Robert F. Kennedy Jr. delivered a powerful condemnation of the Bush administration's environmental policies at Daemen College, while also blaming corporate-owned media for failing to investigate and expose wrongdoing.
The noted environmental defender injected flashes of humor and occasional references to his father in a passionate 85-minute talk Wednesday as the keynote speaker at Daemen's Academic Festival.
The rapt audience of 500 in the Wick Center, and an additional 100 watching on a screen in an adjoining room, heard Kennedy blast a revolving-door relationship between the Bush administration and corporate polluters that he warned is corroding the nation's values and imperiling public health.
This "crony capitalism," Kennedy said, has systematically "eviscerated" hard-won environmental protections.
"You can't talk honestly about the environment, in any context, without speaking critically of this White House. This is the worst environmental president that we have ever had in American history, bar none," he said to rousing applause.
He blamed corporate-controlled media for failing to report on administration policies and their long-lasting effects on public health and the environment. Together with the rise of right-wing cable news programs and talk radio and the incursion of entertainment into news programming, he said, vast numbers of Americans are ignorant or misinformed about the world around them.
Kennedy, 53, has been in the forefront of environmental protection for the past quarter-century. He is a clinical professor and supervising attorney at Pace University School of Law's environmental litigation clinic and chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper, which led him to salute members of the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper in attendance.