In defense of the Cormorant -- and ethical journalism

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Fri, 05/19/2006 - 08:54.

I was so offended by the article the Plain Dealer ran on the cover Tuesday: "Ravenous birds facing last meal in Ohio soon" that I feel the need to post some factual inormation about cormorants. It is not that I necessarily oppose reducing the population of these birds -- what the article is essentially about -- its the over the top, purple prose I find insulting. i.e. "the cormorants look like prehistoric lizard-birds designed by Edgar Allan Poe on a bad night." Is this a phrase that belongs in Cleveland's daily paper or a cheap tabloid?  Why does reporter Bill Sloat want to make us hate these birds, and does he think readers are so impressionable? Can't he just tell us the facts? There is actually an interesting story here -- about the human impact on nature.

I don't expect the PD to hire an ornothologist to write a story like this (though should have consulted one of the many local bird experts), but a more scientific approach to this story should have been taken. 

See Wikipedia for a much more flattering description of the cormorant. In the past, cormorants have inspired poetry, been exploited by man for their fishing abilities and been depicted on heraldic crests.

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