Weekend roundup of opinion and commentary

On new “Bush 41” biography: “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush”  by Jon Meacham

This week a new biography of former President George H.W. Bush is in the news. In it he bashes his son’s advisers, taking particular aim at former Vice-President Dick Cheney (to whom he attached the nickname “Iron Ass”) and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (whom he called “an arrogant fellow”) for misleading President George W. Bush about Iraq and other matters. Here’s cartoonist marquil’s take on the critique:

More marquil cartoons

In a statement to NBC News, Rumsfeld said, “Bush 41 is getting up in years and misjudges Bush 43, who I found made his own decisions.”


On Alcoa layoffs in Massena

NCPR has been reporting on the news that Alcoa is further cutting back its more than century-old connection to the North Country, with plans to end smelting operations and idle 500 workers in Massena. David Sommerstein has been reporting on reaction from workers and other stakeholders, and on a meeting of political leaders hoping to roll back the move.

These stories have drawn a lot of comment from NCPR listeners. Here are a few:

Hawkeye said: “I’d like to see some reporting about how much the CEOs make, and how much in federal and state corporate welfare they’ve taken. Saying that this company is shedding tens of millions in payroll is not the whole story when you consider how much taxpayer money has flowed from the local communities, and continues to flow right now, TO Alcoa.”

Kim Bashaw said: “Alcoa had a contract with the power authority agreeing to maintain jobs in return for cheap power. They have failed to keep up their end of the bargain. Bill Alcoa at the normal rate for all the power they have consumed under the contract and use the money to help the families displaced by corporate greed.”

Rancid Crabtree said: “Any intelligent, thinking person can grasp that a company has to remain profitable to remain in business and to grow. We can all see that I would hope. Class warfare is not a solution. No matter how much the top dogs make, you can’t legislate them into poverty and keep the business going. It won’t work.”

Homer Mitchell weighed in on Facebook “Terrible. Not much population up here in the stocks. Very few job opportunities. Massena lost Reynolds a few years back, then General Motors. Alcoa has been a mainstay of the community and the surrounding region. Devastating.”


On Exxon Mobil and climate change

NPR Ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen is responding to criticism of the network for not doing independent reporting on the story of Exxon Mobil’s pioneering research pointing toward human causation in climate change and then their subsequent about-face funding “climate deniers” for decades. Despite extensive reporting in The Guardian, by PBS and Los Angeles Times, “NPR did not report on any of these findings, which has made some listeners unhappy,” Jensen wrote.

Elsewhere in her post she said, “No news organization likes to follow another publication’s scoop—largely as a point of pride—but NPR does not seem to have that problem, at least as far as I have observed. . . . Edith Chapin, NPR’s executive editor, told me by email that she believes NPR dropped the ball. . . . My [Jensen’s] take: The story was on the radar of at least some in the newsroom, but it seems to have fallen through the cracks.”

NPR’s blog The Two-Way is reporting on one aspect of the story today: N.Y. Attorney General Investigates Whether Exxon Mobil Lied On Climate Change


Editor’s note: While NCPR is not in the opinion and advocacy journalism business, nor does it want to be, we do think there is a useful role for us in bringing forward a sampling of interesting conversations around controversial subjects in the region and the nation. The post above is a pilot effort in trying to do that job. The plan is to regularly scan the region’s media and the wider media environment for conversations that might be of interest to our readers. It will eventually have its own home, but we are using our All In blog to try the idea out. Is this something you want to see more of? Let us know in a comment below.

3 Comments on “Weekend roundup of opinion and commentary”

  1. Leslie Anne King says:

    No suggestions beyond “Keep it up”. This is a good idea and I look forward to following it.

  2. jeff says:

    There is enough information even from government sources like NOAA to justify questioning the extent of the propaganda claiming gloom and doom of man-caused global warming. The seas have been higher, they have been lower and the ice cover has been declining over 10,000 years and has in the last 500 years seen an increase per the government chart. I am not saying man has had no impact but I am not persuaded the sky is falling.

    The question for NCPR is are there more important things for the AG to be doing. I expect so. In the categorization of things this one is not important not urgent or lower. While deceit is worth revelation, court cases are expensive and we pay for it on both side of the aisle- in taxes or increase in product price. So he is having his fun at our expense. Will he save the planet, is this an environmental benefit by attempting to disprove climate change opponents? I expect he is doing this to justify his existence.

  3. Ellen B says:

    Like it! A weekly roundup is a good idea, especially coming out on the weekend.

Comments are closed.