Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Here's another example of biased reporting from today's LOS ANGELES TIMES entitled, "Intense Logging Blamed for Wildfires." The title of the article is terribly biased in itself, but the writer didn't even come close to proving her case in this "news" piece. The writer doesn't quote anyone who disagrees with the writer's thesis until over halfway through the article. The proponents of the logging-causes-fires theory in the article are all scientists. The opponents of the theory in the article are all politicians, including "Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist and the architect of the administration proposal."

This theory may very well be true, but there are two fundamental problems with this article even if it is true. First, the article presented this theory as fact, when this is not a mainstream argument. At no point did the author inform the reader that overly-dense forests is the generally accepted cause of these massive forest fires. Second, whether or not logging causes or prevents fires, the article fails to point out the true problem: government ownership of forests leads to mismanagement and lack of accountability. I guarantee if a timber company owned forests, we wouldn't have these problems. A private entity understands that forests are renewable resources, fires destroy valuable assets, and they would be liable if a forest fire burned down people's homes. You get none of that when the government owns the land and government workers manage the land.