Raffi Khatchadourian on the BP oil spill in the New Yorker, March 14:
It is possible to fight a forest fire and not be distracted by how the calamity was caused, and whether the cause taints the integrity of the people who deal with it. But oil spills are saturated in blame and political confusion—and opportunity. There is a sense that they are not accidents but accidents waiting to happen, and thus acts of greed. As a result, oil-soaked birds and fish come to symbolize a reviled industry's heedless behavior. Every year, as many as four hundred thousand birds are killed in America by electricity-generating wind turbines, but they do not make the cover of Time.Also in Notable & Quotable today,
Juan Williams on the latest scandal at NPR, his former employer.
Former NPR commentator Juan Williams writing in the New York Post, March 15:
The recent videotape showing NPR chief fund-raiser Ron Schiller . . . is just an open microphone on what I've been hearing from NPR top executives and editors for years. They're willing to do anything in service to any liberal with money, and then they'll turn around and in self-righteous indignation claim that they have cleaner hands than anybody in the news business who accepts advertising or expresses a point of view.
Ron Schiller's performance on videotape—which included lecturing two young men pretending to be Muslims on how to select wine—is a "South Park"-worthy caricature of the American liberal as an effete, Volvo-driving, wine-sipping, NPR-listening dunderhead.
NPR's many outstanding journalists are caught in a game where they are trying to please a leadership that doesn't want to hear stories that contradict the official point of view. . . . This just confirms my belief that it is time for our government to get out of the business of funding NPR. The idea, to me, of government-funded media doesn't fit the United States.