Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has never lacked for critics. The founder of Riverkeeper (predecessor and sister-group to Kennedy’s WaterKeeper Alliance) argues that he is “very reckless,” and has “assumed an arrogance above his intellectual stature.” Today the Canadian Press reported that Kennedy has once again come under attack — this time from a high-ranking environmental official — for “fear-mongering” in an attempt to “raise a bunch of money.”
Alberta Environmental Minister Lorne Taylor tore into Kennedy for intentionally exaggerating the environmental effects of pork farming in order to raise funds from Hollywood stars like Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Matt Dillon, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. “He’s characteristic of old-style environmentalists that raise money and they have to create fear to raise money,” Taylor charged. He also alleged:
Last time he was here, he fear-mongered on water … He fear-mongered on livestock operations and then he used that fear-mongering to raise a bunch of money … I believe he raised about $750,000 in Banff last time he was here and there’s no accountability for that money … Where did the money go? It hasn’t gone into the Bow River which he was supposedly raising money for … If they’re going to come here, find out the facts before they fear-monger, and, if they do raise money, it seems to me that the money should stay here.
Finding out the facts before fear-mongering is good advice, but it’s not something Kennedy is known for. At a June 2003 Waterkeeper Alliance conference, Kennedy told the audience:
I’ll tell you another thing is that Abraham Lincoln — the same farmer sent me a wonderful quote from Abraham Lincoln that said that the real — the biggest threat to this country was not the war that we’ve just fought, it’s the, it’s the domination of our democracy by corporations. And he said he feared that much more than the war that he was fighting. (click here for audio)
As we’ve pointed out before, this Lincoln “quote” is a complete fabrication — an urban legend that appeared 20 years after Lincoln’s death and was denounced as a “bold, unflushing forgery” by his private secretary.
Here’s one more example of Kennedy’s casual attitude toward facts and penchant for hyping inflated fears. Earlier this year he told a reporter this obviously false tale:
President Bush has a secret war against the environment. It is a stealth attack. He’s now eviscerating America’s environmental laws. He has 100 proposed rollbacks of environmental regulations that, even if just a portion goes through, by this time next year we will have no federal environmental laws. That’s not an exaggeration.