This piece, Where chemtrails and Ochenski converge, ran yesterday in the Missoulian. It is by Montana Wilderness Association communications manager Ted Brewer. It is weird.
The object of scorn is George Ochenski, a conservation writer who occasionally has pieces published in that newspaper. MWA is sliming him, even trotting out Godwin. There’s real anger behind it, though not much substance. It’s a hit piece.
It’s interesting to see all of the people working for MWA on this page – Ted is down a ways. They have mostly had their pictures taken in natural backdrops. This seeds the impression that this is an outdoor-loving group. Indeed, Montana Wilderness Association sounds like a bunch of people who hike the mountains and ski the trails, but their true function is a little less earthy. The photos and hobbies are a nice smoke screen. (Ted … “enjoy[s] hiking with their two dogs, backpacking, Nordic skiing, and fly fishing.” He also writes their hit pieces.)
The “communications manager” doesn’t just fire off an op-ed, hoping something sticks. He has to answer to his superiors. Be assured that the content and tone of this piece was table-talked. It is out for blood. They want Ochenski taken down.
If indeed that happens, it will be the juice behind MWA that does it, as MWA, just a front group, has no real power.
The word that set them off was most likely “bribes.” Ochenski never used it. It is a scarecrow argument.
They do, however, protest too much.
The real story is behind the words. MWA is an AstroTurf organization. They claim grassroots support, but real backers are a list of foundations. They have a lush budget and a large staff with important-sounding titles. They keep busy, but they don’t get much done in terms of conservation. Most often they attack real conservation groups and cooperate with developers and extraction companies. They “facilitate” and “collaborate.”
Pew Charitable Trusts has been a prominent supporter of MWA in the past. That outfit is spawned by the Sun Oil Company fortune, and the Pew family behind it. If you think that putting money in a foundation separates it from the donors, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Pew money is oil money. So it naturally follows: MWA is oil money.
The word “quisling” comes to mind, as MWA merely fronts for other more powerful interests. But I’ll settle for a simpler word requiring no knowledge of history. They are “phonies.” “Shills” works too.
MWA is part of the larger corruption that is our political system, where no one is what they appear to be, everyone bought. The Brewer piece is a smoke screen, flak designed to take attention off MWA and redirect it at a critic.