Media battle over Cape Cod offshore project continues

The hearts-and-minds battle over the 130 turbine Cape Wind offshore project off the coast of Massachusetts continued hot and heavy in October, even while legal and regulatory issues remained at somewhat of a standstill. A Friday evening Boston television show called "Beat the Press," which analyses and sometimes criticises news coverage around New England, vehemently ridiculed Cape Cod Times editor Cliff Schechtman and publisher Peter Meyer for running at least 30 editorials opposing the project. Media critic Mark Jurkowitz called Schechtman "ambitious." Chuckling, Jurkowitz said the Cape Cod paper appeared to be running an editorial "crusade" which could best be described as a "jihad." The television show's executive producer, John Carroll, called a recent Cape Cod Times editorial . The newspaper had lifted sentences almost verbatim from a letter written by Cape Wind foe Doug Yearly, the former head of the Phelps Dodge mining concern, without attributing them to Yearly -- thus making Yearly's voice that also of the Cape Cod Times. Meanwhile, a citizens' group formed to support the Cape Wind project, Clean Power Now, claiming a membership of nearly 1500, held its first membership meeting on Cape Cod. About 50 people attended. The meeting was infiltrated by four Cape Wind opponents who handed out fliers claiming that "the ocean view from every south facing [sic] beach on Cape Cod will be destroyed forever!!!!" (It is geographically impossible to see Nantucket Sound from most of Cape Cod's south-facing beaches.) The group is calling itself "Windstop." Its primitive fliers and grammatical and spelling errors have led some observers to speculate that the new group is a repackaging of the now-discredited group Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. Says a triumphant Jim Gordon of Cape Wind: "Our educating the public through our community outreach program is getting vital information to Cape Codders which is dispelling the misinformation and distortion the alliance has been trying to feed the public. We're pleased to see that media experts have taken note of the campaign that the Cape Cod Times editorial board has been running against the project. That certainly has raised a lot of eyebrows, in terms of them lifting policy conclusions from our opponents."