Preventing History From Repeating Itself: Washington State Officials Charge “Ax Men” With Environmental Violations

150px-history_channel_usGeorge Santayana said that “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” The Washington Department of Natural Resources took that lesson to heart in watching the History Channel’s “Ax Men.” While one of the stars insisted that “We’re normal guys that do extraordinary things,” DNR officials saw normal guys doing criminal things in taking logs out of the river.

The DNR hit S&S Aqua Logging (which features its connection on the History Channel on its website) with a search warrant after officials watched the program on television and saw its employees pulling floating logs from the Hoquiam River without a permit. These logs play an important role in the ecosystem and are not allowed to be taken by companies without a permit.

On the show, owner Jimmy Smith was not only helpful in filming the commission of the alleged violations but detailed how each of the logs are worth about $10,000.

If it is found that the company lacked a permit, it is remarkable that the History Channel would do so little research to confirm that it was not filming potential environmental crimes. While they are not likely to be liable, the popular show’s producers showed remarkably little interest in whether they were filming unlawful conduct. I am personally saddened that the History Channel rarely deals with history or historical subjects in its rush for ratings. However, it can at least pander to ratings with programs that are not reused as evidence of environmental violations in court.

For the full story, click here.

9 thoughts on “Preventing History From Repeating Itself: Washington State Officials Charge “Ax Men” With Environmental Violations”

  1. Speaking of bad history, Bush said he’s writing a book (yeah, right) about the 12 most difficult decisions he made while in office. This was his rationale. You decide if this was a Freudian slip. Given his propensity for mauling the language, it could be a mistake, but I don’t think so.

    “‘I’m going to put people in my place, so when the history of this administration is written at least there’s an **authoritarian** voice saying exactly what happened,” Bush said.'” [emphasis added]

  2. I have to make a retraction. The last time I watched History International was a couple of years ago when I spent some time in the hospital. I looked over their programming last night when I could not sleep and it is now every bit as bad as the usual THC programming. To add insult to injury, they’ve also gone to late night infomericals where they used to put content on all night (that was the initial attraction while trapped in the hospital bed – 4 AM is a TV wasteland). Boo! Hiss! Not even a return of the morphine drip would have made that crap last night watchable.

  3. Steve & buddha:

    Saying the History Channel is about history is like saying Fox News is about news.

  4. Steve,

    I’d like to point to The Science Channel and National Geographic as two channels still getting it right. Also the quality of programming on History Channel International is far superior to the flagship. You are oh so right about THC and TLC. Mostly crap. And still yet, despite the digital pretty, none of them beats a good old fashioned analog book and the beauty of a well maintained library. Preferably one with a good reference librarian.

  5. Surfing thru the cable “edutainment” channels, you see that the history channel is now all about ufos, ghosts,monsters. The learning channel is now all about the breeding follies of certain families.and the home channels are now all about the green.

  6. That show truly sickens me, the gleeful, proud destruction of our pitiful remnants of once-vast forests. It is more of a sacrilege than any prank with any religious icon or book.

    I’d like to see the History Channel devote a series to the usefulness of bamboo, hemp and other under utilized but easily replaceable resources.

  7. I’m not sure how fair it is to go after the History Channel here. It was doing a series on logging and loggers. Do were really think it was the producers’ responsibility to be aware of all related environmental regulations before turning the cameras on? And what would you have preferred they do, know this was illegal and so not show it to protect the company?

    Certainly, it was the lumber company’s responsibility to know the regulations, one it apparently failed to meet. (I think we can safely assume ignorance of the fact that what they were doing was illegal since it was so openly done and discussed in front of the cameras.) But was it the History Channel’s?

    On another point, I agree that it’s regrettable that the History Channel doesn’t do more, well, history. Still, I see what it does now as an improvement over the early days when it got the nickname “all World War II, all the time.”

  8. “We’re normal guys that do extraordinary things,” or
    “We’re normal guys potentially committing environmental crimes.”
    Either way their just normal guys.

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