Louisiana is speaking, but is anyone listening? 

“President Barack Obama has placed economic sanctions on Louisiana, and eventually the United States, beyond those imposed on Iran!”

Rob Guidry, President & CEO of the Greater Lafayette, LA Chamber of Commerce wrote these words about a week ago. His comments were part of the run-up to the recent Rally for Economic Survival.

By “economic sanctions,” Guidry is referring to the federally-imposed off-shore drilling moratorium that some observers believe will cost his home state 17,500 jobs just in its first six months.

To say President Obama’s policies towards a US state are harsher than his policies towards the Islamic Republic of Iran - those are, at a minimum, fightin’ words. I’m going to give Guidry the benefit of the doubt, and assume he was taking some poetic license in drawing a comparison like this. Others may feel less charitable.

You would figure the mainstream media’s correspondents in Washington would have tripped over themselves to ask Obama Administration spinners to comment on Guidry’s statement, just to be able to play footage of steam escaping from Robert Gibbs’ ears.  No one got around to asking Gibbs for his reaction, unfortunately.

Similarly, you would have thought the mainstream media might have asked the Obama Administration to comment on the pro-drilling Rally for Economic Survival, which drew 11,000 participants to the Cajundome in Lafayette on July 21st. But that also went ignored.

If you didn’t make it to the rally, or you would like to watch some footage of it and listen to the speakers who addressed the crowd and discussed the economic damage that the offshore drilling ban will inflict on the state’s economy, you can visit www.rallyforeconomicsurvival.com.

I can understand the mainstream media declining to highlight Guidry’s line in its reporting from Louisiana, and dismiss it as a clever bit of rhetorical bluster. To ignore the 11,000 people who gathered at the Cajundome is a serious oversight, however, and I have a harder time understanding the rationale for that decision.

It was likely very easy for skeptical reporters and assignment editors to dismiss the Rally for Economic Survival. Yes, many companies linked to the oil industry supported the event. Yes, there was a heavy state Republican presence among the speakers. Yes, many of the people in the rally had a direct economic interest in seeing the moratorium lifted.

In this case, the skepticism went too far. It seems reporters are always ready to let us know when a handful of activists chain themselves to an old tree to protest logging activity, for example. If the media will give so much attention to such tiny protests, why the silence when 11,000 people come together to make a collective statement about a serious issue affecting their lives?

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Neil Hrab

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