No Excuse for Cole's Behavior

It has now been three weeks since Gateway Pacific Terminal public relations consultant Craig Cole issued his threat against Whatcom Watch editor Richard Jehn and reporter Sandra Robson. While he has yet to follow through with his distressing threat of libel lawsuit, his reckless, unfounded accusations have already caused Jehn and Robson personal anguish and legal expense.

Tempting as it might be for observers to let Cole off if he simply withdraws his threat, that is not enough. For the anxiety, insecurity and fear of reprisal he has deliberately inflicted on Jehn and Robson, Cole must withdraw his threat, publicly apologize, and pay damages. Anything less will encourage others to follow his irresponsible example.

In The Politics of Land and Bigotry, I observed, “Unless moral authorities once again step forward to protect activists and journalists who support Coast Salish nations in their quest to save the Salish Sea, threats like the one noted in my editorial Gateway Pacific Terminal Consultant Threatens Journalists will be emulated by the Tea Party and Christian Right.”

Cole calls himself a civic leader. What kind of civic leader would model the science of coercion by putting a target on the backs of an editor and reporter he wants to intimidate into silence, especially with CERA racists, Minuteman thugs and Tea Party hoodlums running amok?
Cole’s reckless behavior simply cannot be excused. There is no excuse for it.