Don Blankenship: Seventh scariest person in America

The venerable print magazine Old Trout was recently relaunched with a splashy issue on “The Thirteen Scariest Americans.” I was asked to write up the scariest American from an environmental point of view. The choice was not difficult. The scariest polluter in the U.S. is Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy. The guy is evil, and I don’t use that word lightly. The issue is out now. (Look for it on a newsstand near you!) The folks at Old Trout have given me permission to publish an expanded version of the piece after a suitable period of exclusivity. So watch for that at the beginning of December.

In the meantime, check out three things.

First, there’s this longish New York Times piece on Blankenship. In the usual style of mainstream reportage, it is studiously neutral in tone, woefully downplaying the environmental destruction Massey does and the thuggish tactics Blankenship has imposed. But you can get a pretty accurate general picture of the guy.

Second, watch this short clip from Bill Moyers’ PBS special Is God Green? At the end there’s an archival clip of Blankenship from 1984. To me it’s absolutely mesmerizing. I’ve probably watched it 50 times. The sunken, lifeless eyes, the flat affect, the utter lack of empathy … like I said, it bespeaks psychopathy. I’ve shown it to a bunch of other people and they don’t find it quite as chilling as I do, so your mileage may vary:

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