority back from large corporations.
Yes, the Oregonian can claim that building this LNG terminal and pipeline poses minimal risk, but of course that’s what the corporate leaders said about the oil pipeline that’s has now poisoned more than a dozen miles of the Santa Barbara coastline. To them, a destabilized climate and an ocean covered in oil are merely a cost of doing business. To the rest of us, it’s a matter of life and death. How much longer will We the People allow corporate leaders – be they from media or fossil fuel corporations – to influence the decisions that should be ours to make?
You’ve been listening to the weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos. You can hear future commentaries every Tuesday on the KBOO Evening News in Portland, Oregon, and on a growing number of other radio stations. I welcome your feedback.
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