Home > Uncategorized > NJ Spotlight Cheerleads For Sustainable NJ – Ignores Walmart and South Jersey Gas Scandals

NJ Spotlight Cheerleads For Sustainable NJ – Ignores Walmart and South Jersey Gas Scandals

Replicates Ethics of Old Media – Does the Sponsors’ Bidding, Not Real Journalism

Another Dodge & Foundation Funded Product?

[Update – Preface – Wow, guess you could say that this puts a finer point on it, h/t SO, see, w/Democracy Now! video:  Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, McDonalds spying on nonprofits — allegedly with former NSA, CIA hackers. Feel proud, SNJ “Green Teams”?

NJ Spotlight carried an embarrassing promotional puff piece on Sustainable NJ (SNJ) today, see:  BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE GARDEN STATE, ONE COMMUNITY AT A TIME

Unfortunately, the piece not only cheerleads for SNJ, it goes out of its way to mask the reality of who funds SNJ, what SNJ actually accomplishes, and the controversial and deeply flawed “alternative model of engagement” that SNJ represents. For a discussion of the latter, see:

I’ve written about these issues extensively here, issued a PEER national press release on the Walmart funding (see: Greenwashing NJ Style), and even reached out to NJ Spotlight in advance of the story, so their “reporting” on SNJ could not have been an inadvertent oversight.

While the news hook for the piece is the Nov. 19 League of Municipalities award, given my prior outreach to NJ Spotlight, and what I know about SNJ Director Solomon’s behind the scenes PR campaign to push back on that criticism, I can only assume that the origins of the story lie elsewhere, specifically in a place like the Dodge Foundation, a funder of both SNJ and NJS – a web of affiliations, personal relationships, revolving doors, funding, and conflicts of interest that is not disclosed in the story.

But I’m sure that Randall Solomon’s self serving PR efforts alone could not have produced this story.

It took a network of manipulation, promotion, and self serving motivation – and that’s the most deeply troubling aspect of this story.

NJ Spotlight’s motto is “Where issues matter”. They are supposed to be the new media with integrity and edge, an alternative to the corrupt sycophantic “journalism” driven by advertisers, corporate owners, careerist reporters, and cynical editors that is so prevalent in the old and dying media.

This story belies that mission. Doubly ironic is the fact that NJ Spoltight has reported extensively on Gov. Christie’s nearly $1 BILLION Clean Energy Fund diversions – that’s the same pot of money that fuels the chump change SNJ energy programs they cheerlead for in this story. I imagine that Tom Johnson, who wrote all those stories, is not pleased.

Equally troubling is the way Foundations mimic the same power plays, insider games, and manipulations of the corporations – Dodge leverages its money and throws its weight around far to much, and with NO ACCOUNTABILITY at all.

(and just where did Ms. Knapik work before Surdna?. How did my good friend Curtis Fisher parachute into this story from his Vermont locale? While NJS went all the way to Vermont to find a source, why were NJ State environmentalists, who have criticized the Walmart and SJG funding, ignored?)

I say fuck that shit! I’m sure the real pro’s at NJS are embarrassed: Mooney, Johnson, and O’Dea.

So, here’s the comment I posted on the story, so that NJ Spotlight’s readers would informed by criticism instead of duped:

Mr. Hurdle – you note that SNJ funders are “posted on the group’s website.”

Perhaps readers would like to know that those groups include Walmart (over $1 million); South Jersey Gas Co. ($ unknown); and the BPU ($1.4 million from the Clean Energy Fund – that’s the Fund that Gov. Christie has taken over $800 MILLION from to pay for corporate tax cuts).

Wonder why SNJ “Green Teams” never complain about the unsustainable practices of the notoriously unsustainable Walmart Corp.?

Wonder why SNJ “Green Teams” never criticize the Gov.s policies and diversion of over a $1 BILLION dedicated to exactly the purposes SNJ claims to champion: Clean Energy Fund program objectives of energy efficiency, conservation and renewables?

Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that every penny of SNJ Green Team Clean Energy Fund money is highly effective and well spent. Even if that were true – which is it not – wouldn’t they been far more effective in using their time and effort to get the $800 MILLION restored so that their program efforts could have 800 TIMES more impact?

Of course, the answer to these questions is obvious: SNJ is bought and paid for won’t bite the dirty hands that feed them,.

The “Green Teams” do nothing more than divert well meaning people away from effective advocacy and into meaningless trivial pursuits, also called tokenism. That function is known is historical and political science circles by the term “useful idiots”.

This is why the corrupt corporations like Walmart and the Gov. and his pro-business DEP Commission appreciate funding and using groups like SNJ – they dupe and divert real citizens and real activism.

Your readers should also know that the SJG contribution was provided as a quid pro quo for providing SJG a platform and “leadership” designation at precisely the time the Company was seeking approval from the Pinelands Commission for a highly controversial 22 mile pipeline through the forested area of the Pinelands National Reserve, in contravention of the Comprehensive Management Plan.

Now that’s some piece of work, no?

A real journalist would be interested in those issues, instead of writing this cheering promotional pap.

Perhaps readers also would be interested in knowing about the history of Sustainable NJ and the concept of “sustainability ” in NJ.

Perhaps readers might want to understand the nature of the controversy about the alternative model of activism and citizen engagement that SNJ promotes.

If so, see:

“Sustainability” Has Served As Cover for Regulatory Rollbacks for 20 Years in NJ

Curious that you relied on my good friend and former NJ environmental activist Curtis Fisher as a source now in Vermont. How did you find him? Could you not find a NJ environmental group spokesperson? Like perhaps the groups that criticized the SJG and Walmart funding?


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