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Letter: Empire editorial a poorly-written rant

Posted: November 24, 2013 - 1:06am

I enjoyed reading the Juneau Empire’s Nov. 17 editorial about ANWR, but from the perspective of an example of a poorly written editorial. I more enjoy reading well written editorials and articles from all points of view.

The editorial read more like a rant. It unnecessarily adds fuel to the fire of us versus them, Alaskans versus the Lower 48. Aren’t we all first and foremost Americans? Seems to me that it is important to keep in mind that ANWR is a national refuge, not an Alaskan refuge, and should be managed from that perspective. Sure, managers should respect the views of Alaskans, but not to the point of ignoring the rest of America’s citizens just because ANWR happens to be in Alaska. As you know, there are national refuges spread all across America.

The piece implies that the Empire knows the two U.S. Senators well enough to understand their motives for what they propose. The editorial seems to imply that all national interest lands should be accessible to all families by road. Does the editorial’s authors have some awareness and sensitivity to where we live? I do know a person who provided access to ANWR without a helicopter, dog sled or snowshoes. We should strive to offer a variety of recreational experiences in America. A person who dug up our septic field in Michigan expressed an interest in ANWR. He said that he would probably never go there, but he liked the idea that there was such a place in America. Like it or not, that is one point of view. And comparing managing ANWR to controlling the murder rate in Chicago was an entertaining stretch.

I think that the Empire’s side of the debate would be better served by sticking more to the facts/forecasts. The Empire could present things like Alaska’s need for more oil revenue, potential for more jobs in Alaska, oil independence in America, etc. The Empire should know (or could find out) the better talking points for its point of view on this subject. I would like to see them in a good editorial.

A person like me likes to read well written pieces on various topics from different points of view. Isn’t that what good journalism should strive for? It helps people like me better make informed judgments on the various issues of our day. I expect such a mature presentation (as evidenced by your many reprints of editorials from various other American papers) from a professional paper like the Juneau Empire, but can and do they want to play in the big leagues?

Bruce Conant


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