Destroy the Planet for Profit
Thank you for Wen Stephenson’s “Grassroots Battle Against the Big Oil Beast” [Oct. 28]. None of what Tar Sands Blockade has to say is easy to hear, but it was learned in extreme circumstances with many hard knocks. This fight is terribly difficult, and terribly urgent, but it isn’t new. The most vital thing for the climate change movement as a whole is to root itself in past lessons and honor the struggles of those who have been most brutalized by this system. Climate change will never be “solved” by those with a vested interest in keeping things as they are.
BP = Bitter Pill
I am a little miffed that I can read an excellent article like Wen Stephenson’s, which rails against Big Oil, only to find on the last page of the magazine a large advertisement for BP. Surely you can see the irony? As a result of the most catastrophic oil spill in this country’s history, I avoid patronizing any company that sells any BP product. I have read in The Nation about the continued aftereffects, environmental and fiscal, of this spill. This company has spent millions repairing its image, and your magazine is helping the cover-up. I’m saddened that you find it necessary to sell advertising to the demon that is BP.
I do not appreciate the advertisement on the back cover. It is ironic to have a BP ad in a magazine that has articles and readers who oppose oil expansion and fracking. This sends a very mixed message. Please don’t run hypocritical advertising alongside your articles of integrity.
The Nation’s advertising policy states: “We accept [advertising] not to further the views of The Nation but to help pay the costs of publishing.” Most readers are aware that small journals of opinion like ours are struggling financially. Independent news media have been particularly battered by increasing production and distribution costs; competition from tabloids, bloggers and news aggregators; and a recession-fueled rollback of advertising dollars.
The BP ad in The Nation is not an endorsement and does not in any way affect the magazine’s content. (In fact, there is a firewall between our advertising and editorial departments.) These ads do not limit our voice, as the Stephenson article in the same issue attests.
We understand that readers would like consistent progressive content, including in our ads, but our longstanding policy of being an open forum for paid advertising has allowed us to continue publishing in these perilous times.
I am a longtime and loyal reader of The Nation, and could always count on getting a progressive view of issues not available elsewhere. But I am dismayed at the update of your page design; after reading two new-format issues, I must tell you that you have made your very vital information more difficult to take in. I found myself so distracted by the clutter that I didn’t finish reading the articles. It’s possible that this new design will attract younger readers, who are used to noise and clutter, but you risk losing the rest of us. Please, please go back to simplicity, and don’t let the medium interfere with the message.