New York Times Sides With Vermont Lefties Against Lockheed Martin's 'Greenwashing'

May 13th, 2011 11:39 AM

The lead story in Thursday’s National section of the New York Times treated with respect an anti-military temper tantrum from the left-wing town of Burlington, Vermont by Abby Goodnough, "In a Green Town, Activists See Red Over Lockheed Martin."

While Times stories involving conservative complaints are invariably overloaded with "conservative" labels, Goodnough included only one mention of the obvious ideological tilt of the opponents of Lockheed Martin, the military contractor proposing a clean energy project with the town. The leftists were balanced only by wishy-washy local officials and corporate boilerplate from a Lockheed spokesman.

The top half of the page was dominated by a picture of someone strumming a protest song on an acoustic guitar, and the Times also reprinted what looks like a pair of old-style woodcuts ("eye-catching") from a local artist comparing Lockheed Martin to both the Devil and the Trojan Horse.

Goodnough disguised what sounds like snobbish leftist provincialism as local pride:

Car sharing is beloved in this laid-back college town, as are solar panels, rain gardens and most anything designed to fight global warming from the ground up. A bicycle service will pick up your kitchen scraps for composting, and farmers will deliver your vegetables in a biodiesel-fueled truck.

Pride in these homegrown efforts runs deep, and so some Burlingtonians were livid when Mayor Bob Kiss announced a partnership late last year with Lockheed Martin, the military contractor, to work on clean-energy projects.

They accuse the company of "greenwashing." Goodnough sympathetically allowed the lefty environmentalists to let loose with increasingly paranoid and hyperactive rhetoric, including one who feared Lockheed Martin might send some supplies with company logos on them to public schools (the horror).

"I’m deathly afraid of polluting our image with their war machine record," said Jeffrey C. Frost, executive director of AgRefresh, a bioenergy consulting firm here. "Realistically, why would they be coming here and asking us to partner with them? The only rational answer I can come up with is they want to associate themselves with what Burlington represents."


Noting the recent flooding from Lake Champlain, which reached record levels last week after an unusually wet winter and spring, Ms. Mulvaney-Stanak added, "The clock is ticking on climate change all around us, and we need to be pragmatic."