In defense of the cormorant -- and ethical journalism

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Fri, 05/19/2006 - 08:54.

I was so offended by the article the Plain Dealer ran on the cover Tuesday: "Ravenous birds facing last meal in Ohio soon" that I feel the need to post some factual inormation about cormorants. It is not that I necessarily oppose reducing the population of these birds -- what the article is essentially about -- its the over the top, purple prose I find insulting. i.e. "the cormorants look like prehistoric lizard-birds designed by Edgar Allan Poe on a bad night." Is this a phrase that belongs in Cleveland's daily paper or a cheap tabloid?  Why does reporter Bill Sloat want to make us hate these birds, and does he think readers are so impressionable? Can't he just tell us the facts? There is actually an interesting story here -- about the human impact on nature.

I don't expect the PD to hire an ornothologist to write a story like this (though should have consulted one of the many local bird experts), but a more scientific approach to this story should have been taken. 

See Wikipedia for a much more flattering description of the cormorant. In the past, cormorants have inspired poetry, been exploited by man for their fishing abilities and been depicted on heraldic crests.

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PD is reflection of NEO - do we like who we see?

Don't think this isn't intentional. In the years ahead, because of sprawl, the government in every form will slaughter trillions of living things in the name of conservation, and ecology, and health, and progress, and gardening. Look at the deer kills on the country club golf courses... and all over the suburbs - the media folks (who largely live out in the 'burbs), and are certainly all paid by folks living in even fancier deer killing  'burbs - don't want people thinking of deer as "bambi" but "rabid-poodle-stomping-grandma-killing-Hummer-scratching-azalea-eating menaces-from-hell"

In Florida they are starting the alligator slaughters. Our lakes are full of funky water life from China and such, so the government is poisoning our rivers to kill one species - god-don't-know what impact that has on everything else. The government and industry are so messing up our ecology it can't be fixed without complete reprogramming all Americans to stand up for nature, driving a social movement in a direction the opposite of the PD's current vision.

Today the PD has a front page metro section article on "Odd Sounding Clinic study" about the electrocution killing of pigs at the Cleveland Clinic, which they make sound like a trip to Disney for the pigs - it is appauling. This is planted to protect the Clinic and the corporation they are paid by - Taser International Inc. - against protests by animal rights activists and decent people. Case has a massive "Mouse Hotel" where they torture and kill all sorts of cute animals for hire and it makes them lots of money - don't bother trying to get anyone to care about those animals' rights in a recession, or in NEO. And with a war in Iraq to stop, and GEM to kill us, who has the bandwidth to care abut bambi anyways.

The Clinic probably buys $ millions in advertising a year from the PD so they get exceptional coverage - they are the future of our economy - remember, the PD is just a business... it is not a public service, they do not have the responsibility or even business objective to be your paper or my paper - they are a reflection of all the individuals at the PD who write the PD - mostly white men and women - union - suburban - what else? What do they drive... SUVs or hybrids? Where do they live... how do they vote... where were they educated... religion... any Native Americans... what are their footprints on Easth?

I know lots of great people at the PD - I like everyone there I know - I think they are good at what they do - I just think they are not a diverse enough demographic for making Cleveland attractive for the new economy - they reflect NEO pretty well - mostly old, white, suburban conservative middle-America - the PD is and feels end-of-life-baby-boomer... problem is, those are the folks who put America in this mess... and they made some screwed up kids who are trying to run the country now, and making things far worse... second generation loosers like George W., put in place by second generation losers who made America a toxic and globally dispised "only superpower" (oops, forgot about China).

Perhaps after a few more of their old guard die off, they'll gain a new energy and consciousness at the PD, and help spread that around NEO and Ohio and the mid-west and America - then we'll become an attractive new economy place to live.

In the coming years, the rest of America will step up to the challenge of converting our nation from a global disgrace to a good global citizen, and from energy hog to green - for example, the state of NY is going 25% renewable energy by 2013. The worst offense I see in the PD right now, today, is that while all intelligent people now understand we are in an energy crisis and all people must become enlightened to conserve, two covers of the PD "Your Car" section this week featured vehicles that probably get less than 10 miles per gallon - one being the pathetic hillbilly "treehouse" pickup truck of some low PC Wahoo. Indians like that highlight the fact that the individual Indians are personally responsible for very poor behavior and the disgrace of their team identity, which celebrates genocide - the players should refuse to drive such sick vehicles and they could refuse to be called the Indians.

I challenge the Indians and all other professional sports players, staff and owners, and the PD staff, to bring their gas mileage and data in line with USA national averages. I challenge the rest of us to do the same. And I challenge the Indians players to refuse to be "The Indians", "Tribe" or any such hate-brand and to not celebrate genocide any longer - if you can't come up with another name, see if Peter Lewis will sponsor your revolution and call yourselves the "Pros", for Progressive... the Q and the Pro - Quicken Loans and Progressive both made fortunes off common people paying lots of money for core services so they fit together well - I'm sure it would benefit both their businesses, on and off the field and court.