Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The energy consumption Nazis

There was a prototypically vapid article in the Oregonian today about Portland's goal of cutting fuel consumption in half by the year 2030.

It was written by Stephen Beaven, a fellow I have not met. I'm not sure where he learned to be a journalist, but wherever it was, it seems these days that the Oregonian gets all of their reporters from there.

So the City Council is going to pass this resolution saying Portland (and not just the city government - they are talking about residents too!) should cut fuel consumption in half. Now why should we do that?

The article answers: it is to "head off predictions of a looming oil shortage."

Now, if this prediction did come true, then the price of oil would go up, right? And then the consumers' response would be to consume less of it, and oil subsitutes would be more viable, and life would go on as it always has. Why do we need city government to intervene by coercing people in all sorts of ways to decrease their oil consumption?

Well, of course it is because this is another way to push the same agenda they have been pushing all along, which has not done what they said it would. For years they have tried to get us out of our cars by building light rail and making sure roads are congested. Has it worked? Nope. Vehicle miles travelled per capita is higher today than when they started.

So they have to control more things to meet their goals.

I can't believe that a reporter would write some of this stuff with a straight face. First, how do the know oil prices are going to skyrocket? Whose prediction is it? Peak oil? Wouldn't a serious journalist challenge that assertion, especially since it is a "prediction" that appears to be the basis for dramatic public policy initiatives that will change the way we all live.

But there wasn't a single word in article devoted to investigating the veracity of this prediction.

Then, the article says:
"But Commissioner Sam Adams said the future of fossil fuel requires a fresh approach."

Adams sees a bigger investment in mass transit to limit one-person car commuters. That could mean expanded streetcar lines, more marketing for car pools or more buses. It could also mean a freeway toll lane.

Portland is known for redevelopment projects that include housing and retail and thus limit driving. Adams said the city might push that type of development further.

A FRESH APPROACH??!! This is precisely what they have been doing for a couple of decades, and it has not worked as they said. Did the reporter challenge Adams on this point? Apparently not. In the Oregonian school of reporting, you simply print what the politicians say, no critical inquiry necessary.

If that wasn't bad enough, Beaven follows this up with pure editorializing:

"...everyone knows, dependence on fossil fuel isn't sustainable, especially with predictions that say the global production of oil could peak in the next 10 to 15 years."

This is incredible. Everyone "knows" no such thing. And these "predictions" are straight out of the peak oil propaganda and have nothing to do with reality. For a newspaper to print this stuff in a news article is simply stunning.

Conspicuous in its absence was any quote from a single person who might be skeptical of either the problem or the solution being proposed. So here is a major public policy initiative being proposed, one that would have significant ramifications on the way people in Portland live, based on "predictions" and policies that have demonstrably failed in the past, and the crack reporter Stephen Beaven didn't feel the story warranted so much as a single skeptical voice.

Is it any wonder why the Oregonian has become such a joke?


Mick said...

Weren't you criticizing Al Gore just the other day for a Nazi comparison?

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a zinger!

Please tell me you're just trying to make some lame, partisan point.

Nobody's THAT obtuse.

Are they?

Rob Kremer said...

Well, guys, the Nazis were totalitarians who used propaganda and coercion to control the people and keep their fascist government in power.

Fascism is tolerant of the private sector as long as the privately controlled assets are used to further the interests and policies of the government.

So, sure, using the Nazi analogy is certainly hyperbolic, given that the Nazis also were overt racists and snuffed out millions of Jews (and I don't claim today's Portland left is murderous.)

But there are definite fascist parallels in the propaganda, coercion and public/private partnership approach here.

And Mick - I criticize Al Gore for comparing western capitalism to the Nazi war machine because the comparison is so utterly stupid. There are any parallels whatever.

Jack Bog said...

the crack reporter Stephen Beaven

Rob, the crack reporters are all over at the Merc.

Think of how much energy we'll save when we stop printing information on paper, driving it around to the front porches of people's houses and display boxes in the middle of the night and all morning, and then having everybody throw the paper out for recycling in a matter of hours. Eliminating the print edition of the O will get us close to the 50% energy savings all by itself.

Max said...

The O has simply redefined the term, "crack reporter". Whereas the term used to refer to highly-skilled, inquisitive types, today it simply means that they're on crack.

Scott Moore said...

Jack, I almost never smoke crack.

Scott Moore
Portland Mercury

Anonymous said...

In the Oregonian school of reporting, you simply print what the politicians say, no critical inquiry necessary.

Not exactly. It does work that way for thumping collectivist pols. For others, they dole out the "ignore-deride-ignore" treatment. It's worse than crack. WW and Scott Mercury do it too.

OregonCrossroads said...

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Anonymous said...

I find it quite amusing to read Scott Moore's leftist tripe in the Merc. Someone so self-important and sanctimonious, yet so completely clueless is always good for a laugh.

And he's supposed to be the paper's objective reporter. Pffft.