Home Energy and Environment Here We Go Again with the Roanoke Times Editorial Page

Here We Go Again with the Roanoke Times Editorial Page

It's a very "commonon" problem with them

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Now, they’re baaaack…with this trash.

OK, so first of all, get a damn copy editor, and stop having glaring typos in your headlines (e.g., “commonon”), Roanoke Times!

But now to the core of the problem, which is that the Roanoke Times editorial page keeps publishing laughably bad – or worse – s***. For instance, back in April, I pointed out that, “Two Months After Publishing White Supremacist, Roanoke Times Editorial Page Hits Another New Low…This Time Fracked-Gas Pipeline Shill Ranting About Supposed ‘Eco-Terrorists’.” For more on that white supremacist op-ed, see here. Also note that this is the same editorial page which argued that attending town hall meetings and expressing our views are no more than “theatrics.” Brilliant.

And then there’s this morning’s editorial, “Second Amendment Sanctuary advocates and anti-pipeline activists have something in commonon [sic],” which argues that activists fighting to save our planet from environmental devastation are *just like* “crowds demanding their counties be declared a ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’.” ‘

Wait, wuuuuut? Seriously? Yep – the Roanoke Times editorial page actually is arguing that “Both [environmental activists and “Second Amendment Sanctuary” advocates] are engaged in a colorful act of futility that won’t accomplish what they think they’re accomplishing.” Because, you know, the first thing one thinks about when the subject of guns comes up is environmental protection, and vice versa. Riiiiight.

Now, in fairness, the vast majority of the Roanoke Times editorial – around 8 1/2 of the editorial’s 12 paragraphs – focuses not on environmental activists, but on the Second Amendment sanctuary issue. Which raises the question even more as to why the Roanoke Times felt the need to shoehorn the issue of the pipelines together with guns. For what it’s worth – and, warning, you risk serious loss of brain cells if you actually read the following – here’s the conclusion to the Roanoke Times editorial.

So…yeah, this is just a really, really bad take – dumber than dishwater, etc. In fact, non-violent civil disobedience, such as tree sitting to protest environmental destruction, can be *very* effective in raising public awareness of an issue, as well as in gaining support among the general public for one’s cause. Of course, such tactics can backfire if not done effectively. But in the case of the pipelines, there’s little if any doubt that folks like “Red” Terry and Emily Satterwhite gained a great deal of media attention, which would not have existed otherwise, for their cause.

Combine that non-violent civil disobedience with the undoubtedly crucial legal effort to stop the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipeline fracked-gas boondoggles, and the result has been delay after delay for both pipelines, costing the companies involved billions of dollars and years of delays, while doing a number on their stock values.

Finally, it’s important to push back on the Roanoke Times idiocy about how “Every moment spent sitting in the tree is wasted opportunity — because the anti-pipeline activists could be out raising money to pay the lawyers.”  So basically, the Roanoke Times is arguing that there’s only one form of activism – “raising money to pay the lawyers” – that’s worth doing, while other forms are a “wasted opportunity?” Of course, even if one believes that the only effective thing to do, as an activist, is to “[raise] money to pay the lawyers,” does the Roanoke Times actually believe that every activist is a skilled fundraiser, or has any desire to be one?

In the end, it’s ironic, and quite pathetic, that the Roanoke Times – last I checked, a journalistic outfit – doesn’t understand the value of narrative, of raising public awareness, and of using the media to get one’s message out. But again, this is the same paper that published a white supremacist, so…there you have it.

UPDATE: From the comments – “Plus the fact that the pipeline construction is an actual tangible act which is underway and affecting people. The 2nd Amendment sanctuary issue is tilting at a windmill which does not even exist. Which one is not like the other? What an analogy fail by the Roanoke Times.”

Also, from Sharon Ponton in the comments – “Actually, tree sitters have been pivotal, imo, of raising awareness, not only in VA, but across the region and country; thereby increasing the ability for pipeline opposition to raise money. Tactics used by groups are different…but all work toward common goals.,.stopping the pipelines, pursuing renewable energy and changing the laws which allow pipelines and deter renewables.”