Josh Fox Bullies Filmmaker, Decides to Make Own Documentary

Move over Josh Fox and Gasland. There’s a new documentary on the way that will set the record straight and deliver the real truth about fracking. The new documentary is appropriately named FrackNation. Filmmaker and journalist Phelim McAleer is working on it now. In today’s New York Post, McAleer writes about how he was inspired by Josh Fox’s legal bullying into creating it:

Fracking is probably one of the most misunderstood words in the English language.

Thanks to the Oscar nominated documentary “Gasland,” many people believe fracking — a process of getting natural gas out of rock — pollutes water and creates wastelands wherever it is used.

But like so many documentaries nowadays, Gasland is high on anecdote and emotion but low on science and fact.

One of the most dramatic images in “Gasland” is footage of a resident lighting his tap water with flames shooting out of the faucet.

As a journalist, I wanted to learn more, so I went to a Q&A with Gasland director Josh Fox. As I questioned him, Fox eventually admitted that he knew people could light their tap water in these areas decades before fracking came on the scene.

But he did not include the fact in his documentary because, he said, “It was not relevant.” That was quite an admission, so I quickly threw a recording of the Q&A up on YouTube, and, to my shock, Fox got a Manhattan law firm to write to YouTube threatening it unless the video was removed immediately.

Quicker than I could say “fair use,” Fox and his lawyers pursued my little clip across the Internet, and using threats, shut it down wherever it appeared.

Well, I’m Irish and not very used to being told to shut up. Instead, I got very interested in just what Josh Fox, a fellow journalist, was trying to cover up.

I decided to make my own documentary, called “FrackNation,” dedicated to telling the kind of stories Josh Fox seems to want to suppress. But unlike Josh Fox and “Gasland,” I couldn’t rely on corporate financing from HBO — or wealthy Hollywood actors.

So we decided to use KickStarter, a crowd-funding Web site. We put our FrackNation pitch up just three weeks ago, and already we have raised more than $140,000 in small donations from ordinary members of the public.*

Phelim needs to raise $150,000 to finish the film. He’s at $143,467 as of 7 am on March 2. MDN encourages our readers to head on over to and make a pledge. Let’s help put FrackNation over the top!

*New York Post (Mar 2, 2012) – ‘Frack nation’

  • Anonymous

        Great idea. Kickstarter takes any donations large or small. if you donate $25 you will be mentioned in the film credits. Anyone who supports this industry should support this film.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. McAleer should be commended if he actually “will
    set the record straight and deliver the real truth about fracking”. 
    However, it feels like the gas industry is depending on him to clean up their
    image even though, as he alludes to above, fracking actually “pollutes
    water and creates wastelands wherever it is used”.  What he should
    understand is that it’s not just because of “Gasland” that people
    think badly of fracking.  Mr. McAleer would do well to start his cinematic
    journey in Wetzel County, West Virginia to see how rural people’s
    lives have been turned upside down by pollution and the industrialization of
    farmland.  There’s more to objectivity than discrediting a portion of
    another’s movie.  Let’s see what kind of impartial journalism Mr.McAleer
    brings to the table.

  • Anonymous

    Jim, can you post where we send the $25.00 donation, its about time a factual documentary with out all the emotional hoopla be made. I’m sure HBO wont air it either gotta keep the Liberal agenda alive.Livingdownwind, afraid your negative bubble might burst with a dash of reality TV? The stories about Farmers that were losing their farms to foreclosure and NG  saved them is of no interest to you? How about all those small sleeper towns you never heard of with 20 to 30% unemployment, now booming towns, boring news isn’t it? Where ever NG is being drilled, prosperity has come. It  only  becomes” News” and aired when there is something negative attached to it. People such as yourself change the channel when positive news comes to town. You have been lulled in by News agencies and propaganda films that hammered into your brain, doom and gloom every day. Me, I’m sending in my $25.00 to help this fellow finish his film. I’m also going to sit front row when it come out, with a big bag of popcorn, and applaud the reporting of good fortune so many Americans needed and deserve. The best part is I will walk out of the theater with a smile, not shaking my head in disgust.

  • Anonymous

     Jim I saw the link at the bottom of your article, no need to post it again Thanks

  • The gas industry is depending on this film but can’t pony up $150k?  Somehow I doubt that – seems like a guy researching a topic, let’s see what happens.