MDN Weekly Update – Feb 5, 2012: Josh Fox – Truth-teller or Propagandist?

poll resultsLast week’s MDN poll asked whether or not you believe that President Obama is now genuinely a supporter of hydraulic fracturing and shale gas drilling. Seems there are quite a few skeptics in the MDN audience. Here are the results:

Concerning President Obama’s statements supporting fracking & shale gas drilling, is he:

Genuine/Now in Favor (20%, 53 Votes)
Fake/Election Year Stunt (70%, 187 Votes)
I’m Not Sure (10%, 26 Votes)

Total Voters: 266

This Week’s Poll: Is Gasland a truthful documentary, or propaganda?

This past week, the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing on hydraulic fracturing. Specifically, the Republicans on the committee wanted to challenge the out-of-control Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their attempt, via questionable research, to tie fracking to chemical contamination of well water in Pavillion, Wyoming.

There was plenty of press on hand to cover the hearing. Josh Fox, the filmmaker who created the “documentary” Gasland was there too. No doubt Josh needs some new footage for Gasland Deux. But it seems Josh didn’t have the proper press credentials, so the camera crew working for him, which was properly credentialed, was not allowed to film the proceedings. And Mr. Fox, refusing to leave, was arrested and escorted from the room (see this MDN story). Democrats were “outraged” and tried to pass a resolution letting him stay, and when that didn’t work, pass a resolution suspending the hearing for an entire week to allow Mr. Fox time to do what he should have done in the first place, get the proper credentials.

After the side show with Josh Fox was over, the Republicans got down to business and questioned EPA Regional Administrator James Martin who did some serious backpedalling on the topic of fracking (see this MDN story).

Josh Fox’s arrest may seem like so much hullabaloo, but his arrest is headline-worthy because of his documentary, Gasland. Wait, what? You haven’t watched it? Perhaps now is a good time! I’ve watched it, and I have to say, for all my criticism of Josh Fox, he is a talented filmmaker. The film is very slick, very polished. I won’t run a full critique here and now—I’ll do that in the future. What I would like to know for this week’s poll is whether or not you’ve actually watched the film, and if you have, what do you think? Do you consider it to be mostly trustworthy and accurate, or hogwash? Register your vote in this week’s poll along the right side of any page.

Below are the most recent “top 5” lists and the calendar of Marcellus-related events for the next two weeks.

Go Giants!
Jim Willis, Editor

P.S. Watch for more details on the new MDN permits report this week.

Five Most Viewed Stories This Past Week (Jan 29th – Feb 4th)

  1. Range’s Wet Gas Drilling Location & Dry Gas Drilling Timeline (1/31/12)
  2. Just What are Natural Gas Liquids Anyway? (1/31/12)
  3. Gasland Creator Josh Fox Arrested at House Hearing (2/2/12)
  4. PA DEP Debuts New Website for Easy Marcellus Drilling Info (1/30/12)
  5. Washington Times: Is Obama Setting NG Up for a Fall? (1/30/12)

Five Most Viewed Stories Last 30 Days (Jan 5th – Feb 4th)

  1. Major Chesapeake Announcement: Shifting from Dry to Wet Gas (1/23/12)
  2. Teamsters Marcellus Pipeline Workers Walk Out on Strike (1/4/12)
  3. Range’s Wet Gas Drilling Location & Dry Gas Drilling Timeline (1/31/12)
  4. Exxon Buys 13,200 Acres of Utica Shale Leases in Ohio (1/9/12)
  5. New Timeline for Shell Cracker Plant Announcement (1/19/12)

MDN Calendar (Feb 5th – Feb 18th)

New York



West Virginia


  • raaman

    in my opinion,both sides should meet in the middle. the nation needs to move to natural gas and energy self reliance, but we also need to continue developing renewals. what scares the greens is cheap energy will stop the development and free market purest want the market to dictate. i believe that obama wants and sees the need four both.

  • Anonymous

    There is propaganda on both sides of this fence.  The commercials that saturate the air waves in my community that tell us that fracking fluids are as safe as shampoo or tooth paste or laundry detergent is total propaganda.  When is the last time you drank a glass of laundry deteregent.  I don’t believe anything said by any presidential candidate.  When the gas industry came to town they promised that their would be a job for everyone who wanted a job.  They promised high paying jobs.  But they are bringing the majority of workers from other states and bringing contractors from out of state to do things thaat our people have been doing since coal was being mined.  We have truck drivers who can haul slag and water.  We have heavy equipment operators and welders.  Why didn’t they come in six months early and start training our people.  They even backed off on their predictions of how much gas is under our community.  Both sides make up lies to further their aganda.  Follow the money it will take you to the biggest liars.

  • You do make some valid points maverick. If good jobs are promised, good jobs should be delivered, for local folks. Nothing against people coming in from the outside, at least initially. But somewhere along the line local folks should be able to fill those positions.

  • Anonymous

    I am having trouble with this one. I don’t think the film is an out and out lie. However much of the film has been disected and many parts of the film are inaccurate. I’ll give an example. In the film Josh was talking about a pipline that runs through an area where the wildlife is endangered (I am paraphrasing he mentioned Antelope and Grouse and some other animals). None of the species he mentioned are endangered-dramatic embellishment for the film. When he speaks about the chemicals used in fracing he makes the viewer think a tremendous amount of chemicals are used, he never mentions the ratio of water/sand comprising 98% of fracing fluid which only leaves 2% chemical in the mixture. 
    I believe we need people like Mr. Fox and Michael Moore out there. It lets the little guy (us citizens) feel like he can stand up to the giants (corporations and big Gov’t) It lets them know we are watching them and we have a voice and we will shout when we see inpropriety. It is good to have watchdogs it keeps the corporations from running amouk. The only problem is just like the corruption they are fighting, they themselves become corrupt in their own views. What happens, is they start with good intentions but during the process they then bend the facts to fit into their adgenda/message and the film then has to become sensationalized to sell the product. Facts are then omitted or blurred to make the “gotch ya” more sensational to the viewer. When I first saw Gasland at the end of the movie my opinion of fracing was “this is not a good thing”. I then did what a lot of Gasland viewers don’t do. I researched and gathered facts for myself. I did not let Josh Foxs’ opinion/interpetation of the facts be my only deciding factor regarding this issue. I needed to see the other side. What is sad to me is, there are MANY people who will see this film and it will be the ONLY information they will ever use to formulate an opinion, and,  if they have nothing to gain it makes it very easy for them to look at the issue negatively. 

  • Excellent thoughts & comments. Thanks for sharing it. I agree that we need people out there who will “keep them honest” — no question about it. I also agree that in the end, Josh ends up twisting the “facts” to fit his agenda, as you put it. Again, he made a powerful film, I’m not questioning his talent. However, like you, I do question his conclusions and how he played fast and loose with the facts.

  • Anonymous

    Blueflames, That is why it is up to you, me , Jim, Oilman and everyone else that has knowledge and factual based evidence, on the NG industry and drilling in general, to set the records straight and tell truth. Since this has become a war of them ( Anti’s) against us ( Pro’s), we are the voice of reason and truth. It is up to us. People like JW, Mr. Fox and their like just spew anger and resentment and consistently skew facts to have their agendas met.Did you see the new commercials that Conoco Phillips is putting out there to spread the message that the NG industry wants progress ,along with safety, and public input?  In order for the general public that has no vested interest in our world we must make them believers, that this can be done safely,and be able to back up our words with fact. 

  • Blueflames

    I found this blog on the JLCNY facebook page last week. The story has already been gone through here on MDN but the comments that follow this blog are incredible. I have not read such fact filled comments on the Dimock issue. Blogger “Side Show Bob” seems to really know his stuff. I would love to see him here on MDN- I hope you don’t mind Jim, but it is a really good informative read.


  • Cool, thanks for sharing it.

  • Anonymous

    “…we are the voice of reason and truth.” Wow.

    Perspective, perspective, perspective…

    Those commercials you mention, similarly to the Gasland “documentary”, take half-truths and mold them into a cohesive message that one is expected to take as “fact”. And by the way, it’s pronounced ‘disagreement’, not ‘war’.