Sunday, June 12, 2011

Where there's fire, critics will blow smoke

by E. J. Montini, columnist - Jun. 12, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

To most of us, a monster wildfire is a tragedy. 
To others, it's an opportunity to score political points, something they do by following this simple strategy: Blame "radical environmentalists."
This is accomplished, first, by always referring to the people with whom you disagree on the protection of natural resources as "radical environmentalists." After all, if they disagree with you, they must be radical.

Second, tell the world that if only the radical environmentalists didn't use lawsuits to prevent forest-thinning operations, there would be no monster fires.
It's an easy argument to make and a difficult one for regular people to refute, mostly because news organizations haven't provided readers and viewers with the kind of coverage they need to make an informed judgment. And we know why.

The topic of forest management is (let's be honest) boring. It's entertaining when a politician appears on TV or writes an op-ed for the newspaper railing about how radical environmentalists want to prevent any tree from being cut. And it's fun when a member of the environmental community says that some politicians would allow their businessmen pals to cut down every tree.

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