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A biased HCN board?

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Dear HCN,

I noticed that you now have at least three ranchers on your board of directors - Farwell Smith, Diane Peavey and Doc Hatfield. At least two out of the three are well known and outspoken advocates of public-lands grazing. Isn't this just like the National Cancer Association having a couple of tobacco farmers on their board who minimize the health risks associated with cigarette smoking?

I'm not suggesting that these individuals overtly control HCN's editorial content; however, I can't help but at least speculate that they do influence the paper's emphasis, editorial views and reporting.

George Wuerthner

Eugene, Oregon

George Wuerthner is a naturalist, writer and anti-grazing activist.

Dear George,

We also have four employees of environmental groups: Maggie Coon of The Nature Conservancy; Tom France of the National Wildlife Federation, whose recent lawsuit on grazing has enraged Montana public-land ranchers; Dan Luecke of the Environmental Defense Fund; and Lynda Taylor of the Southwest Research and Information Center. In addition, Farwell Smith has worked with The Wilderness Society for years.

More important, the HCN board is not an editorial board. Editorial policy is set by staff, and we guard our independence. We listen to suggestions from board members, as we listen to suggestions from you and other readers, but the editorial staff determines policy.

Ed Marston


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