The Green Menace

If anything, maintains Helvarg, the trend among radical Greens like Earth First!­ers in recent years has been away from monkey-wrenching and toward '60s-style c.d. And environmentalists, he says, are far more likely to be victims of violence: only six weeks ago, Earth First!­er David Chain, protesting logging in California's Humboldt County, was killed by a tree felled by a Pacific Lumber logger.

What makes the mainstream media's performance even less creditable is the fact that Arnold and Clausen have peddled these wares before. When Ted Kaczynski was arrested in 1996, the two tried to use the Unabomber to discredit Earth First! An ABC World News Tonight report claimed to have uncovered Kaczynski's connection to the group and credited Clausen with finding an Earth First! "hit list" that Kaczynski was said to have used to target one victim. Much was made of a Clausen claim that a "T. Casinski" had registered at a November 1994 conclave at the University of Montana at Missoula, "attended by top Earth First! members."

All this was set right by Alexander Cockburn in a May 1996 Nation column, which noted that the vaunted hit list had actually been put out by the anarchist zine Live Wild or Die (which had urged boycotts, parodies, and the like on its enemies), and that the Missoula gathering— in reality an open conference attended by some 500 people, including Oklahoma representative Mike Synar— showed no Kaczynski or Casinski on its attendance roster.

Perhaps it's asking too much for mainstream reporters and editors to be familiar with a Nation story. Still, ABC, CBS, and the Times have all produced lengthy reports in recent years on the Wise Use movement and virulent anti-environmentalists. Considering that much of this information was available in-house— not to mention out in the wild blue datastream— why haven't big media wised up?


  • The Voice's Monday deadline effectively prevents comment on the elections, but at least it can confidently be said that Al D'Amato went into the voting booth quaking, judging by the desperation betrayed by Post front pages this weekend. The Post's own daily tracking polls, begun October 23, essentially showed D'Amato and Schumer in a week-long dead heat, but on Sunday the tab trumpeted "Al Storms Ahead" when D'Amato's numbers inched above Schumer's— despite the fact that Al's 1.3 percent lead, as the inside story confessed, was "well within the survey's 3.8-point margin of error." Funny how, on Tuesday, when Schumer's numbers jumped above D'Amato's by 4.2 points, the Post didn't find that so newsworthy. Instead, it plastered its D'Amato endorsement on the cover and whispered that "Chuck squeaks ahead of Al" inside. Finally, when Chuck and Al remained tied the day before the election, the Post buried its poll again, fronting yet another D'Amato endorsement. . . .

  • The November issue of Harper's is crowded with hate mail for Vince Passaro's August essay on his money troubles— more missives, surmises one Harper's insider, than the mag has ever gotten for one piece. Legions were irked by Passaro's lengthy whine about going broke— considering his $100K salary and (gulp) $900-a-month rent-controlled apartment. Well, get out your poison pens, because the current ish of Elle features Passaro in a familiar pose: this time, he bemoans his plight as a man, burdened, among other things, by "that important late-twentieth-century conception of justice for women." Sample: "Even less-than-prominent men weren't stumbling around their houses at midnight cleaning up after their families when we were kids." . . .

  • Last week's Press Clips column, on the controversial $100K donation the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation took from Coors, was joined on the newsstand by a November 2 Time mag piece that limned Coors as a paradigm of "corporate leftism" for its "socially progressive policies." The piece never mentioned the gay and lesbian boycott of Coors. Wonder if GLAAD will protest?
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