Debunking the ‘War on Coal,’ Take Two
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Such was The Associated Press’s approach this month to explaining the so-called ‘war on coal’ that conservative spin doctors have been peddling throughout the presidential campaign.
An October 15 article by Donna Cassata failed miserably, recycling the narrative that environmental regulations under the Obama administration are the reason for recent turmoil in the coal industry. Five days later, an article by Vicki Smith sought to correct the record. Its opening paragraphs were a pitch-perfect echo of Cassata’s, describing a drive through Appalachia past countless yards signs reading, “Stop the War on Coal. Fire Obama. ” But the similarity ended there.
Characterizing efforts to blame lost jobs on the White House as following a “script,” Smith immediately went on to explain that the war narrative overlooks the fact that the industry hasn’t suffered as greatly under the Obama administration as it seems:
There have been layoffs, to be sure.
Between January and June, coal companies in West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky cut a combined 3,000 jobs. But mines in the Virginias still employed more people at the end of June than at the same points in 2008 and 2010, while Kentucky was only down by 1,000.