New York, N.Y. - Major League Baseball's relationship with a group of environmental extremists is drawing criticism from experts at the National Center for Public Policy Research who believe that taking good care of the environment, like baseball, should be a uniting factor, instead of a divisive one.
"MLB's partnership with the radical Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) undermines what should be a goal of bringing Americans together for a clean environment," according to Jeff Stier, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Risk Analysis Division.
"Conservation is as American as baseball, but MLB has gone into foul territory by partnering with the group that started one of the most memorable unfounded junk-science campaigns in a generation, the alar scare, which in 1989 caused Americans to think apple pie could cause cancer. To this day, the NRDC promotes unscientific scares that hurt job-creating industries and consumers alike," says Stier.
The NRDC's initiatives tend to be divisive, even partisan, campaigns. In a September 28 online issue briefing, it urges the defeat of Congressional proposals intended to reduce regulatory barriers to job creation, claiming, "the House Republican Leadership has declared war on public health and the environment."
"You don't have to be a Tea Party member," says Jeff Stier, "to be offended by the NRDC's bogus allegation that 'the Tea Party agenda is hazardous to your health.'"
Major League Baseball, which partnered with the NRDC to show a public service announcement narrated by Robert Redford during the playoffs, leaves the public with the dubious impression that the NRDC is a group that baseball fans should support.
"If Major League Baseball wants to tout responsible environmental practices, it could have done so with an inclusive organization, or on its own," says Stier, who is a veteran monitor of false, misleading and/or harmful health claims by radical activist groups. "The PSA, of course, excludes the strident language and rancid politics otherwise employed by NRDC. But the ad," says Stier, "amounts to a free fundraising campaign for a group that a large percentage of baseball fans, regardless of their political affiliation, would abhor if they understood the group's true radical agenda."
Stier, a long-time New York Yankees season ticket holder, is particularly disappointed that "an extremist organization is given the opportunity to bask in the goodwill of what should be America's non-partisan pastime."
"The National Center for Public Policy Research today calls on Major League Baseball to immediately cease running the NRDC PSA. If privately-owned major league baseball clubs want to install solar panels in stadiums they own, commit to recycling, or encourage their fans to do so, good for them," said National Center President Amy Ridenour, a Pirates fan. "But partnering with an organization that routinely slanders tens of millions of Americans is an insult to those Americans and to all fans who don't share the NRDC's extreme agenda. Unless Major League Baseball plans to recast itself as a political party, and a left-wing one at that, it should withdraw from this partnership."
The National Center For Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Its 2010 revenues were over $12 million. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters, receiving only about one percent of its revenue from corporate sources. Contributions to it are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.