Monday, May 15, 2006

Goofy journalism — you be the judge

This morning's Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper carried a front page article with these "facts" (among others) regarding lawn care.

7 million — approximate number of birds that die each year as a result of lawn-care pesticides

17 million — gallons of gasoline spilled by Americans every summer in the process of refueling their lawn mowers, leaf blowers and other gardening equipment, "or about 50 percent more oil than marred the Alaskan coast during the notorious Exxon Valdez disaster."

Who actually goes out and counts dead birds and then figures out what kills them? As for the number of gallons of gasoline being spilled, who's wasting gasoline at today's prices? This newspaper article reads like something you would see on a tabloid as you're waiting to pay for your bread and milk at the grocery checkout.

The reporter Michael K. McIntyre culled the "facts" came from a recent book by a Ted Steinberg, an environmental historian at Case Western Reserve University here in Cleveland. Steinberg's been getting a lot of positive press with his book that bashes America's so-called "obsession" with lawns.

Don't know what it is about a pretty green lawn that sets some people off. Criticizing and condemning lawns and lawn care seems to have become an obsession with them. — Ron Hall

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