It's Delightful, It's Delovely, It's Bituminous (Coal Porter)Mine Every Mountain
Thank the Almighty -- I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm Because My Electric Bills Will Be So High Because of Obama's War on Coal That Is If He Doesn't Bankrupt the Country First (classic remix)
Some country sounds:
The E-P-A Makes Me W-E-E-PMy Woman's Gone, My Dog Died, and Obama Just Got Re-electedThe Only Natural Gas I Like Comes From Beans
And of course, some "classic rock" covers:
Stop Making SenseYou Can't Always Get What You WantLight My Fire (With Something Other Than Natural Gas)In a Gadda Da Vida
- It presents only one side. There are seldom any explanations for why governments, organizations, and individuals want to limit the use of coal. Beyond the ludicrous ones (the Intelligencer sometimes claims that it is a "vendetta" by Obama), the explanations that are offered seldom do justice to the arguments presented by the other side.
- The articles never mention that most of the jobs lost in the coal industry occurred a generation ago.
- The articles seldom deal with today's economic realities - that other sources of energy (for example, natural gas) are much cheaper.
- The industry people quoted in the article are never asked a tough question. For example, this article's final paragraph tells us that "(t)he 214 Mountain State layoffs come as Murray announced plans last week to pay $1.37 billion for a 34 percent stake in St. Louis-based coal company, Foresight Energy." Okay, Murray Energy, if the future of coal is so bleak, why did you just pay over a billion dollars for a stake in another coal company?
Murray Energy on the front page (again)
I have joked in the past that the real owners of Ogden Newspapers are the coal companies. Whatever the coal companies do gets covered regardless of whether its news or not and seldom is another point of view mentioned.
For example, Bob Murray of Murray Energy is on the front page of one of our local "newspapers" at least once a month even if it’s for giving the same anti-EPA, anti-Obama speech he gave the previous month. Today’s Intelligencer tells us that there will be no mining under Barkcamp State Park in Ohio because Murray Energy withdrew its application. (Even though he’s not quoted in the article, there is still a picture of Murray on the front page.) They withdrew it because the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said that it would take 4 to 6 months to review all aspects of the application.
Could there be some possible objections to this mining from local residents? Shouldn’t we hear what the citizens think about mining under a state park? The article doesn’t suggest any reason to not grant Murray his wishes. I don’t live in Ohio but I’m still glad that they are looking at all aspects before allowing the company to proceed.
On Wednesday, I wrote about the President of Murray Energy’s speech to the Wheeling Rotary (see below). Since Robert Murray appeared to present nothing new, and since he apparently gave the same or a similar speech to the Kiwanis in December, I asked why is this being covered as front page news? I should have known – like the PR releases from coal companies, it’s so that the "newspaper" can write an editorial using its bogus statistics:
Shut-down mines and laid-off miners are bad enough. Murray cited one study indicating that for every miner, as many as 11 indirect jobs are created. Here in the Ohio Valley alone, that points to nearly 50,000 jobs reliant on his mines, Murray added.
As noted in the post below, Murray didn’t cite his source and I could not find his "11 indirect jobs" source anywhere on the web. Instead I found sources that suggested a much lower number of indirect jobs. I cited the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis which puts the number around 4. Additionally, here is a chart from the University of Massachusetts’ Political Economy and Research Institute as cited by Sightline Daily:
After reviewing this data, Eric de Place concluded:
. . . it’s hard to make a worse jobs investment than coal. Nearly any other infrastructure investment produces more jobs than coal, even when you factor in the indirect jobs and other secondary jobs.
Finally, even Arch Coal only claims seven indirect jobs.
But we are not done yet:
That led to Murray's two questions during his speech: "Did you know (Obama) is doubling the cost of your electricity? Did you know that people who manufacture a product for the global marketplace are not going to be able to compete because electricity prices are going to be so high?"
Any sources for either of these points? Murray gave none nor did the editorial. Once again we are asked to take the president of a coal company’s word for it. Could there be any source more biased than Robert Murray on this subject? What happened to the idea that editorial writers ought to do their own independent research? I will say it again – on the issue of coal our "newspapers" have abandoned all the usual standards of what is objective and fair – they are simply a propaganda outlet for the coal industry.
In the editorial we are once again told that the administration has a "vendetta" against coal. A vendetta is, according to the online Free Dictionary, "a feud between two families or clans that arises out of a slaying and is perpetuated by retaliatory acts of revenge; a blood feud." Yeah, that’s right -- the President and his administration see this as a "blood feud." My guess is that when your only source of evidence in your editorial is Robert Murray, it’s probably not a bad idea to add (just in case) that the Obama administration is committing some personal act of revenge against the coal industry (and by extension – West Virginians).
It’s déjà vu all over again
On December 4, Robert Murray addressed the local Kiwanis Club. The Intelligencer put him on the front page. Here is part of what I wrote:
Murray gave us no new information. Instead he called the Obama’s administration "insane" and "regal" and then noted how, with Nancy Pelosi’s help, they are "out to wreck most of America." How can anything found in the article be considered "news"? Does it make any of us better informed? Does it enrich our understanding of the world around us? Does it make any attempt to contrast Murray’s rants with another point of view? And for regular readers of the Intelligencer, how is this different from the usual propaganda that we’re fed? No, it’s just more crap from the coal industry passed off as front page news.
Yesterday Robert Murray addressed the local Rotary Club. The Intelligencer put him on the front page. Since today’s coverage of what he actually said was limited, my guess is that it was probably the same speech in which case the above criticism still applies. (I don’t like to quote myself but in this case I didn’t think that I needed to reinvent the wheel.) Today’s front page article does give us more biographical details (who cares?) and it actually notes that Murray used evidence:
Murray noted a university study shows for every one direct coal mining job, 11 indirect jobs are created.
I spent some time looking for this specific evidence but could not find the "11 indirect jobs created" source. The sources I found make that number much smaller. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, for example, says that 4.4 indirect jobs are created.
Kiwanis Club – check. Rotary Club – check. Who’s up next month? Civitan? Lions Club? Whoever it is, I’m sure that it will be front page news.
Two weeks ago I wrote (see "coal company propaganda" in November) about a front page article in the Intelligencer’s that treated a clearly biased study commissioned by Peabody Energy as real news. Today, the Intelligencer continued its role as a major propaganda vehicle for the coal industry with another front page article about what Murray Coal president Robert Murray told the Wheeling Kiwanis Club yesterday. Murray gave us no new information. Instead he called the Obama’s administration "insane" and "regal" and then noted how, with Nancy Pelosi’s help, they are "out to wreck most of America." How can anything found in the article be considered "news"? Does it make any of us better informed? Does it enrich our understanding of the world around us? Does it make any attempt to contrast Murray’s rants with another point of view? And for regular readers of the Intelligencer, how is this different from the usual propaganda that we’re fed? No, it’s just more crap from the coal industry passed off as front page news.
We very much need a vigorous debate on the future of the coal industry in West Virginia. Unfortunately, Wheeling media (especially its newspapers) are not providing it.
Pennsylvania woman sues - she claims that she lost her job at Murray Energy because she did not give money to Robert E. Murray’s chosen candidates
Ken Ward Jr. at the Charleston Gazette first covered this story yesterday and Think Progress gave it wider coverage today. The lawsuit alleges:
that Jean F. Cochenour was fired from her job as a foreman at the Marion County Mine because of her "failure to donate" to political candidates preferred by company founder Robert Murray.
Murray allegedly sent letters to employees at the Marion County Mine, asking them to support pro-coal candidates for political office. The lawsuit claims Murray would keep track of who made the requested contributions, and who didn’t. This practice was known to the mine’s employees, the suit says, citing "at least one manager" who told Cochenour that failing to contribute could impact her job.
For those who think this is an isolated incident, we need only go back to the 2012 campaign when The New Republic, among others, documented how Murray often coerced employees to donate to Republicans. Also in 2012, local talk show host David Blomquist gave a voice to the local miners who were forced to attend an Ohio Romney campaign event without pay.
This lawsuit could be interesting although those of us living in the Wheeling area may need to look elsewhere for coverage.