Hoping for truth, decency in public discourse
A recent letter writer defended her friend and Hancock College colleague, Mark James Miller after my recent critique of his Feb. 23 column, “ Clean water, clean energy, clean planet.” The writer, however, made a few errors in her characterization of my letter.
First, she attributes to me the accusation that Food and Water Watch accepts “our tax dollars” as “corporate and government grants.” My letter contains no such assertion. What I did recommend was an examination of their income as cited in their 990 filings. While FWW and most of their “Big Green” cohorts cite “no corporate contributions accepted,” most obtain a large degree of financial support from a web of large nonprofit foundations dedicated to promoting progressive causes, support which comes with the same sort of ideological bias as the corporate funds they find so disdainful. I had hoped that Miller might have explored that one a bit further instead of accepting it at face value.
Second, the letter writer cites her Google research on the definition of “fracking,” and says that it is consistent with the definition given by Miller. The problem with this is that nowhere in his piece does Miller give a definition of “fracking.” What he actually wrote was the statement “Cyclic steam injection, otherwise known as fracking.” That statement remains false and misleading.
In the end, I must agree with the letter writer that I, too, would welcome a return of truth and decency in public discourse. Further, since numerous public polls have demonstrated that college professors are held in high esteem by the public as thought leaders, as well as by their impressionable students, they ought to use an extra measure of academic rigor in evaluating their statements.