Monday, June 14, 2010

The Alaska Press and Riki Ott & Rick Steiner on the BP Gulf Spill

In an article in Monday's Alaska Dispatch, Craig Medred writes, "My old buddy Rick Steiner is having a field day down in the Gulf."

Medred goes on in the latest of his awfully uneven series of Dispatch articles on the spill, to rant in a way that might give Steiner reason to question just how much a buddy Medred really is. This isn't the first Dispatch article to deal with Rick Steiner in a weird way. The very first was an article by Maia Nolan that was obstensibly about censorship in the arts. Go figure, eh?

In that article, Nolan inaccurately portrayed a series of events having to do with censorship of controversial art on college campuses in Alaska, so that she could use that as a foil for an interview with outgoing University of Alaska president, Gen. Mark Hamilton, to dump on his nemesis Steiner one more time before both left the university system.

In Medred's article, titled "Gulf spill reporting, cue the hyperbole," he claims, "His name and that of Riki Ott, the biologist from Cordova, pop up everywhere. They are among the chief purveyors of the message that crude in the water is as almost as dangerous as lead, PCBs or other persistent organic pollutants. This sounds good, but it isn't quite true. Steiner and Ott regularly overstate things."

Medred gives no examples. Instead, he paints a series of pictures, that, although engaging in their small doses of truth intermixed with humorous skepticism about society or Alaskans' understanding of where oil really goes or ends up, serve mostly to belittle two of Alaska's most important citizen scientists.

It isn't only the Dispatch that has paid less attention to these two prophetic Alaskans. By and large, our media, dependant for significant revenues upon the oil companies that have been haunted by the truth and persistence which have been Ott's and Steiner's hallmarks, are always either neglecting these two, or attempting to put them into "context" that severely underplays their enormous impact and achievement over the years.

I can't remember a review of either of Ott's books in the Alaska press. I can't remember any mention of her nationwide efforts to promote a Constitutional Amendment revoking corporate personhood, either.

The plain fact may end up being, Craig, that Steiner and Ott are underestimating the environmental damage to peoples' health from the BP disaster and its so-called "cleanup."


Steven said...

Did she ever share her evidence of a BP conspiracy to cover up the carnage from the oil spill? She was about as smooth as a politician. It would not surprise me to learn of a cover up of this nature from big, greedy oil companies, but I can't stand it when people make such claims without some hard proof.

Anonymous said...

Most of us are trying hard not to think about the horror that's going on in the Gulf while Riki is right there. Dr. Ott, Thankyou

Anonymous said...

I ignore Craig Medred on a regular basis. He's one of those "tear other people down to make himself feel big" kinda people. Compensating for a small thingy no doubt.

The Yellow Porcupine said...

I had the opportunity to meet Craig Merdred after an Alaska Wilderness Classic Race in the Brooks Range. He was there to cover the race for the ADN, but he was more intent on we, the participants, accepting him as a rugged outdoorsman. Never really cared for him after that.