- The Washington Times - Monday, July 9, 2001

"All the spin that's fit to print." Perhaps that should be the new motto of The New York Times. Certainly it would be more accurate, especially considering the recent front page story on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), a willed propaganda triumph of such magnitude that it would probably have brought tears to the eyes of Leni Riefenstahl.
The story, really a travelogue liberally sprinkled with left-wing commentary, told of the adventures of eco-tourists who, fearing the administration's energetic plans, are rushing to the area to create personal wildlife preserves on Kodak paper. The impression is given that kodiaks, "majestic" herds of caribou, "plump ptarmigans," and a beastiary of other amazing creatures are sure to vanish when oil derricks are dropped indiscriminately across the 19 million acre range. Full-color, postcard sized photographs of the area's amazing wilderness demonstrate the madness of the idea that (in the article's words) "the area…could withstand a bit of drilling."
There is only one problem: The area that the tourists, and the Times photographer and reporter visited, is completely off limits to oil exploration. Had that gaggle of Thoreau wanna-be's run out of Kodak paper or pontificating ink, they could have visited the village of Kaktovik or the military installations near it, both of which are located in the 1002 area on the ANWR Costal Plain, where oil exploration would actually take place. About 300 Inupiat Eskimos live in the community, many of whom depend on caribou for sustenance and yet hope that they will be allowed to benefit from the oil lying beneath them. They believe that Prudhoe Bay, where the caribou herd grew by nine-fold over the last 20 years, demonstrates that careful resource extraction will permit species preservation, even proliferation.
None of this was mentioned in the Times story: In fact, the entire story was a masterpiece of misimpression of giving correct facts while distorting the entire picture. Editors and writers at Americas newspaper of record certainly have a right to their written opinions, but they should keep them where they belong on the editorial pages.

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