Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Josh Fox: Don’t Believe Smear Campaigners

Filmmaker/activist Josh Fox takes a break from banjo playing,
watching other members of his Grassroots Solutions Tour
address the audience at Plattsburgh State.

© 2015 Luke T. Bush


During Josh Fox’s Grassroots Solutions event at Plattsburgh State I had a question on my mind.  I had the chance after the event wrapped up to pose it to the filmmaker/activist.

A skeptical friend referred me to a reddit comment that claimed one key scene in in the documentary Gasland was deceptive: a homeowner opens his kitchen sink tap and lights up the contaminated water with a cigarette lighter, producing a burst of flame.

This startling effect  was evidence that nearby fracking had polluted the ground water with methane, making it both unhealthy and inflammable.  But critics claimed that it didn’t mean that fracking was the culprit: methane occurs naturally, leaking into water sources.

Josh told me to check out his short film, The Sky is Pink, [ https://vimeo.com/44367635 ] which addresses the subject.

"The oil and gas industry are trying to create doubt,” he said.  “The film [Gasland] has been scientifically proven and validated over and over again."  The fact is hydraulic fracking can cause the migration of methane into the water supply. 

Josh added: “Duke University proved scientifically that it is seventeen times more likely to have influx of methane in your groundwater if you're within a thousand feet of a [gas drilling site]."

The Sky Is Pink explains the concept of He said/She said journalism.  To be "objective" a reporter has to present both sides of an issue, even though the opposing side is completely wrong, spreading disinformation.  This pseudo-debate can serve a smear campaign, putting doubt in the public’s mind.

The 18-minute video also mentions the American Natural Gas Association had hired the public relations firm Hills & Knowlton, the same firm behind the deceptive campaigns in the 1950s that claimed cigarette smoking was safe, it was good for you.

1 comment:

Storm Petrol said...

Please read Naomi Oreskes, "The Merchants of Doubt" and/or see the movie.

Read Steve Coll's excellent biography of the transnational corpse, ExxonMobil, "Private Empire".

Hundreds of thousands of people still die in the US every year of smoking related illness. Uncounted millions now die every year all around the world from the same causes.

Millions are already migrating and dieing every year from climate change related causes.

Meanwhile, the same seeding of doubt paralyzes humanity by providing an excuse an excuse for inaction, except, of course, for the massive and highly destructive extraction of wealth wherever possible.

Greed for profit, the sole motive of the corpses, is driving us, and at least half of the species on Grandmother Earth, toward extinction.