By Denise Tessier
Last month, the day after about 400 people marched in Albuquerque and hundreds of thousands marched worldwide to demand action on climate change, the Albuquerque Journal ran a relevant but industry-slanted piece that was soon after debunked by one of the paper’s own readers and nationally discredited by the watchdog site, Media Matters.
The timing in running the piece likely was mere coincidence when Journal editors decided to give generous Op-Ed page space to “Plastic bag bans not a panacea for the environment.” But that it would run questionable information and overlook the industry background of the writer is of more egregious concern, and gives the impression the Journal essentially has chosen to chastise two New Mexico cities for banning plastic bags.
The piece was written by Julian Morris, listed as “Vice President of Research” for the Reason Foundation, which, as pointed out by Journal letter writer Bruce G. Trigg, is funded in part by the Koch brothers, one of whom, David Koch, serves as a Foundation trustee. It can be said that these industrial billionaires have an interest in plastic bags, which in the United States are made from a waste by-product of natural gas refining, according to American Plastic Manufacturing.
Let’s look at just the first few paragraphs in the Morris column:
Over 200 municipalities in the United States, including two in New Mexico – Santa Fe and Silver City – have banned the distribution of lightweight plastic shopping bags.
Proponents of these bag bans claim they will reduce litter and protect the marine environment, diminish our consumption of resources and emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce waste and save taxpayers’ money.
. . . a recent report for the Reason Foundation shows that all these claims are false. (My emphasis added.)
Media Matters’ point-by-point analysis of Morris’s article shows the claims by bag ban proponents are not false, and instead it was Morris making misleading and false claims in his widely disseminated opinion piece. [Read more →]