Monday, October 12, 2009

Connecticut Post Attempts to Criticize Soundkeeper Terry Backer and Comes Up With Next to Nothing

I wasn't impressed with the Connecticut Post stories over the weekend about Long Island Soundkeeper Terry Backer. The Post's big discovery? Terry makes a living as an environmentalist.

The Post also uses a lame and lazy trick of implying that Terry has numerous critics, when in fact only two are cited and only one is quoted at any length. Look at these examples:

"Backer's ... harshest critics agree ... "

"Backer, 55, calls protecting the Sound's environmental health his life's work. Others say it been his way of bailing out of the hard life of an oysterman to make money as a litigious advocate."

"Some say he is an opportunist..."

"... critics also point out..."

"But critics..."

"Some critics accused Backer ..."

What all these vague, plural nouns mean is that the reporter wants to suggest some criticisms himself but can't find anyone to level them for him.

The truth, apparently, is that only Doc Gunther, a 90-year-old retired state Senator and acknowledged "political foe" of Backer's, would criticize him on the record. The one other critic cited in the story is an oysterman who once testified that Terry's position on the siting of cables crossing under Long Island Sound has not always been consistent. Sorry but that's not exactly an impartial jury of his peers.

The reporter also allows Gunther to claim that Terry has a conflict of interest, but nowhere does he explain what the conflict is. Is it because Terry is both a paid environmental watchdog and an elected official? Maybe, but please explain the conflict.

The reporter also writes this:

Gunther, who dedicated much of his legislative career to environmental issues, said Backer has been shrewdly playing a role to successfully win multimillion-dollar lawsuits against major polluters like New York City for dumping raw sewage illegally into Long Island Sound, as well as against municipal sewage treatments plants around Connecticut.

In other words, Backer's job is to sue polluters and Gunther is criticizing him for suing polluters, and not just for suing but for doing so shrewdly. Heavy stuff.

Read it for yourself here.


Blogger matthew houskeeper said...

Unfortunately, the story was picked up by several other papers in Hartford, Norwalk, and Staten Island

8:56 AM  

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