On October 20, 2011, Roxanne Quimby apologized to a gathering of about 75 people in E. Millinocket, Maine. The scheduled meeting was to be a Q&A session for E. Millinocket residents. It turned out to be a well-planned ambush by her opponents who came armed with prepared remarks.
Roxanne’s comments in a Forbes magazine article created a firestorm of vicious, personal attacks from hundreds of people who commented on the inflammatory, one-sided article in the Bangor Daily News whose purpose was clearly to create more controversy surrounding Ms. Quimby’s wish to create a new national park in the Maine Woods.
It wasn’t that Roxanne’s remarks about Maine having a very high percentage of old, overweight citizens who are dependent upon government assistance were inaccurate; no one disputes that. What Roxanne was attempting to do was demonstrate that a new park would help diversify the economy in the region badly in need of jobs.
She is only guilty of a lack of judgement in making those comments and not understanding how her opponents would use them against her.
In her response to a sarcastic, opening comment by an elderly gentlemen, Roxanne offered her apology and asked for forgiveness. This public apology from a woman who has been vilified, demonized, and slandered in the Bangor Daily News for months because she wants to give her land to the National Park Service took a great deal of courage.
Roxanne Quimby will be admired for her generous gift of land to the people of the State of Maine and America, for her determination to face her attackers with respect and grace at every turn, and for the humility she displayed in making her public apology.
This whole trumped up affair is more a reflection on the lack of professionalism by the Bangor Daily News, and the character of anonymous slanderers who comment in the BDN.
Over the past several months following the continuous negative reporting by reporter Nick Sambides about Roxanne Quimby’s vision for a new national park on her own land in the Maine Woods, the Bangor Daily News has consistently allowed comments by hundreds of anonymous cowards that ridicule, attack, demean, and slander Ms. Quimby.
This week, the BDN allowed hundreds and hundreds of vitriolic attacks on Ms Quimby that were in blatant violation of their on-line comment policy to treat others with the same respect they’d want for themselves, to avoid personal attacks and name-calling. I was so outraged that I sent a letter to the editor demanding that all of those comments be removed, that they pay someone to review comments before publication, and that they issue a formal apology to their readers and Ms Quimby.
By allowing this outrage to continue, the BDN has lost all respect and credibility of a professional news organization and have lowered themselves to several steps below grocery store tabloids!
I encourage everyone who reads this blog to email or write letters to the editor expressing outrage at this gross injustice and violation of their own policies.
Several Millinocket business people gathered for a roundtable interview at the North Light Gallery. All are passionate about creating a stable economy for the town of Millinocket which has been hard hit by the closing of two mills in the region. These wonderful people are doing all they can to survive and to employ people.
In this segment of my People For The Park series, these folks are extolling the virtues of Roxanne Quimby and her vision for a 70,000 acre national park in the Maine Woods that would diversity the economy and save a dying town.
I’m happy to share their comments and hope that those of you who view this short video will join in supporting the cause.