Local Bloggers To Be Featured On 60 Minutes

Roane County bloggers to be interviewed by Lesley Stahl

So. How does the crusty old institution of television network news attempt to stay relevant? The same way your favorite local print weekly does: by covering the blogs. Crews from CBS News’ 60 Minutes landed in East Tennessee Tuesday evening. They’ll be joined by host Lesley Stahl today, to assemble a feature on the Kingston Ash Spill. One of the primary interviewees will be co-founder of the community blog RoaneViews.com, Steve Scarborough.

“I think it was a way for, not just 60 Minutes, but Barbara Boxer’s senate committee and others to keep track of what was going on,” says Scarborough of his blog’s popularity in Washington and New York. “They’d have a staffer keep an eye on what was being discussed at RoaneViews. We were pretty much instant information after the community meetings. We live-blogged some of them. It’s been an interesting community experiment. It wasn’t just me, it was the community. I sort of kept the throttle out of the red zone in some of the conversations, and evaluated some of the information we did have. Some of this is tough to understand.”

Scarborough describes himself as a recovering engineer. He co-founded Dagger Canoe Company in Roane County in 1988. He says his engineer’s mindset, coupled with the community-mindedness that led him to start and become a moderating influence on RoaneViews, has proven useful.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of engineer you are—I’m an electrical engineer, actually—it’s more of a problem-solving mindset,” he says. “You learn to weed through bad information. It’s a suspicious way of life. You learn the value of knowing what’s accurate and what isn’t. I consider myself an environmentalist, but I think everybody walking on the planet ought to be an environmentalist. It should be a part of what we do and learn, in addition to balancing the checkbook or whatever.”

Scarborough, who posts as “WhitesCreek,” is standing in his yard and can see the confluence of the Clinch and Emory Rivers. He says it actually looks almost the same as it did last August, aside from the fact that there are no birds visible or audible. There is no sign of animal life in or on the water.

Scarborough had been active on KnoxViews. After deciding to launch a site that focused more on his own community, he worked with Randy Neal to build RoaneViews almost two years ago. The blog was already a functional community meeting place by the time the shit hit the fan last December.

Satisfied is hardly the word to describe anyone’s view of TVA’s process and progress in dealing with the catastrophe. But Scarborough says it’s important to separate the people of TVA from the ill-equipped institution.

“Early on, it was chaos,” Scarborough recalls. “I actually felt like TVA was out of its league in trying to own up to it. Tom Kilgore made some statements that were very good on the face of it. But you know, he wrote checks his ass couldn’t cash. He was good on his promises and failed miserably in delivery. I don’t think that was all his fault. The people at TVA wanted to do the right thing. These are friends of mine, a lot of them.

“People look at this as a Roane County problem and it’s not. It’s a national problem. We just took a bullet in the fight to prove that there is no such thing as clean coal. No matter what they do, you can’t mine it cleanly, you can’t burn it cleanly and you can’t deal with the after-effects cleanly.”

Scarborough is not aware of when the Kingston feature is scheduled to air. Stay tuned to RoaneViews or Metro Pulse and we’ll pass it along.

© 2009 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 3

WhitesCreek writes:


Thanks for helping us get the word out and keeping folks aware of the problems Roane County is facing with TVA's disaster. I do need to make a small correction to an otherwise very accurate piece.

None of us has inside knowledge of what the folks at 60 minutes are looking into while they are here. We've done everything we can to facilitate their visit, but I, personally, am certainly not going to be "featured".

There are greater issues that need to be addressed. While we are grateful these folks will be here, all of us hope that this will be one more significant media event that can help shine a hot spotlight on all the issues surrounding the tragedies caused by using coal for energy at every step along the way.

Hopefully it will be these issues, environmental, economic, and some of the personal hardships bestowed on the people of Roane County that will be featured.

And thanks to Metro Pulse for helping us make everyone more aware of the problems our community faces. I'm a big fan.


Steve Scarborough

piratenews writes:

What about the local bloggers who first broke this story 6 months ago, by interviewing TDEC commissioner Steve Scarborough, with a VIP tour of the disaster area?

Pirate News TV and Locust Fork blogs interview Steve Scarborough:

Pirate News interviews TN state rep Frank Nicely speaking at South Knox Republicans Club, February 2009 regarding TVA coal ash spill allegedly caused by earthquake, with TDEC allegedly blocking permits for cleanup:


Is 60 Minutes skating the real bloggers? Locust Fork is working on an updated story this week, on the horrific environmental disaster that TVA is trucking to Alabama to profit mafia in the landfill scam, er, business. TDEC wasn't blocking a permit to remove the toxic waste, TVA couldn't get a permit to DUMP toxic waste.

After all, the Knox County landfill employees fired for allegedly selling trash at garage sales were allegedly fired for embezzling $300,000 from the county landfill contract. That's not petty theft, that's organized crime. The same gangsters running the worldwide cartheft chopshop scrap-metal nuke-waste cartel out of Knoxville, sued in class actions by Pirate News, that resulted in over 100 KPD towing contractors fired and the city court clerk fired:

betlynn writes:

I look forward to seeing 60 minutes program on this subject.
In late Dec., 2008, I was traveling in Nevada and picked up a New York Times newspaper. Front page news was about this terrible tragedy. However, I did not see any follow-ups in the paper or on TV. I went online and did get some info but very little.
I wondered at the time why this was not national news and why it was not covered very well??
Thank you for your article.


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