Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nobody Out Here But Us Rubes II

Inexplicably, the New York Times seems to be determined to offend its readers and potential readers. It is no wonder its stock price is down 71.5% in just the last five years (graph below).
Just last Friday, I wrote about a Times story describing a global warming quiz and how supposedly uninformed most people were when -- in fact -- the answers given by those surveyed were more accurate than the questions in the poll!

Today's offensive article deals with how some Kansans are trying to improve energy efficiency, a goal I certainly support. It also cites the leadership of Nancy Jackson of the Climate & Energy Project for separating the global warming hypothesis from the necessity of conserving energy in an intelligent manner.

So, what is the problem? The patronizing tone of the article toward Kansas and Kansans and the cliches regarding our state.

I think it is amazing they contend that a state with a Democratic governor, lieutenant governor, Secretary of State, state treasurer, and a mixed House delegation is "dominated" by Republicans. Opposition to abortion? A majority of Americans call themselves "pro-life." Kansas (for better or worse) has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the nation.

This paragraph, to me, is especially irritating:

Attempts by the Obama administration to regulate greenhouse gases are highly unpopular here because of opposition to large-scale government intervention. Some are skeptical that humans might fundamentally alter a world that was created by God.

I know Kansans of virtually every religious faith (as well as non-believers) and I have never -- not once -- heard any Kansan express sentiments as stated above. Could there be someone who expressed this to the reporter? Maybe, but there are outliers everywhere.

Kansans, by and large, have a very healthy respect for the land and for nature. It is in our DNA.

We love and treasure the outdoors and the environment more than most.

Kansas has numerous farms that have been in the same families for generations. The Symphony in the Flint Hills (pictured above) sells out in less than an hour each year. The fact that many of us have a healthy skepticism about environmental fads and exaggerations is a sign of good sense, not "fundamentalism."

I invite the New York Times to open a "central U.S." bureau in Wichita and rotate some of its reporters and editors through the bureau. Then, perhaps, after routinely interacting with the great people here, their coverage would not suffer from the condescension that seems to plague their stories when they venture west of Chicago and east of Denver.

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