In July, the Post editorial page cited a Penn State study suggesting the benefits of fracking outweigh its costs, but failed to mention that the research had been funded by an industry lobbying group. “Just the Fracks,” the headline read. But the fracks can be deceiving.
Many of the New York Post’s stories focus nostalgically on a bygone era in fracking technology:
“Hydrofracking is a long established recovery technology. The first hydrofracking experiment was performed in 1947, and thousands of wells have been fracked since then. Yet the technique is only now being questioned.” — New York Post Sept. 19
What this comment doesn’t tell us is that after fracking became established as a recovery technology in 1947, a lot happened in the American consciousness that woke us up to the value of clean water and clean air because in the end, if we are to have a healthy economy, isn’t it important to have a healthy workforce first?
A study by Media Matters for America found that the Post ran 21 opinion pieces on fracking in a 16-month period between 2011 and 2012, to say nothing of the barrage of news coverage on the topic. Some of my favorite linguistic gems published in the paper include terms like the “know nothing greens” and “enviro-radicals.” One piece that refers to the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland as agit-prop makes every other piece of political hyperbole out there read like a textbook.
Governor Cuomo has in the past fostered a close relationship with the New York Post, due in no small measure to the campaign support provided by the natural gas industry the Post’s pro-drilling stance supports. So yoked together by funding sources, the alliances come full circle. Yet since the state government began its investigation into fracking nearly four years ago, enough concerned citizens have aired their apprehensions about the effects fracking will have on their drinking water and on their children’s health to tip the balance, at least for now.
All this, despite the New York Post showering its pages daily with pro-fracking content. Apparently, when your kitchen faucet catches on fire from trace methane contamination, no industry-funded study can convince you that fracking is a good idea.