Letter to the editor | Column was pure propaganda

March 5, 2014 

I was very disappointed to read the column on energy policy by Nicolas Loris (CDT, Saturday).

The author argues in broad sweeps about the harm environmental regulations are having on the energy industry and the need to reverse the federal government’s “senseless assault” on coal.

While I appreciate the harsh economics of the newspaper business, I would like to hope that there is a better solution to reporting news and opinion than to publish propaganda pieces by industry-supported spokespeople decrying regulations that limit the ability of the petroleum industry to maximize corporate profits.

The writer, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, was trained in a policy program run by the Koch brothers, whose billions were made in petroleum refining and distribution.

The Heritage Foundation, also founded and supported by captains of industry, has under the recent leadership of Jim DeMint increasingly focused on right-wing political causes (such as minimizing regulations aimed at protecting the environment) rather than sound policy ideas.

Hiring spokespeople to pen newspaper columns promoting the views of the energy-extraction industry seems like a very sensible way for the Heritage Foundation to continue the generous flow of financial support from its corporate benefactors.

However, that doesn’t mean that the CDT should publish this promotional material in the opinion section. At a minimum, the paper should charge the Heritage Foundation to run the piece, appropriately label it as advertising and use that money to hire newspaper columnists not beholden to their industry benefactors.

Will Hancock, State College

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