Don Blankenship: ‘American competitionist’

October 23, 2012 by Ken Ward Jr.

We’ve had a couple of posts over the last few weeks (see here and here) about the recent activities of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. Well, it seems Blankenship has also launched his own website,

The site makes for some interesting reading, proclaiming Blankenship an “American Competitionist” and offering what it calls “Factual discussions on America” like this:

Most every country in the world, in one way or another, benefits from a strong, healthy America. All Americans, and in fact all the world, are stakeholders in our country. It is America, and Americans, that have led the world’s progress in the improvement of people’s quality of life…

The “About me” section offers a first-person summary of Blankenship’s life. There’s this about his early years:

My life, like most of yours, has had its ups and downs. My father and my Mom each worked 80 to 90 hours per week, which taught me to be independent at a very early age.

As the saying goes, we were poor but didn’t know it. We had an outhouse that was nicer than the one most of our neighbors had. We always had shoes. My Mom was a McCoy, although not directly related to those who feuded with the Hatfield’s in the hills of Kentucky where I was born.

My early years were occupied by baseball, pumping gasoline into coal miners’ cars at our family gas station, and watching Gunsmoke, Andy Griffith, Bonanza, Wagon Train, and Rawhide – that is, after we got our first television when I was seven years old. The town I lived in most of my first 18 years was Delorme, West Virginia, population of 400 at the time – now maybe 200.

And then there’s this:

Next, it was on to Marshall University. I was there when the football team was killed in the plane crash in 1970. This was my first experience with a horrific tragedy. Of course, the worst tragedy of my life was the day of the Massey mine explosion on April 5, 2010. I also have vivid memories of the day President Kennedy was shot, and of course of 9/11. Those were three heartbreaking days to be sure.

Blankenship describes his coal industry career this way:

In 1982, I came to work for Massey Coal Company and was there until December 2010. Again, I received every promotion available to me during those years. I learned about, and struggled against, the ignorance and evilness of the United Mine Workers, much of the media, the “greeniacs,” and much of corporate America.

And this:

In short, my life has been a great one. I experienced the cold chill of an Appalachian outhouse in January winters, but I have also dined at the dinner tables of some of the richest and most powerful people in the world, including at the White House private dining table. Hopefully I can communicate to you my wide range of life experiences and what they have taught me, and in doing so, I can make a small contribution to saving our Country.

The website includes photos and archival video of various Blankenship speeches and other public appearances, along with an interesting collection of newspaper stories and opinion pieces.

4 Responses to “Don Blankenship: ‘American competitionist’”

  1. Phil Smith says:

    Gaaack. One has to wonder why he feels like he needs his own website. I note he refers to the “ignorance and evilness” of the UMWA. I don’t understand what that means, but I think that if one were to ask the families of the 54 workers who were killed at Massey facilities while Don Blankenship was head of that company those families would have a different view of who is evil and ignorant.

    The UMWA has never and will never accept that death and injury is an inevitable byproduct of coal mining. Don Blankenship does accept that, and always has. To me, there can be no greater evil than knowing someone who works for you has to die, suffer crippling injury or get black lung so that you can make millions from their labor, much less dine at the dinner tables of the worlds rich and powerful.

    There have been and still are corporate executives in America for whom it may make sense to have a website specifically dedicated to what they think about things. Don Blankenship is not one of them. One can only hope that when the U.S. Attorney in Charleston is finally finished with his investigation in the Upper Big Branch disaster, Don Blankenship will be updating that website from prison, where he belongs.

  2. Bo Webb says:

    To better understand Don’s narcissism read Michael Shnayerson’s book “Coal River”.

  3. Marc Hutton says:

    It’s hard to remain a proud West Virginian living outside the state with someone like Don Blankenship remaining unpunished and a free man.

  4. Beth Allen says:

    I, too, was born in the coal fields of east KY. Sadly, my fist experience with tragedy was when a 16 year old miner was shot by hired thugs at the Brookside strike in Harlan County. I was three. Then I encounter tragedy again when Scotia Mine exploded not once but twice killing many of my friends fathers and my fathers friends.

    I recall trips from the company clinic in Benham to the first-better faculty where my parents could get a “second opinion” for bilateral pneumonia diagnosed as a “cold” by an apathetic hack mascarading as healthcare for the miners and their families – the original “managed care” plan. I also recall family tragedy where second opinions came too late.

    The UMWA is, at its core, the men and women who come together and say “enough.” Enough with outhouses, carrying water, coal camp shacks, and company doctors. It sounds like the writer really does find ignorance in the UMWA, not the organization, but the body. He reveals shame in his roots and pride in his social climbing. There’s a good many of us, however, who developed character from our roots. I’m content with my history and no matter whose dinner table I find myself seated at, I won’t apologize for being a coal miner’s daughter and I’m proud that my dad (and mother) helped improved the lives/safety of other miners.

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