The Tale of Two Dailies

One leader, two radically different views

By Walter Brooks

The Standard Times on the South Shore and the Cape Cod Times have the same top dog.

Peter Meyer is the president of South Coast Media Group which includes the South Shore daily and several weeklies, as well as the Cape Cod Media Group which includes the Cape Cod daily and two weeklies.

Yet the two newspaper's editorial line on Cape Wind is as wildly different as anyone could imagine.

We won't bore readers on the Cape with Mr. Meyer's attitude on Cape Wind, but it's here if anyone wishes to refresh their minds. Suffice it to say his attitude on Cape Wind compares closely with Osama bin Laden's attitude towards George W. Bush.

The Standard Times which Mr. Meyer also manages for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has an almost schizophrenically different slant on Cape Wind. Just read the first paragraphs of yesterday's editorial entitled Cape Wind's homeport:

Besides providing Cape Cod with three-fourths of its energy, the $2 billion Cape Wind project could help transform the New Bedford waterfront and make the city a leader in the field of clean energy.

While renewable energy accounts for only 7 percent of the nation's total consumption, advancing technology, changes in the political climate and in the economics of energy production have made clean energy a far more viable option.

And New Bedford has an excellent chance to benefit as home port for the nation's first offshore wind project. The short-term economic benefits - perhaps 1,000 construction jobs along the waterfront - would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The long-term benefits of turning New Bedford into the premier port city serving a growing clean energy industry are immeasurable.

And four days before the Standard Times cheered Cape Wind's final victory in another editorial entitled Winds of progress:

When Cape Wind cleared the final hurdle Wednesday to becoming America's first offshore wind farm, Massachusetts stepped into the vanguard of renewable energy.

The state and nation join a community of nations around the world that have carefully balanced aesthetic and environmental concerns in their efforts to move the world closer to practical, affordable clean power...

It's high time the United States made progress on offshore wind power, and we applaud Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and President Barack Obama for taking this step in spite of influential opposition. Cape Wind could still get bogged down in the courts, but with any luck not for too long.

Readers and media folks have pondered for years the possible cause for Peter Meyer's editorial jihad against Cape Wind in the face of ever increasing support for the project, two enormous federal reviews and its editorial approval by every major newspaper in America.

Some credit his residence in the hotbed of anti-wind farm NIMBYism, Osterville and a strange fealty to the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.

But whatever the reasons, it must be said that local Standard Times publisher and editors are brave and honest professionals doing a superb job for their News Corp masters and for the people in their newspaper's circulation area, something which sadly cannot be said of the Cape's daily newspaper.

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