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Reckless allegations undermine credibility

November 24th, 2003

In a letter to the editor in today's Herald-Times (mirrored on Higgs own Bloomington Alternative) Higgs hints that eco-terrorists were not responsible for the arson at Pedigo bay, but that local Republicans were. (This is not a wild assumption, considering that Higgs wrote the following about Pedigo Bay seven months ago: That fire, which destroyed the under-construction home of developer Steve Smith, has been used by the H-T editor and rabid Republicans who probably set the damned thing to tie progressive politicians to terrorism. (emphasis mine.)

Higgs is correct. No one has claimed responsibility for the Pedigo Bay arson. Higgs is also correct to criticize those who would tie "green" elected officials to terrorism.

However, Higgs uses the same tactics he so vehemently decries when he implies (or says outright) that Republicans were responsible for the arson at Pedigo Bay, so they could then exploit it for political advantage. Higgs says this without the benefit of one single fact, one shred of evidence or the slightest hint of proof.

There is, however, enough of a precedent for eco-terrorism in Bloomington to make an educated guess that eco-terrorists were responsible for Pedigo Bay. Since January 2000, We have seen:

  • The January 2000 arson of a home under construction, claimed by the ELF
  • Spiking of trees to prevent logging, claimed by the ELF
  • The destruction of construction equipment, claimed by the ELF
  • the firebombing of a poultry distribution plant, claimed by the ALF
  • An arson at Monroe County Republican headquarters in a protest against I-69, claimed by the ELF

This does not count the vandalism against Starbucks during the height of the campaign against it. It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that eco-terrorists were responsible for Pedigo Bay.

Higgs has set up his Web site as an alternative (no pun intended) news source to the H-T. He has, on more than one occasion, scooped the Herald-Times. But recklessly flinging such wild accusations does not enhance Higgs' credibility as a journalist.