I told you so

A grandfather's tale:
Why Cape Cod TODAY and I have backed Cape Wind for nine years
Huge boon for tourism, new jobs and pride in our leadership coming

By Walter Brooks, Editor, Cape Cod TODAY and Plymouth Daily News

I first heard about the proposal to build a wind farm on Nantucket Sound when it was proposed around the same time that United Flight 175 from Boston crashed into the World Trade Tower in New York City. We wrote an editorial shorty after that endorsing Cape Wind and urging our fellow Cape Codders to follow suit.

Listen to WBZ's Jon Keller's opinion of our NIMBY Senator John Kerry here.

That was an epiphany for me, and I knew on that day that the only way to protect America for my grand children from terrorists like these was for our nation was to stop buying Arab oil and find ways to generate enough renewable energy to become energy independent.

It seemed a natural that the recently announced plan to build the Cape Wind project could be a cornerstone for that effort, along with every other way to generate electricity without using the ever more costly petroleum which everyone knew will some day be used up.

After all, didn't Cape Codders back in 1775 become the very first citizens of this new nation's first revolution to take up arms against the British when our sea captains turned their ships into privateers to harass the Royal Navy a year before the writing of our Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776?

Why shouldn't this generation of Cape Codders start a Renewable Energy Revolution here as well?

Instead, our Cape Cod quickly divided into two warring camps, and the people who took each side on this most important issue of our time were obvious from the start.

Sadly not another Cape Cod newspaper followed our example, a far cry from the couragious journalists of two generations ago like Malcolm Hobbs of The Cape Codder who supported Jack Kennedy's dream of a National Seashore Park here even as it nearly destroyed his then young weekly.

After a few year or so Bill Hough's Falmouth Enterprise Newspapers began supporting Cape Wind, and they were followed by other great newspapers like the Boston Globe, Providence Journal, Hartford Courant and New York Times.

On one side were people who had the courage to make whatever sacrifice was needed to end America's dependence on fossil fuels. They knew that government wasn't the way to accomplish this, and that only our native, entrepreneurial imagination, and a willingness to invest one's own money instead of the taxpayer's, could solve this problem.

Naturally, businessmen and women willing to take these risks for our safety deserved the same support that the fossil fuel folks get for their new enterprises, and when federally owned land or sea beds are involved, pay they dues demanded by Washington for their use of federally owned property.

This pro Cape Wind group gradually grew until on Cape Cod it included literally every environmentalist and conservation organization and "Green" person.

On the opposite side were politicians who were either beholden to Ted Kennedy or wanted the benevolence of the wealthy, waterfront property owners who cared more about their private distant ocean view than America's safety, and these wealthy had tens of millions to spend to stop any renewable project since much of that wealth came from companies they owned or controlled in the fossil fuel industry.

Sadly this included almost every state level politician on Cape Cod except Matt Patrick, Cleon Turner and State Senate candidate Dan Wolf.

Cape voters like the 14,000 members of Clean Power Now may have a difficult time voting this Fall for any of these cowards who in Colonial times would have been branded Tories and maybe even run out of town on a rail.

Every other elected pol, William Delahunt, Rob O'Leary, Jeff Perry, Demetrius Atsalis, Sarah Peake, all lined up with the wealthy against the best interests of their own constituents as did our daily newspaper the Cape Cod Times.

Even late-comer to Cape politics, Joe Malone, didn't have the good sense to check the facts and offered a gratuitous slap at the project in his Joe's Blog here when he could have simply kept his mouth shut on a fait accompli.

These "public servants" were joined by nearly every other so-called "civic leader" like Wendy Northcross of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and most other chambers with the glaring exception of Spyro Mitrokostas of the Dennis Chamber who not only supported Cape Wind but was a founding member of the now 14,000 member grassroots group Clean Power Now.

Yet all the time they and you and I knew that 99.9% of all the residents of Cape Cod will never be able to see the wind turbines six miles at sea unless they get invited to a cocktail party in Osterville and Hyannisport or take a ferry boat ride to one of the islands.

The politicians have and will be judged by the voters and The Times has already been judged by its subscribers who have left of canceled the newspaper in droves over the past decade.

Our benighted and questionably ethical daily newspaper

The conduct of the Cape Cod Times since 911 has been shocking. Here are a few, but far from all, of the incredibly unethical moves the newspaper has made since the wind farm was proposed nine years ago;

  • Wrote about 200 editorials against the project, or about one a month since 911.
  • In September 2003 they ran editorial which was nearly verbatim the press release in a press kit sent to The Times 10 days earlier by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.
    This graphic on the front page of Cape Cod Times uses a nearly 8-foot tall basketball player to show readers how high the 7 inch underwater transmission cable
  • A year ago today they were still at it running a drawing purporting to demonstrate the size of the Cape Wind transmission cable indicating which showed that the cable was 8 feet tall instead of 7 inches.
  • The paper slanted every news story they published which reported any positive Cape Wind news by including gratuitous and either unnecessary or outdated negative elements, and they continued to do so even today.
  • Ran their own poll on how Cape Codders felt about the project but left out the 20% who were undecided so the poll would appear to show a 55%-45% split against the project  rather than the true 45%-35%-20% breakdown which would seem to show less than a majority against it. When reporter Jack Coleman, who handled that story, objected, he was ordered to run it the way Editor Cliff Schechtman wanted. Mr. Coleman, another unsung hero of the Renewable Energy Revolution, quit The Times shortly after and wrote about his experiences for us and the Providence Journal. The story, "Why I left The Times", is still the most-read story on this newssite and it was written five years ago last week.
  • By running endless stories about how an offshore wind farm would hurt fishing and tourism when the editors knew, or should have known, that turbine bases acted like artificial reefs and attracted fish and that tourism, far from suffering, would be improved by a wind farm as the wind farms in Palm Springs have done for over a quarter century where it is the #2 attraction in a tourism area considered far more prestigious than The Cape.
  • Refusing to publish a profile of the leaders of both the Alliance and Cape Wind when which editor Cliff Schechtman had assigned when the lead reporter on Cape Wind, John Leaning, turned in a series of articles which painted a more positive portrait of Jim Gordon than on the founder of the Alliance Doug Yearley who had run Phelps-Dodge in Arizona when the EPA called his company that state's worst polluter.
  • The newspaper even refused that same reporter's request to take a train to Denmark to write about that county's wind farms in existence for 20 years when he was already a couple hours away in Paris on assignment to write about a local restaurant owner's art show there.

And The Times has paid a heavy price for their conduct

As the news of why 911 happened and how dependent we had become on foreign oil began to fill the news pages of newspapers across America and around the world, The Cape Cod Times could have become the number one source which all media came to for information on America's first offshore wind farm.

Instead the world's media quickly learned that the information supplied by The Times was slanted and even faulty. What could have been a bonanza for them during the worse decade in the newspaper industry's history instead increased their problems as paid weekday circulation fell from over 60,000 to under 40,000, down 8.4% in the last three months alone.

What should The Times do now?

The Cape Cod Times should write an honest front page editorial admitting when they were wrong, apologizing to their loyal readers and promising to change. What they will do instead is slant every story about this victory for America with more drivel about their wealthy friend's law suits which The Times editors know will not stop the project for one minute. The same oily folks haven't won a law suit about the same issues in the past, and the Alliance flunkies are simply trying to continue to suck at their PR firm's trough for a as long as possible with the help from Rubert Murdoch's local publication.

Instead, a more professional Times' editor would assign the same lead reporters who have been covering Cape Wind to investigate the two Indian Tribe's obvious phony claims about their "religious" practices vis-a-vis Nantucket Sound.

Since they have forgotten the things they learned in Journalism School, here are a couple hints as to where to start their investigation.

  1. Ask the leaders of the Aquinnah Tribe on Martha's Vineyard whether they know the difference between east and north or southeast and northeast.
    Further hint: the sun usually rises in the east or southeast depending on the season and Horseshoe Shoal is in the north or northeast from the Gay Head cliffs of The Vineyard where the tribe lives. 
  2. Ask the Mashpee Tribe leader who started the last year's phony delay about the tribes past naval excursions centuries ago in The Sound why he wrote his charges to the Massachusetts Historical Commission on Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound stationary and how much he was paid to do throw this last monkey wrench into the works and why he denied getting help from The Alliance until we reprinted the actual letter on Cape Cod TODAY.
    Further hint: while he's at it, tell him to have the tribe prove how so-called "Praying Indians" (who sided with the colonists against their own people in the bloody King Philip's War) need to go to a Mashpee beach and pray to the rising sun if they were Christians who had sworn to worship no false Gods. And ask them how many mornings they have prayed to the rising sun since they brought Ken Salazar there a many months ago.

Soon our tourism will get an enormous boost as thousands flock to Cape Cod as they already do to Denmark's shore to see the wind wonder, and our maritime business on The Sound will emulate the whale watch boats on the bay and offer sightseeing cruises from Harwichport, Hyannis and Falmouth to view the wind farm.

So  after almost a decade of fuss and feathers, the Renewable Energy Revolution with indeed start on Cape Cod, and I told you so.

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