Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has been watching the climate world since 2009. What she sees isn't pretty.

The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #3

The Sierra Club is “outraged” by a Keystone pipeline report. This is as newsworthy as saying the Pope is Catholic.

Late yesterday, an arm of the US government released a 2,000-page report that concludes there are no good environmental reasons for preventing the construction of a pipeline intended to transfer oil from Western Canada to Texas. The Keystone pipeline has been on hold due to the fact that it crosses the Canada-US border and therefore requires the blessing of the US State Department.

Two weeks ago, environmental activists held a protest rally condemning this pipeline. News coverage of that event contained robust examples of emotionally-charged, hyperbolic language. Exhibit 2 in the Drama Queen Files highlighted some of that language.

There is no suggestion that anyone received an advance copy of yesterday’s 2,000-page opus. Nevertheless, the Sierra Club issued a 4-paragraph statement almost immediately, lambasting a report it had not yet read in the strongest terms possible. Here are some direct quotes:

  • woefully inadequate
  • deeply flawed
  • nothing short of malpractice

The Sierra Club points to no evidence. It cites neither chapter nor verse. It offers no examination of where, precisely, the report has gone wrong. Instead, this statement is nothing more than an emotional outburst. As the press release says: “The Sierra Club is outraged…

There’s just one problem. Outrage is the Sierra Club’s middle name, its permanent state-of-mind. A statement in which the Sierra Club says it’s outraged is as newsworthy as one in which the Pope says he’s Catholic:

  • “And so the Sierra Club, hoping that outrage can become an organizing tool…” (1997 news story – backed up here)
  • “The Sierra Club is outraged by your decision…” (2002 Sierra Club protest letter)
  • “The Sierra Club of Canada today voiced its outrage at the Canadian government’s decision…” (2003 Sierra Club press release)
  • Opponents of Near Shore Oil and Gas Express Outrage (2003 Sierra Club press release)
  • “Sierra Club of Canada expressed its outrage…” (2006 Sierra Club press release)
  • “Sierra Club B.C. executive director Kathryn Molloy said she was outraged by the decision…” (2008 news story)
  • Leaked TPP (Investment) Chapter Sparks Outrage (Sierra Club website, 2012)
  • Join Us in Philadelphia at Shale Gas Outrage 2012, (Sierra Club website, 2012)

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see also
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #1 – Greenpeace’s ‘Battle for Britain’
The Drama Queen Files – Exhibit #2 – The ‘Carbon Bomb’ Pipeline

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This entry was posted on March 2, 2013 by in Drama Queen files, NGOs and tagged , .
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