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February 13, 2012

John Mayer wrote “And when they own  the information, oh, they can bend it all they want” in his popular song “Waiting on the World to Change”.

I understand what he meant.

If “they” control all of the information we see on the news and “they” determine what they define as “news”, then over time, they can “bend it all they want.”

They have and they still do.

News outlets are owned by media companies run by people. These people are not void of the opinions possessed by all men; they’re ultimately the decision makers on the content and whatever content you see is what they want you to see. This has been the largest problem related to the representation of Hydraulic Fracturing. It has allowed for great harm with bent representation of Frac’ing practices in little towns like Dimock and Pavillion because we’ve finally seen whatever those decision makers have decided that we should see rather than a balanced and factual portrayal of the facts. Their ultimate interest in not in the accurate representation of what is.

Fear and doom gather higher ratings than mundane facts.

It is all about the angles for these folks. For a country deciding on an energy policy, facts need to be the currency for choice rather than ratings. This has not been the case.

In eight days, film makers Ann McElhinney, Phelim McAleer, and Magda Segieda have raised $46,998 dollars of a needed $150,000 from 504 different backers to create a documentary called “FrackNation”. With 52 days to go, they need only $103,002 dollars to fund the whole project. The link to their video and the story behind why they are motivated to complete such a project can be found here.

To provide an abbreviated explanation, “FrackNation” will be a documentary that supports Hydraulic Fracturing backed with the voices of the people living in towns misrepresented by the film “GasLand”. It will be a factual rebuttal to the propaganda hype of Josh Fox and his negative portrayal of the potential of Shale Gas, propaganda that has already been far too influential in the Frac’ing policy making of the United States and the world.

“GasLand” intentionally misrepresents an industry as unconcerned with the citizens near their leases and it represents an industry hell bent on profiting by contaminating aquifers and water sources. The film has raised pulses but it is a twisting of the truth. I would call much of it an outright lie.

In eight days, $46,998 dollars have been raised for a film project that supports Hydraulic Fracturing when what has been regularly shown in the media is an Anti Hydraulic Fracturing sentiment nationwide. This leads me to believe that this anti Hydraulic Fracturing sentiment is a creation of the media.

Despite all of the positive information available on Hydraulic Fracturing and despite all of the potential that Shale gas presents to the United States and abroad, it has taken non-American Independent Film Makers to create a documentary that supports the practice. Lately, it appears that expertise of all of the engineers and geologists employed by the Oil and Gas Industry is irrelevant according to the mainstream.

That is a travesty. It undermines the educations of these masses of people. What good are Universities if the expertise they teach is biased as to disqualify them from speaking as being “on the industry payroll”?

Phelim mentioned farmers crying because they would have to lose their farms if not for Shale Gas. I have not heard of their stories until this point.

The fund raising for this film and its apparent success is indicative of a group of people who would like the misinformation to stop. Up until this point, the Industry has not been clearly represented and the important questions, the questions worth asking, have been neglected to some dark corner void of public airwaves. We should be asking these questions rather than taking film makers like Josh Fox at their word. We should be asking Josh Fox to prove it and answer for his stance in a public setting. This film will do just that.

We hope that the current level of fund-raising success, a representation of a hunger for the truth, will be fully funded and well received. It is, after all, going to be a far more accurate representation of the truth about Hydraulic Fracturing than “GasLand” could ever hope to be.

Films like this are greatly needed because there is a severe shortage of this sort of work in our industry. PSAs are nice but they are not engaging. In an age where engaging is one of the few cards left to play, this film is extremely important and more than that, timely and necessary.

In conversations with Industry employed engineers, the sentiment is that they don’t want to answer ignorant questions posed by ignorant people. They have no problem fielding informed questions. And that is just it. This sentiment is misrepresented as Industry folks refusing to answer questions when it is the equivalent of asking “How should we bolster our defenses and policies against dragons?”

FrackNation will rebut the goofiness of all the hype and hopefully, this converse position will get the same mileage as a lie.

What is that old adage?

“A lie can be halfway around theworld before the truth gets its boots on.”

I can only hope that this is not true in this case but this does prove my point because “GasLand” has spread lies and they are halfway across the world.

Get your boots on truth, and use them.

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