Maine Public Broadcasting’s “Maine Watch” show has earned its reputation as the softest news show on local television. Host Jennifer Rooks rarely probes beyond what’s already been reported elsewhere and almost never challenges her guests with questions they might find disquieting.
A typical example of Rooks’ softball approach is the Jan. 26 program on energy policy. She interviews Jackson Parker of Reed & Reed construction company about the initiative that would require an increase in the amount of renewable energy in Maine’s electric grid. Rooks never mentions that Parker’s business, which could benefit if the measure becomes law by winning contracts to build wind farms, is one of the largest donors to the political action committee backing the referendum.
Seems as if a pointed query about that might have livened up the piece, not to mention giving viewers a better understanding of the reasons behind Parker’s advocacy.
Then there’s George Smith – columnist for the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal, as well as a contributor to this website. In his Jan. 25 newspaper piece, he gushes at length about the advantages of the clean-energy proposal without ever disclosing that First Wind, a major wind-power developer, is a sponsor of his website.
As I’ve made clear in my political columns over the years, I’m no fan of wind farms. But my problems with the approaches of Rooks and Smith to covering this issue has to do with the former’s lack of initiative and the latter’s lack of transparency.
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