Media Debate on Fracking
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Media Debate on Fracking
I curate the media debate on fracking, in which the main players are the grassroots anti-fracking movement, the gas industry, the media apparatus and news outlets, the film industry and other minor organisms of the media ecosystem. The aim of the page is, therefore, to curate the controversial issue of fracking in the media ecosystem of the United States. In this debate, the gas industry has a great power in influencing the media, and I would highlight that throughout this project. However, my attempt is to be as fair as possible.
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TV: I Vote 4 Energy - YouTube

This video spoofing an actual American Petroleum Institute "Vote4Energy" commercial shows how Big Oil has to fake citizen support for dirty energy. Pushing p...
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

Here is the Greenpeace's genial answer to the viral videos for the pro-fracking campaign "I'm an energy voter". By showing the real faces of fracking-promoters, it highlights the interests behind fracking: much more a business for the industry than for communities... enjoy it !

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HFUnderFire.pdf

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An interesting leaked document of the IPAA (Independent Petroleum Association of America) launching the Energy In Depth campaign. It gives an idea of the huge amount of corporate money employed to change our mind about fracking, through PR firms, front-groups' pressure, and think-tanks, .

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Gas Industry Report Calls Anti-Fracking Movement a “Highly Effective Campaign”

Gas Industry Report Calls Anti-Fracking Movement a “Highly Effective Campaign” | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
A report intended to help the oil and gas industry squash the anti-fracking movement turns out to be full of useful information—and admits that much of what activists are saying is true.
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

Variuos newspapers and media outlets have recalled Wood's report on anti-fracking movement (see the previous scoop). Two of them are Forbes, which has provided a brief summary (http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2013/01/02/an-investigation-of-the-global-anti-fracking-movement/) and YES! magazine, which is scooped here.
The difference between the stances of the two media outlets' in the debate is clear in the interpretation they provide on the report. The first, orientated towards the business world, defines fracking -- on the basis of Wood's words -- as "a revolution heralding a golden age of cheap, plentiful energy for a resource-constrained world" and summarizes the report addressing business people facing the movement.
YES! magazine, on the other hand, celebrates the report on the anti-fracking movement as an admittion of the grassroots groups' victory over the gas industry, and as a valid source of useful information for the movement's strategic improvement and strengthening.

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Oil Industry Uses PBS Nova to Scare Voters About the "Risk" of Clean Energy

Oil Industry Uses PBS Nova to Scare Voters About the "Risk" of Clean Energy | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
For somebody old enough to remember PBS before
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A media outlet about sustainable technology shows PBS' biases exposing the "risks" of renewable energy.

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The Director of 'FrackNation' Fights Back! - YouTube

January 23, 2014 Phelim McAleer, director of fracking documentary, 'FrackNation', explains why his film was banned at a recent film festival... 'FrackNation'...
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http://www.theblaze.com/about/

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ENVIRONMENT AMERICA - Breakthroughs Video on Fracking - 7 min.


Via Ramy Jabbar رامي
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Here is a video realised by Breakthroughs on Environmental America, a national organization whose mission is to protect the environment. The video illustrates the damages on people's health caused by fracking. Breakthroughs is a series of educational television operating through the partnership with Public Television and other broadcasters.

It is pleasant to see that environmental groups achieve some space in a media ecosystem largely dominated by who has the money to buy it.

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The Costs Behind Fracking

Few Places in the United States are tougher ground for building an environmental-justice movement than the Appalachian counties of central Pennsylvania. And ...
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

To the gas industry's promises of immediate economical and employement boom, the anti-fracking activists respond with considerations on the long-term costs that drilling gas will have on the environment, people's health and economy.

Personally, I think that in moments of crisis like the one that people are living right now, promises on the short-term are much more effective...But I also trust on the Americans' care for the wellbeing of the future generations. In the end, it is not so far the moment in which the bill will come to be paid.

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Artists Against Fracking

Artists Against Fracking | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it

Via Antonio Lopez
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

As my previous scoops showed for celebrities, also artists have joined the anti-fracking fight carried on by the grassroots movement. In the media ecosystem, these parts play a decisive role in compensating the pro-fracking propaganda that media organizations funded by the gas industry convey, and the Web often acts as a springboard for these initiatives.

It is not too surprising to see Yoko Ono and other artists to oppose the governmental policies favoring the dominant powers. They can be considered an active part of the anti-fracking rhetoric of environmentalism and democracy preservation.

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Antonio Lopez's curator insight, January 7, 2013 10:19 AM

A great way to wage the anti-fracking PR war: get people to make their own  PSAs (and get lunch with Sean and Yoko if you win!).

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EPA fracking study could hurt energy boom - FAST NEWS - Mineweb.com Mineweb

EPA fracking study could hurt energy boom - FAST NEWS - Mineweb.com Mineweb | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
Mining, investments, energy boom, US Chamber of Commerce, EPA fracking, President Barack Obama, oil, natural gas
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

Here an analysis of the political pressure by the lobbies of the gas industry on the White House. In particular, the lobbies' pressure gathers favorable results on the Chamber of Commerce, whose President Thomas Donohue now pushes on Obama's administration not to pass the regulations on fracking that the EPA's study demonstrate necessary.

As the quotes included in the article make clear, the rhetoric is mostly based on the employment  and the energetic boom fracking is fueling -- the U.S. have overtaken Russia and the Saudi Arabia in the gas and oil production.

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Gasland director and MoveOn.org encourage “FrackingFighter” activism | PhillyNow | A blog about Philadelphia news, politics and culture by Philadelphia Weekly

Gasland director and MoveOn.org encourage “FrackingFighter” activism | PhillyNow | A blog about Philadelphia news, politics and culture by Philadelphia Weekly | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
Liberal activism group MoveOn.org recently sent out an email, in conjunction with Gasland director and Pennsylvania native Josh Fox, encouraging Pennsylvania
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

As in some previous posts showed, petitions are an effective weapon of the grassroots movements, and the web has extremely increased the power of this strategy. Probably the most important petitions platform involved in the anti-fracking movement is MoveOn.org, which has been also supported by Josh Fox.

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Greens weigh in on EPA fracking guidance

Greens weigh in on EPA fracking guidance | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
Environmental organizations are telling the Obama administration how it should write guidance for some hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations.Ahead of Thanksgiving last week, representatives from five environmental and government watchdog...
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) meet the representatives of five environmental groups to discuss about fracking regulations. This is an important step towards a more democratic dealing with the issue, in which also the anti-fracking entities are heard and taken into consideration in the decision-making.

This event demonstrates the success of the grassroots anti-fracking movement, which through an effective use of media has managed to increase its relevance in the ecosystem otherwise controlled by the gas industry.

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Fracking Lobby ANGA's Tax Forms: Big Bucks to Media Outlets, "Other ALECs"

Fracking Lobby ANGA's Tax Forms: Big Bucks to Media Outlets, "Other ALECs" | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) - the public relations arm of the oil and gas fracking industry - has released its 2012 Internal Revenue Services (IRS) 990 form, and it's rich with eye-opening revelations, some of which we report here for the...
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

Look at the eye-opening revelations included in the 2012 Annual Revenue Services of ANGA (Amentica's Natural Gas Alliance), which gives  information on the money flow around one of the biggest public relations branch of the gas industry. The donations to big media corporations, including NBC and its news channel, to politics, towards which they have a "buypartisan" approach -- in the sense that they give money to the both sides -- , and to green groups, give an idea of the power the gas industry has in influencing public opinion and decision-making in favor of their own businesses. 

In the media ecosystem, the gas industry constitutes a massive force able to control many of other organisms and the whole environment. The grassroots anti-fracking movement has a great challange to face in order to preserve the truth of facts, the environment, their own health as well as the wellbeing of future generations, and democracy.

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How Embarrassing for Them: Celebrities Dumb Down Fracking Debate

How Embarrassing for Them: Celebrities Dumb Down Fracking Debate | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
They’re killing it on You Tube, but these videos featuring celebrities including Marisa Tomei, Darren Criss, Lance Bass, Daryl Hannah, Amy Smart, Hayden Panettiere and Wilmer Valderrama really dumb down the conversation.
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

In response to the viral video "What the Frack?", featuring celebrities asking Obama to ban fracking, a significant part of public opinion was wondering about the relevance of their voice in the fracking debate. Although the campaign was overall successful in earning visibility for the anti-fracking movement, it also somehow attacked the credibility and seriousness of this latter.

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Energy Voter Kim - YouTube

 Energy is big part of the solution to get America going again. Developing domestic energy would pump a whole lot of money into the U.S. economy.

Matilde Brunetti's insight:

This is just one example of video circulating for the pro-fracking campaign "I'm an Energy Voter". In such videos, a person -- whose figure is carefully chosen to express reliability and spontaneity -- tells a reason why to vote for the oil and gas industry. The reasons are always the same: more jobs, more domestic revenues, America's self-sufficiency, cheaper energy. What they forgot to include is the costs behind the shale gas...

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Frackin’ Front Groups and PR Campaigns

Frackin’ Front Groups and PR Campaigns | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
Just as the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) has its front groups and PR campaigns, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has a few of its own.

The IPAA is a trade association. 
The Independent Petroleum Association of America is th
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

A map of the gas industry's front-groups, associations, PR firms and key personalities. It shows the huge "manifacturing consent" or "tobacco playbook" machine manipulating the public debate on fracking.
But it shows at the same time the precious intellingence abilities, combined with its capacity of circulating information, acquired by the anti-fracking movement through a smart employment of ICTs.

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shale_gas_whitepaper.pdf

Matilde Brunetti's insight:

This is a 2012 report on anti-fracking movement by Jonathan Woods, a senior global issues analyst "advising a multinational integrated oil and gas company on political and legislative developments impacting the energy sector". The purpose of the report is, therefore, to provide the industry with a comprehensive analyses of the movement, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses, goals, means, methods, strategies and future development, and advising the industry on how to deal with it.

It admits the effectiveness of the international movement, the legitimacy of its purposes and means. A reason of its success would be, at this regard, the wrong treatment the industry has showed towards them, ignoring and denying their legitimacy -- according to the analyst, this has had a boomerang effect on the oil and gas industry. Spending a great amount of money lobbying central government's key players, it disregarded local communities, which are now mobilized in the grassroots anti-fracking movement.

In other words, the industry is failing in persuading people and local communities about the benefits they would receive by fracking, and it is increasingly clear to people that fracking is only about industry's own business.

After its insuccess, it is therefore probable that the gas industry is going to change its strategies to oppose the anti-fracking movement.

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Fracking in California: Any Cause For Concern?

Fracking in California: Any Cause For Concern? | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
California oil producers use hydraulic fracturing to goose more oil out of old wells. The benefit is clear, but the costs are too unclear for comfort.
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

Here a PBS "balanced" story on fracking. In this article, which at a first glance can seem fair, several elements contribute to provide a partial story.

First, the title: it puts in doubt the reasons for concern, rather than fracking's security.

Second, it describes fracking by making a comparison with the past unsecure techniques, therefore making nowadays drilling practices appear secure.

Third, it claims: "Today fracking involves water mixed with a little sand, which washes into the new cracks and jams them open.”; this claim excludes the use of toxic chemicals, which are extensively pumped underground for drilling shale gas.

Fourth, the journalist claims: “I am allergic to activist overstatement of all kinds", which may seem an innocent sentence, since it means that he does not like overstatements; but why he is allergic to the activists' overstatements and not to overstatements in general? A claim such this in the article implicitly creates an antagonism against environmental activists.

Finally, explaining the lack of transparency of the gas industry, the article indicates governmental agencies as responsible, making the industry appear as innocent.

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L'UE renonce à encadrer l’exploitation du gaz de schiste

L'UE renonce à encadrer l’exploitation du gaz de schiste | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
La Commission présentera des recommandations « a minima ». Londres a mené un fort lobbying pour éviter toute législation.
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

This article published on Le Monde informs that the European Commission renounces to regulate fracking, limiting to some "reccomendations" which do not secure the European countries' policies. It is a big loss for the environmentalists.
Right now, the approach to fracking in Europe is uneven: while France has stopped the gas explorations, Poland and the UK are trying to follow the traces of the US, hoping to reach a larger independence from Russia. Some other countries, such as my homeland Italy, have not even opened the debate, allowing some oil and gas companies to freely operate in a unregulated situation -- I may deepen this case in the next scoops.
The European debate is much weaker than the one in the US, and is largely limited to the geopolitical discussion on the influence of the American corporations, on one side, and of Russia, on the other. The environmentalists' voice on fracking is feeble and almost totally marginalized.
From this news, it would seem that the American lobbies are winning over the Russian ones.

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The Shale Rebellion

The Shale Rebellion | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
Few places in the United States are tougher ground for building an environmental-justice movement than the Appalachian counties of central Pennsylvania. And then this happened.
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

Here is an indepth story of a community in Pennsylvania struggling to protect their lands and future from the gas industry's augers. From being absolutly unaware about fracking, they ended up being active citizens effectively practising civil disobedience and fighting for democracy.

The anti-fracking campaign started by Fox's documentaries and carried on mostly in the Web provided these people the tools to aknowledge the risks related to fracking and take aware choices on that, discarding the idea to cede to the money and promises from the gas industry and its propaganda.

This story demonstrates that also the anti-democratic events such the appropriation of public lands by powerful corporations can paradoxically generate positive phenomena of solidarity among people, the strenghtening of communities and the fostering of active citizenship. Whether they success or not, this community is going to come out winner from this event.

 

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Donors ditching NPR because of fracking promotions

Donors ditching NPR because of fracking promotions | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
On-air fracking promotions have left some listeners questioning their contributions.

Via Antonio Lopez
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

If some listeners probably absorbed the pro-fracking propaganda conveyed on NPR after it received generous funding from the gas industry, some others ended up switching channel. And some regular supporters even stopped to give money to NPR.

NPR claimed that it had to accept corporate money because it is strapped... in this case the supporters' leak would be a very bad news!

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Antonio Lopez's curator insight, January 7, 2013 4:30 AM

This is an important discussion about the funding model of public media. NPR claims that it has to accept corporate funding because it is cash-strapped (the network receives a fraction of government money compared to BBC). As such, during its news programming it has a little plug from the American Natural Gas Alliance that says the industry is committed to "environment and jobs." This little phrase may seem innocuous but it's part of a larger strategy by ANGA to legitimize fracking as environmentally safe when the opposite is true (see the film Gasland for a good overview of the topic). Unfortunately, NPR seems to have more allegiance to the fracking industry than its listeners. Several former donors have pledged to withhold their annual contribution until ANGA is removed as a sponsor. The article has a link to the petition.

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More pro-fracking spin on public radio

More pro-fracking spin on public radio | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
Public Radio International's recent energy special had a very positive take on fracking. Which is not surprising when you find out who's funding the show.

Via Antonio Lopez
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

Media dealing with controversial issues in a partial way: when it occurs in the debate on fracking, what you are going to listen is almost certainly a light conversation among pro-fracking supporters. And this is what it happened in April edition of the monthly radio program America Abroad "Global Energy and Innovations", in which the selected guest list expressed all the rhetoric of the pro-fracking propaganda.

Surprise surprise, among the funders of the program's distributor Public Radio International, appear names as ExxonMobil and Chevron, and the show itself was written by an hydrocarbon producers' foundation.

Again, in the media ecosystem the gas industry uses its money to buy space in the private and public media frequencies to convey propaganda and increase its profits.

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Antonio Lopez's curator insight, June 1, 2013 5:11 AM

Again, another example of how carbon companies game public radio through funding. At the end of the article is an email link to America Abroad Media's ombudsman, Jeffrey Dvorkin. If you are frustrated by this kind of one-sided coverage, please write him to request a more balanced discussion.

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US Consumers are Getting "Fracked" as Fossil Fuel Industry Benefits Enormously From Natural Gas Wholesale Price Drops

US Consumers are Getting "Fracked" as Fossil Fuel Industry Benefits Enormously From Natural Gas Wholesale Price Drops | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT An article posted in The National Journal asserts that fracking -- dangerous to the environment, the eart...
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

This article debunks one of the myths of gas industry's propaganda, according to which fracking makes energy cheaper for the consumer. Indeed, the article claims, it is convenient only for businesses.

Chevron's banners promising: "Which Industry is Creating American Jobs and Strengthening the Economy? The Answer Is Energy", might be losing credibility at the Americans' eyes.

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Sign the petition: Ban Fracking in MA

Sign the petition: Ban Fracking in MA | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
I just signed a petition to The Massachusetts State House, The Massachusetts State Senate, and Governor Deval Patrick: We ask our state legislators to ban fracking in the state of MA and to bar toxic fracking wastewater from being deposited near or...
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

The State of Massachusetts is deciding in these weeks the future of fracking in its territory. Last Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture passed a bill  for a 10 years moratorium of the practice, and if the full state legislature passes the bill, and if Gov. Deval Patrick signs it, Massachusetts would become the second state in the nation to ban fracking -- Vermont banned it last year, despite having negligible fracking potential.

The platform MoveOn.org carries on the anti-fracking cause through petitions and endorsement of active local groups.

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Celebrities: You Don't Know What You're Fracking Talking About

Western Energy Alliance calls on actors opposed to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to abstain from their extravagant lifestyles fueled by American oil and na...
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

The gas industry responds to the anti-fracking campaign "What a Frack?" featuring a bunch of celebrities asking Obama to ban fracking. In this new video, five people alternate telling that the argumentation carried on by the anti-fracking movement are "Hollywood fictions" that need to be debunked.

I find interesting the rhetorical elements employed in this video. Each of these people plays a specific role aiming to create an aura of reliability around his/her figure: there is the young worker, with the helmet in his arms, who supposedly works for the gas industry; the senior woman looking like a authoritative professor; a young girl, expressing spontaneity and transparency; a young boy with the coat and hat, who looks like a common person met in the street, and an other guy with a colorful shirt and glasses who might be a student at college. Moreover, the argumentation they provide respect the rhetoric typically used by the gas industry propaganda: fracking brings employment to Americans, convenience in energy prices, is environmentally more secure than the oil imported from overseas countries, and it has never caused any accident.

Also, the dialectic truth vs. fiction is characteristic of the gas industry media discourse, also giving the title to the documentary Truthland.

But wait a minute: there is no farmer telling about fracking's convenience and security in this video... Have they realized that this rhetoric does not work anymore?

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MoveOn.org: MoveOn.org #FrackingFighters Application

MoveOn.org: MoveOn.org #FrackingFighters Application | Media Debate on Fracking | Scoop.it
Matilde Brunetti's insight:

A great challange the grassroots movements have to face in order to reach a relevant voice in the public debate is the one of managing to organize all the singular citizens sharing a cause into solid and unanimous groups. Initiatives such this promoted by MoveOn.org can be an effective strategy to quickly create active local groups organized into a national unique entity, with a single, loud voice.

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