Home > Frac > “The Entire Story of Shale Has Been to Hell With Facts.”

“The Entire Story of Shale Has Been to Hell With Facts.”

February 17, 2012

That’s right, Mr. Grealy.

The entire story concerning the needlessly volatile “Fracking” controversy is not about facts. This has been by design due to some careful editing and outright refusal to disclose, through national media, a complete and thorough representation of the practice of Hydraulic Fracturing. The reasons behind the outright objections to the practice are very clearly non-factual. Antis refuse to concede a point before scurrying onto their next objection so that none of those facts can land on them with their full weight.

This strategy is their only option. By bouncing around like a pinball, they have created a scenario similar to boxer conditioning: the Oil and Gas Industry is running around trying to catch a chicken. It has been effective.

I recently watched an interview with Josh Fox, the Oscar nominated Director of the Yellow Journalist film “GasLand” on “The Ed Show” in which Josh Fox sounded off on congressional Republicans for limiting his First Amendment Rights unconstitutionally by expelling him from the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Meeting “Examining EPA’s Approach to Ground Water Research: the Pavilion Analysis”.

He was booted from the meeting because he was not a credentialed member of the press according to rule 9. The reason for his ejection was read aloud before the meeting commenced. Basically, Josh Fox did not think it necessary to go through the proper means that would have allowed him to be present at “a very crucial hearing”. He did not not take care of business on his end. One would think that if Josh Fox found that meeting to be so crucial, that he would have done everything required to enable him to be present. He attempted to circumvent the process and was ejected according to the rules.

Mr. Fox has again become the face of the Fractivist Movement and been portrayed as a victim.

Laurel Whitney, of Desmogblog.com reported

“As Fox was led out of the room, Democratic Representative, Brad Miller (D-NC), attempted to suspend the committee rules to let the crews film the hearing but was blocked by the Republican Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD).”

This is a misrepresentation of the truth. Representative Miller moved that an exception be made. When Rep. Andy Harris saw that a quorum was not present, he called a recess so that one could be present to vote on the exception. When the meeting re-convened, the move for the exception was voted down seven to six. Rep. Miller called for a recess of “no less than one week” so that Fox and ABC news could apply for the permits to attend. This move was again voted down seven to six.

This is democracy, majority ruled.

When Fox appeared on “The Ed Show”, he went on a tirade blaming Republicans for obstructing his ability, as a member of the press, to cover the meeting. Again, it was Fox’s fault that he was not allowed to attend that meeting. He could have applied and then been granted press credentials to attend. He simply did not have the credentials necessary to film.

Josh Fox’s statement reads like this:

“We were there covering, uh, a very crucial hearing about a case of, uh, groundwater contamination in Pavilion, Wyoming; a three and a half year investigation by Region 8 EPA which shows subjects from the first film ‘GasLand’ from Pavilion, Wyoming with groundwater contamination resulting in fifty times the level of benzene in groundwater, um, and EPA has pointed in this case at hydraulic fracturing as the likely cause and what’s happening on The Hill today is Republicans in the Science, and, uh, Space, Technology Committee hearing to challenge science. Their panel was made up of gas industry lobbyists and we were there to expose what I believe is an actually rather ugly and brazen attack on science itself, uh, on what’s happening across the country with hydraulic fracturing water contamination. So, we were there actually doing our jobs as journalists. I was not interested in disrupting that meeting, was not charged with disrupting the hearing, I was simply interested in capturing on film, in broadcast quality, uh, camera, what the Republicans were going to be doing right there putting the EPA and the citizens of Pavilion and everyone across the nation who, who’s complaining of contamination due to hydraulic fracturing on trial. I wanted to make sure that people knew what was happening…Since the Republicans have taken over, we have had obstruction after obstruction getting into congress…it’s ironic that all of these strands have come together and they’re kicking science out of the House of Representatives. They’re kicking science and journalism out of the Science and Technology committee and it is a, really a brazen attack on American Civil Liberties, um, and uh, frankly, on our ability to investigate the truth.”

This is another “to hell with the facts” moment.

In Mr. Fox’s words, “I was simply interested in capturing on film, in broadcast quality, uh, camera, what the Republicans were going to be doing right there putting the EPA and the citizens of Pavilion and everyone across the nation who, who’s complaining of contamination due to hydraulic fracturing on trial. I wanted to make sure that people knew what was happening.”

He wanted to capture, on film, what the Republicans were doing by reviewing the EPA’s findings in Pavilion, WY. He wanted to make sure that people knew what was happening.

To answer Mr. Fox, I will quote Rep. Andy Harris.

“Every word, every phrase, no editing and it will be available on the same site in its entirety following the hearing; therefore, every piece of information, from this hearing is fully available to every member of the public.”

The committee’s website has the full meeting available for viewing here and the full meeting is available on YouTube, here.

In other words, anyone so inclined, with a computer and fingers, and the ability to type and click a mouse, can view the entire meeting online. The committee itself wanted to make sure that “people knew what was happening”.

This makes Fox’s entire argument baseless.

Fox was arrested for “Unlawful Entry” because he did not follow the law. His fault. He could have gotten a pass if he had wanted to but he did not. It wasn’t important enough to him to apply for the credentials necessary to attend the meeting.

The First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

Mr. Fox needs a definition of “abridge”. I will provide one for him.

abridge
1
a archaic : deprive b : to reduce in scope : diminish <attempts to abridge the right of free speech>
2
: to shorten in duration or extent <modern transportation that abridges distance>
3
: to shorten by omission of words without sacrifice of sense : condense

By providing the entire meeting for public review via recording, that meeting did not infringe on Mr. Fox’s or any other citizen’s civil liberties. The only ironic part is how Mr. Fox decided to interpret the First Amendment by forgetting that “abridge” was the exact word utilized by the Founding Fathers. I doubt that he would include the entire meeting in his documentary. He would have included part of it, to support the thesis of his film, thereby, abridging the content.

Mr. Fox said, in “The Ed Show” interview,

“I’m going in there because this the First Amendment, this is the Freedom of Speech, the Amendment is ‘Congress shall make no law which infringes upon the freedom of the press, that’s an abridged part of it. But that means Congress can’t pass a law or a rule or a regulation in a sub-committee hearing, um, to obstruct journalists from coming in and exposing to the American people what they’re doing.”

Was that an abridging of the First Amendment and recognizing that he abridged it?

Yep.

The First Amendment that he cited isn’t long. An actual memorization would have been more fitting. Actually Josh, this shows that you have a problem understanding what you read, and remembering what you’ve read. Words have meanings.

I will draw as an example, an observation by C.S. Lewis on the abuse of the English language in this mode:

“The word gentleman originally meant something recognisable; one who had a coat of arms and some landed property. When you called someone “a gentleman” you were not paying him a compliment, but merely stating a fact. If you said he was not “a gentleman” you were not insulting him, but giving information. There was no contradiction in saying that John was a liar and a gentleman; any more than there now is in saying that James is a fool and an M.A. But then there came people who said – so rightly, charitably, spiritually, sensitively, so anything but usefully – “Ah but surely the important thing about a gentleman is not the coat of arms and the land, but the behaviour? Surely he is the true gentleman who behaves as a gentleman should? Surely in that sense Edward is far more truly a gentleman than John?” They meant well. To be honourable and courteous and brave is of course a far better thing than to have a coat of arms. But it is not the same thing. Worse still, it is not a thing everyone will agree about. To call a man “a gentleman” in this new, refined sense, becomes, in fact, not a way of giving information about him, but a way of praising him: to deny that he is “a gentleman” becomes simply a way of insulting him. When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object: it only tells you about the speaker’s attitude to that object. (A ‘nice’ meal only means a meal the speaker likes.) A gentleman, once it has been spiritualised and refined out of its old coarse, objective sense, means hardly more than a man whom the speaker likes. As a result, gentleman is now a useless word. We had lots of terms of approval already, so it was not needed for that use; on the other hand if anyone (say, in a historical work) wants to use it in its old sense, he cannot do so without explanations. It has been spoiled for that purpose.”

Mr. Fox offered an “abridged” version of the First Amendment that says ‘Congress shall make no law which infringes upon the freedom of the press, that’s an abridged part of it. But that means Congress can’t pass a law or a rule or a regulation in a sub-committee hearing, um, to obstruct journalists from coming in…” rather than the First Amendment that guarantees that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

Ironic, no?

They didn’t abridge the freedom of speech or of the press. They did not omit anything. They did not alter the content and bend the meaning. They freely offer the entire meeting publicly and voluntarily and comprehensively. This means the meeting was not subjected to Mr. Fox’s editing table.

The First Amendment means that Congress cannot pass a law that allows the voice of the people or the press to be abridged. It means the government cannot control what one says or diminish the essence of what was said nor can they dictate to the public or the press how they should say what they say. It does not guarantee him the right to record a meeting that is being recorded comprehensively already.

Because of the public airing of that meeting, there is no obstruction to journalism or the press in obstructing journalists from “coming in and exposing to American people what they’re doing.” Especially when that journalist ignores protocol. This is something the EPA and Mr. Fox have in common: they both ignore protocol.

Congress did not hiding anything so the subject of the review was in no way altered or edited and anyone with nearly two hours of free time can see that.

Josh Fox claims to be a documentary film maker and a champion of the First Amendment but he would have a congressional sub-committee forgo the review of government agency’s findings.

Fox said,

“I was simply interested in capturing on film, in broadcast quality, uh, camera, what the Republicans were going to be doing right there putting the EPA and the citizens of Pavilion and everyone across the nation who, who’s complaining of contamination due to hydraulic fracturing on trial.”

Of course they are putting the EPA on trial, of course they are putting the claims of people in Pavilion and across the US on trial. This is entirely normal in the science world. It is called the “Peer Review Process”. They need to see that the reports and claims are factual. The EPA released their preliminary findings without one. Then they promptly got shelled and extended the public comment period. I wrote a blog about how unwise their release was.

The Pavilion, WY study needs review.

Mr. Fox believes that “…it’s ironic that all of these strands have come together and they’re kicking science out of the House of Representatives. They’re kicking science and journalism out of the Science and Technology committee and it is a, really a brazen attack on American Civil Liberties, um, and uh, frankly, on our ability to investigate the truth.”

Excuse me Mr. Fox, you are defeating your own argument based on the premise of your values. You want an “investigation of the truth” but you don’t agree that the results of a 3 1/2 year study by the EPA in Pavilion, WY deserves to be reviewed for accuracy before Congress. You are the one seeking to undermine a completely typical peer review process because “preliminary” findings (not reviewed findings) pointed to contamination.

Do you support the abandonment of the Peer Review Process? Do you believe the EPA’s findings to be unquestionable or perfect? By their own admission, they abandoned their own mandated protocol. This is why there is a congressional review. In this case, you are the one attempting to remove science from the process and by painting a picture with a very specific bent, removing journalism as well. The process is a review of the scientific accuracy behind EPA’s conclusion.

I can guarantee that Mr. Fox will not represent all of the questions and controversy revolving around the legitimacy of Area 8 EPA’s methods nor will that be included in “GasLand 2”.

Mr. Fox finds Congress to be worthy of investigation because they are reviewing a study wherein the preliminary findings suggest that Hydraulic Fracturing may have contaminated groundwater in Pavilion but Mr. Fox does not find it necessary to investigate that data and subject it to a completely normal review process.

Hmmm…

Mr. Fox is conflicted. I don’t know how talk show hosts don’t call him out on his blatant inconsistency.

So why do I use Mr. Fox, in a post called “The Entire Story of Shale Has Been to Hell with the Facts”?

Because he is the most egregiously public offender and most notorious representative of this situtation. Nohotair.co.uk presents this bent of the press.

If he were interested in the facts, then he would support the review of the EPA study to guarantee accuracy. He would desire that it be entirely accurate and as passionately as he opposes Hydraulic Fracturing, call them to task for ditching protocol on the grounds that it makes the EPA look like a joke. He would support fact finding. He would include the studies that conclude that Hydraulic Fracturing does not contaminate groundwater. He would recognize and account for specific geologic formations, water tables, etc.

He doesn’t.

He is all about himself and a forgone conclusion. This is why I think he is a “to hell with the facts” man.

I have quoted him before and I will quote him again.

Sherlock Holmes said “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.” and It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

I think Mr. Fox would be well served to read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle because he is a glaring example of the conclusions of both of these quotes.

What seems irrational is that one could guess that studies concluding that Hydraulic Fracturing does not cause groundwater contamination would be celebrated. Uncontaminated water supplies is the end game, isn’t it?

If the practice functions without contaminating water supplies, then what is really the problem? These reports are very public and well circulated.

Why isn’t Fox happy? I would conclude that such a result would put Fox out of a job and stop all of the benefits and wine tastings he attends. What is this man’s motivation for continuing a debunked crusade while disregarding the same facts he alleges he is trying to present?

The only thing I could conclude would be that Mr. Fox is not interested in presenting what the public should know. He is abridging the truth. He refuses to acknowledge a base of information and undermine the way our country works. That is his problem.

This is the only way that he can continue is to turn a blind eye to the truth and report accordingly. He is, in essence, saying “To hell with fact.” in favor of an agenda rooted in fear.

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