So Long, Bacon’s Rebellion

Galuszka on Thom Hartmann show, 2012

Here I am discussing my book on the Thom Hartmann show in Washington in  2012

 By Peter Galuszka

For that past six (or is it seven or eight?) years, I’m been pleased to pound away posting my peculiar views on Bacons Rebellion.

My stance has typically been that of a liberal or progressive albeit one of the near and not the far left. My opinions have been honed by 41 years of experience as a journalist in Virginia, in other states and abroad.

Now it’s time to sign off, at least on Bacons Rebellion. I’ll be moving over to Style Weekly, where I have been writing for the past six years.

I have a close relationship with the Style staff whom I respect tremendously. In fact, it was a Style story on coal giant Massey Energy in 2009 that morphed into my first book, “Thunder on the Mountain: Death at Massey and the Dirty Secrets Behind Big Coal” that was published in hardback by St. Martin’s Press in 2012 and then in paperback by West Virginia University Press in 2014. In a way, it’s like going home since Style is owned by The Virginian-Pilot, where I first starting working in 1973 when I was 20 years old.

I also have tremendous respect for Jim Bacon, with whom I have been working on and off since 2000. While Jim and I share very different views on most topics, he and I share one common idea – that the free press and deeply reported and analyzed stories are essential if Virginia and the country are to protect individual liberty and have flourishing economies.

Over the years, Jim and I have chewed over such issues as land use and the environment; ethics and energy. We’ve been through such colorful figures as Ken Cuccinelli and the rise and fall of Bob McDonnell, the Confederate flag and health care.

Recently, however, Jim has accepted a sponsorship from Dominion Resources, whom I have covered and written about critically since the mid-1970s. Although Dominion has had absolutely no impact on my recent postings, I am uncomfortable with continuing on a blog that embraces stories that do seem, in some cases, to be push Dominion’s interests in ways that are far too one-sided. This is not healthy given the gravity of such issues as global warming, renewable energy, coal, natural gas, the rights of landowners who decline to let Dominion survey their property for a pipeline route and so on.

Another reason for my decision to leave is that a venomous gas seems to be suddenly choking the Rebellion. Rather than arguing my points with wit and facts, as I have been enjoying for years, some of the more recent commenters have resorted to snark and bitter personal assaults. I have donated thousands of hours of my time for free on this blog. Commenters might not agree with me, but now some seem not to respect my efforts at all. So, I say goodbye and good luck to them.

If you want to find me in the future, look for me at styleweekly.com and at The Washington Post, where I will continue to contribute to the All Opinions Are Local section and to other parts of the paper. I will still be free lancing for various outlets.

I hope you will continue to read and support Bacons Rebellion. It is fantastic resource that has served as much-needed forum for information, ideas, debate and analysis as journalism continues to undergo the tremors caused by the Internet.

All the best to Jim!

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18 responses to “So Long, Bacon’s Rebellion

  1. Peter, while I haven’t always agreed with you, or you with me, I’ve truly appreciated your presence. More than once, you’ve given me a new thought to contemplate. I hope I returned the favor from time to time. Best of luck as you move on.

  2. Sorry to hear this – but could see the storm clouds forming… and learned a long time ago – if you don’t like what you are doing – find something else you like.

    so good luck to Peter.. there will be a further lack of balance here without you and I hope you don’t burn the BR bridge completely but allow yourself to come back from time to time and write a hell-raiser of a post!

  3. I want to thank Peter for his many years of unpaid contributions to Bacon’s Rebellion. I cannot overstate how much he has helped make this publication what it is. More than anyone, he has provided ideological balance to my conservative, free-market views, making the blog what I’ve always wanted it to be — a home for diverse ideological and philosophical perspectives. Peter gave credibility to my claim that Bacon’s Rebellion is truly a non-partisan blog where people of diverse perspectives come together to discuss public policy issues facing Virginia.

    I know some readers find Peter’s view infuriating. Sometimes he infuriated me! But I see that as a credit to his ability to articulate his views so cogently. A mediocre writer is easy to dismiss. Only a talented one can make blood vessels pop off readers’ heads! Not only is Peter one of Virginia’s best writers and journalists, he was a worthy adversary. He made me up my game, both as a reporter and a commentator. To outsiders our rhetorical blasts and counter-blasts must have seemed as if we were ready to rip each other’s throats out, but they were only words. At the end of the day, we could always get together for a beer. (Actually, we usually got together for lunch at Panera.)

    Good luck at Style, Peter. You’ve always got a blogging home at Bacon’s Rebellion if you ever want to come back. The Dominion sponsorship won’t last forever.

  4. I agree with Larry, TMT, and Jim’s comments.

  5. Thank you for the articles and points of view Peter, and I also enjoyed the picture above.

  6. Peter, thank you for all of your efforts! I have enjoyed your articles and I will keep a look out for your Style posts.

  7. Best wishes to you, Peter. I appreciated your economic coverage.

  8. Thanks for the content Peter. Good luck!

  9. Best wishes: heartily agree with your wish for more civility but good luck with that! It might be nice if the readers of Style Weekly choose to replace all snark and bitter personal assaults with wit and facts, but at least, there, you can filter what comments your readers will be allowed to see. The Rebellion allows most every reaction as it comes, which unfortunately is the way a real conversation (or argument) is going to take place sometimes.

  10. I’m tremendously sorry to see Peter go. His comments have always been well-expressed and enlightening: fact-filled and well-reasoned. And, I happen to agree with him where he has taken issue with Jim. But I also much respect Jim’s opinions and his openness to criticism and in the civil tone that he has sought to maintain in this blog. So it’s terribly troublesome to hear of the vitriol poured on Peter’s entries. I guess, as an irregular reader of all comments, I have missed them. But they surely should be censored and eliminated before being allowed. Some basic standards of civility require it. If we have dolts and barbarous commentators, don’t give them an avenue to express their vapid views. Their 1st amendment rights need not intrude on this blog.

    So, many thanks Peter, and we’ll be reading you in the Post and elsewhere.

  11. I agree Peter’s contributions were generally a positive to the blog, however his periodic sniping at Jim after Jim’s openness in revealing the Dominion sponsorship sometimes bothered me. I took this “out of context” from a recent (July 22nd) post from Peter:
    “Gee, Jim, you’ll do anything these days to buttress Dominion’s position while you put me down personally.”

    While Bearing Drift is rife with this sort of AH post they seem out of place in a generally balanced vehicle such as BR. Jim regularly surfaces issues and background news that the fourth estate seems to miss (or is too liberal to cover…).

    Sorry to be the outlier here.

    • I think Peter was gradually becoming more disenchanted .. and it was becoming a game of duck nibbles … and rebuttals… happening more frequently…

      I think Peter was struggling with it for a while..

      It’s clearly a loss because I feel BR needed a counter-balance to some of the issues.

  12. This blog is too valuable to dismiss, and I certainly shall contribute what little I can, and I anticipate Jim’s continued tolerance for opposing views, so long as they’re civil! I think Larry and others will provide their regular balanced critiques.

  13. I am both pleasantly surprised and relieved to learn of Peter’s departure. I have never questioned his intellect, his word smithing, or his positions. However, the haughty,condescending , holier-than-though tone that infuses his commentary left me with indigestion and a lingering headache. If he could just turn back the snarky ,vitriolic dial, I think that his viewpoints would be more palatable and persuasive.

    You don’t have to put down someone to take them down.

    On the other hand, I always wanted to know what Peter had to say, I just didn’t want to read it.

  14. Peter – will miss your articles and comments here. I will check you out in your new venues. Richard

  15. Peter,

    I am sad to see you won’t be writing here anymore. I enjoyed the point and counter point, and often times felt I was with you on many topics and other times I was with Jim on some topics. It was a great discourse. Good luck with your future ventures, I hope you still return here to comment from time to time.

  16. Since I’ve agreed with many, and probably most, of Mr. Galuszka’s thoughts over the last couple of years, I too will miss them. But I find it stunning that he’s leaving Bacon’s Rebellion, even partially, because of a “venomous gas” and “snark and bitter personal assaults.” Most of the time, based on my occasional reading (and very rare commenting) of this blog,Mr. Galuszka has been the issuer of personal and professional attacks.

    With a much less vicious tone than Mr. Galuszka used, I hope that some regular reader consistently reminds Mr. Bacon that to maintain his independence he must occasionally “bite the hand (Dominion) which feeds him (his blog).” More often than not, the choice of what to cover, what to write about, is a more powerful (and less seen) issue than how one writes about any given subject and it is so, so easy to “not go there” when “there” is where money comes from.

  17. Peter, I did want to thank you for your posts, especially your work on coal and Massey. I look forward to reading more of your work at Style.

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