Friday, May 03, 2024

Don Blankenship, At It Again


Photo Luke Sharrett, New York Times

In 2018, a notorious West Virginia coal baron named Don Blankenship ran for the US Senate as a Republican, and I, along with at least 150 other bloggers and major news outlets, wrote about him. He sued all of us for defamation. You can confirm that here. The suit was eventually dismissed. At least I was dismissed from the suit. I don't believe Mr. Blankenship collected the large sum in damages he was suing for.

A friend yesterday sent me this update on the new political activities of Mr. Blankenship, which are interesting primarily for his trying to involve John F. Kennedy Jr. in his campaign. The following is taken directly from dKos:

• WV-Sen: In case you weren't already aware that Don Blankenship, the ex-Republican ex-con who now purports to be running for Senate as a Democrat, is batshit crazy, please check out his new batch of TV ads, courtesy of Medium Buying. In case you're scared to click (you should be) because you don't want to alarm anyone who might be in earshot, here's a transcript of the first spot:

Blankenship: I'm Don Blankenship, candidate for the United States Senate, and I paid for this ad.

Narrator: Don Blankenship will tell you the honest truth!

RFK Jr.: Don Blankenship … he's the most honest CEO in America!

Narrator: Unfortunately, our government is not honest. Even the truth about the murders of Mr. Kennedy's dad and uncle are kept hidden. They even refused to keep Mr. Kennedy safe because he left the party. Your choice is simple: You could vote for more lies, or you could vote for …

RFK Jr.: Most honest CEO in America!

Blankenship: If they tell you I fell off the bed and hung myself, I didn't.

The old grainy footage of Kennedy, by the way, is from a strange public debate he and Blankenship staged in 2010 over the merits of mountaintop removal mining. Just months later, a fatal accident at a coal mine run by Blankenship led to the deaths of 29 miners, the worst such disaster on American soil in 40 years. The man Kennedy praised as "the most honest CEO in America" would later serve a year in federal prison for conspiring to violate federal mine safety rules.


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