There is a growing skepticism within the American public as to how news coverage and the news media never seem to get their facts straight when they report the news or provide commentary on important issues. Lee Davidson's commentary referring to the establishment of national parks as political pork on June 18 is a good example as to why the American public should remain skeptical.
It is clear from the commentary Davidson had done very little homework before he blessed us with his great wisdom. For example, his "knowledge" of Thomas Cole is completely underwhelming, and I am wondering whether he is out of touch with American art or maybe just America in general. Next time, he might want to try to do a little research before writing. The fact is that Thomas Cole has been established by experts in the art community as a pivotal figure in American art and is considered by many art scholars to be the premier American landscape artist and one of the most important artists this country has ever produced. Mr. Cole's artistic skill in portraying landscapes led to the development of an entire school of art known as the Hudson River School.Furthermore, Mr. Solomon's bill to establish the Thomas Cole National Historical Site has been in the works for almost 10 years and is currently going through the regular committee process of moving a bill through the House. This is hardly indicative of the facts in what Davidson describes as this "park bill flew through committee in record time. . . ." No such thing happened.
Davidson also states that "no one dared to suggest" that the Thomas Cole site be studied by the Park Service before inclusion into the system. Once again, it is clear that Davidson demonstrates a complete lack and neglect of researching the facts before he opens his ink well. The Thomas Cole Site has followed the National Park Service study process for suitability and feasibility where, by the way, in 1991 the Park Service highly endorsed the establishment of this site.
Lastly, Davidson asserts that "shot down" was the addition of Casa Malpais and the East Tenement Sites to the park system. These two sites were recommended in the respective bill introductions as park affiliations - not additions to the Park Service; hence, they would have nothing to do with the new bill which deals with a stricter criteria to establish additional units to the park system. The bill was withdrawn at Subcommittee markup because it was my feeling that the members did not quite understand the intent of the two sites. Obviously, Davidson didn't.
In closing, I can say that instead of the National Park System becoming a monument to "political ineptitude," as Davidson asserts, I suggest that it is this very kind of incompetent reporting and commentary that represents the ineptitude - not politics. Oh, he may want to take an art class, too.