Clear View Quote of the Week: (CLEAR VIEW, Volume 5 Number 11.)
"It is unfortunate that Lycos seemingly prefers supporting radical environmental groups and their agendas, over common sense 'wise use' land management that protects the land while allowing profitable, sustainable enterprise to continue. It is unfortunate that Lycos continues endorsing organizations that promotes drinking urine, praying to feces, and placing the value of an animal far beyond the life of a human being, rather than directing people toward scientific, unbiased and reliable information about the environment."
---Norm Lenhart, Off-Road.com, "Search Engine Giant Sides with Radical Environmental Web Haven - May Soon Find Itself Searching For Customers," referring to EnviroLink, a non-profit web network which hosts hundreds of green organizations.
1. Off-Road.com declares slam a success, Lycos cancels EnviroLink contract.
Norm Lenhart, managing editor of Off-Road.com, an on-line nexus for motorized recreation enthusiasts, took a stab at a green web host in an August article. His attack appears to have had a dramatic effect. Lenhart described EnviroLink, which is home to hundreds of environmental web sites, as a "radical environmental web haven." Lenhart went on to criticize Lycos, the popular internet search engine, for partnering with EnviroLink. A handful of web sites on EnviroLink advocate direct action, including Earth First and Animal Liberation Front, which according to Lenhart, promote "ecoterrorism." Lenhart's article called for a barrage of letters to Lycos demanding cancellation of the contract with EnviroLink.
Just ten days after the Off-Roaders began their mail campaign, Lycos ended its contract with EnviroLink, only three months after the two joined forces. Lycos denies any connection between the series of events. However, Lycos' attorney Jeffrey Snider, told CNET NEWS.Com that the Off-Road letters "pointed out to us some things about certain sites being served up under the EnviroLink domain that we didn't know about and we felt were misleading to our users. We will admit that it's misleading to our users to have those kinds of sites available [under a button that says] 'save the planet.'" (brackets in original, "Lycos ends environment site alliance," August 19, 1998. CNET NEWS.Com) Reuters News Service was a little more blunt, publishing the lead, "Lycos wants to save the planet -- but only if it can also pull in the hits and not generate any negative press." ("Lycos unplugs enviro group," _Reuters_, August 19, 1998).
What Lycos doesn't know is that Off-Road.com has a long-standing beef with the environmental movement. Articles posted on the site often refer to environmentalists as "Nazis," "eco-Nazis" and "eco-nuts."
Off-Road.com is tied to anti-environmental groups through overlapping membership and interests, some with violent messages. Off-Road.com hosts a monthly column from the Blue Ribbon Coalition, which should be a familiar name to regular readers of A CLEAR View. Funded in large part by mining interests, the Blue Ribbon Coalition was an original sponsor of the 1988 Reno Wise Use Leadership Conference and is active in the Wise Use/Property Rights circuit.
More disturbing are the associations with the Sahara Club, an anti-environmental organization with a demonstrated hatred toward environmentalists, animal rights activists, and gays and lesbians. Sahara's newsletter has published articles advocating violence against environmental activists. Issue #35 suggested "If approached by enviro-Nazi protesters who attempt to loot your [logging truck] cab, or chain box, or damage your vehicle, apply pepper spray liberally to their faces, then demonstrate the proper dental technique using your 'swede' as a teeth extraction device." Rick Sieman, president of the Sahara Club, is listed as a regular contributor to Off-Road.com. Pat Martin of the Sahara Club reportedly "keeps the [Off-Road] files burning with chunks of data on our enemies, who the vermin are, and how to 'contact' them." (Sahara Club Newsletter #34).
Though Lycos claims there is no connection between Lenhart's article and the contract cancellation, Off-Road took initial responsibility for the outcome. In an August 13 web posting, they stated, "...the factual article by Off-Road.com on the radical groups housed and supported by EnviroLink.org has affected Lycos' decision to associate with and or provide support for EnviroLink" and offered "Congratulations to Lycos!" If the article and letters were a factor in the contract cancellation, Lycos has been unduly swayed by a small interest group with a bitter and extreme anti-environmental agenda.
The loss of Lycos' support has resulted in what EnviroLink's Executive Director, Josh Knauer, described as "a major budget shortfall." ("Internet firm drops Oakland Service," _Tribune-Review_, August 18, 1998). EnviroLink provides mailing lists, bulletin boards, chat rooms and web sites for environmental groups, often free of charge. Knauer defended the diversity of the site to the _Tribune Review_: "As with any community, there's going to be radicals, conservatives and people in the middle. EnviroLink takes no position on any of the issues, we just want the dialogue to be heard."
For more information and copies of all press articles referenced, see the web site put together by Friends of EnviroLink, www.waste.org/~oak/
NOTE: www.waste.org/~oak/ contains a request that you write to Lycos, telling them what you think of their decision to dump Envirolink.
Source: CLEAR VIEW, Volume 5 Number 11.
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