Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rosemont mine PR hatchet-job reported as fact in the Arizona Daily Star

The photograph is a beloved natural area south of Tucson. Rosemont Ranch is at the edge of the area's highest mountain range, the 9200 ft. Santa Rita range. A copper company has claimed the right to create an open pit copper mine to remove Rosemont Ranch, swallow the area whole, and leave a giant pit behind. Copper mines typically release tons of airborne contaminants, and let tons of chemical pollution seep into the aquifer. Opposition to the mine has been widespread in the area. The only voice in favor not obviously associated with the mining company itself has been the Tucson Chamber of commerce which has made such inane statements as this:
"They've got to mine there, because that's where the copper is," [Jack] Camper said. "You can't lock up everything. If you do, you lose your tax base, and we can't afford to live here."

In this article, which is not quite a pro-mining puff-piece, and which does present a watered-down version of opposing arguments in the body of the story, the Arizona Daily Star presents as fact ridiculous arguments created in a "report" authored by a company obviously on the payroll of the mining interest. The journalist does not present much information about the author of the report or his employer. Instead a quote is given from one the many Pima County officials opposed to the blatant environmental destruction:
"It's not an objective report," said county Supervisor Ray Carroll, whose district includes the area where the mine would be developed.
"It's a glowing, rosy report that promotes their interests," he said. "It's almost as if the analysis was put together by the sales department of Augusta Resource."

Ok, so wouldn't it be normal for a journalist to do a little background on "Western Economic Analysis Center?" Well that's not what you get in the Star. What you do get is the following headline:
Long-term impact debated
Proposed Rosemont copper mine would add jobs, revenue, economist reports

For more balanced coverage, and to get a much more realistic picture of what is going on and what kind of company we are dealing with here, please see coverage by Tim Hull and Tim Vanderpool in the Tucson Weekly:

Glass Half-Empty - The company that wants to mine in the Rosemont Valley is promoting water plans that may be all wet By TIM HULL. (08-09-2007)

Fierce Opposition - The controversy over a proposed Pima County mine proves copper is no longer king By TIM VANDERPOOL. (06-14-2007)

Rosemont Rising - Can this mine fight turn a national tide? By TIM VANDERPOOL. (03-08-2007)

Dreams and Duds - Dapper miners with their eyes on Rosemont Valley get thumped by Pima County By TIM VANDERPOOL. (01-25-2007)

No comments: