In today's Eastern Kentucky, miners and their relatives and friends have joined with operators in response the "war on coal" that they have been told was started by the Obama administration to end coal mining as the state has known it for more than a century. Kentucky is the third largest producer of coal in the U.S., and the industry remains a major player in the state's politics. Many people outside the Eastern coalfields have sympathy for the industry's and miners' perceived plight, said Al Cross, director of the University of Kentucky's Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which publishes The Rural Blog.
Cross wrote in a column for The Courier-Journal of Louisville in October that Barr and his coal industry allies were trying to unseat Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler "by telling lies" about the "war on coal." Barr's campaign ran a television ad featuring a Western Kentucky coal executive posing as a miner, proclaiming that Chandler and President Obama were attacking the coal industry. The man still has his miner's certificates, but "Barr's ad was misleading to the point of untruth," Cross wrote. "In the longstanding language of coal mining in Kentucky, there are miners and there are operators, and executives belong in the latter category." When Chandler ran an ad calling Barr's spot "a big lie," Barr ran one in which the executive said Chandler was attacking him, and another in which miners denigrated Chandler, one calling him "a low-life."
|Chandler, left, met with rural|
electric cooperative officials