Nation Piece Causes Stir

| July-August 2010

Johann Hari’s Nation article touched a nerve among green groups, especially those cast in an unflattering light. Several of them wrote to The Nation to take issue with Hari’s analysis (adjacent story), but mostly they seemed shocked by the impertinence of a liberal publication going after green groups.

“What will The Nation do next, blame polar bears for global warming?” wrote Christine Dorsey of the National Wildlife Federation.

Others weighed in to praise the author. “Congratulations to Johann Hari for the courage to ‘out’ what many have been whispering about for a long time,” wrote Kevin Koenig of Amazon Watch.

Some felt that Hari’s piece omitted important victories in favor of reporting more sensational transgressions. “It was the Sierra Club,” wrote Carl Pope, the group’s former executive director, “that helped bring the original suit that led to the Supreme Court decision that spurred the EPA to begin regulating global warming pollution.”

And yet others used the forum to trumpet their own policies and approaches. “For 40 years, Greenpeace has maintained our financial independence, refusing money from corporations,” wrote Greenpeace executive director Phil Radford.

Hari mounted a point-by-point defense and remained uncowed and unrepentant. (The Nation, it’s worth noting, has not conceded or corrected any factual errors in the story.)

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