Who is Caving to Pressure Against Josh Fox's Oscar-Nominated Documentary, Gasland?

(Editor's note: As we've noted, Josh Fox's documentary, GASLAND, is an Oscar contender this weekend, and the Big Gas industry has been doing everything it can to block this powerful film from winning. Below is the latest in this saga against a film which will open your eyes to the expanded drilling operations and the devastating consequences so far. Josh's film is just a day away from the Oscar ceremony. Visit our water portal page on SourceWatch to find out more about the dangerous practice of horizontal fracturing, "fracking," of the earth with a cocktail of chemicals. Here is a note from Josh on the latest news in the corporate PR spin campaign.)

From Documentary Filmmaker Josh Fox--

Josh Fox and GASLANDSomething bizarre just happened at the Wall Street Journal. At 6 p.m. I was reading a home page story on WSJ.com called "Oscar's Attention Irks Gas Industry" by Ben Casselman which contained perhaps the most honest and revealing quote from the gas industry that I have read to date about their obsession with attacking my film GASLAND. The quote reads "We have to stop blaming documentaries and take a look in the mirror," said Matt Pitzarella, a spokesman for gas producer Range Resources Corp. Just thirty minutes later the quote mysteriously disappears, edited out and in its place is a far more typical spin controlled statement from Tom Price of Chesapeake energy saying, "We need to be able to respond objectively and accurately." Sounds like a robot at a PR agency, more than a person.

What the hell happened? Why did this key quote disappear from the article? Why did the WSJ censor its own piece? Does the Gas industry get to edit the Wall St. Journal?

Was this comment too honest? Is it a crack in their facade? Who pulled the quote? Who made that call saying that this moment of honesty was simply too embarrassing or too true for the industry to admit?

For the first time a Gas Industry spokesman told the truth, that they should look in the mirror instead of attacking our film. You can find the original quote by googling "mirror, Wall St. Journal and Range Resources" but if you read the article now, the quote has vanished.

What is going on here?

Why would the quote be published, go on line, and then something happens and they censor it and suppress it. Not only is the quote deleted but then in its place Tom Price a Vice-President from Chesapeake gets to defend the industry?

Does the Wall St. Journal care to comment? Does WSJ have any independence or integrity? Or does the Gas Industry get to just write it for them.

Is this evidence of what we have long suspected, considerable industry pressure on the mainstream media?


Josh Fox
Director, GASLAND

Lisa Graves

Lisa Graves is President of the Board of the Center for Media and Democracy and President of True North Research. She is a well-known researcher, writer, and public speaker. Her research and analysis have been cited by every major paper in the country and featured in critically acclaimed books and documentaries, including Ava Du Vernay’s award-winning film, “The 13th,” Bill Moyers’s “United States of ALEC,” and Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously.”



Feb 25, 2011 07:25 ET Newco Energy Acquisition Holdings (NEAH), LLC and Senior Energy Industry Executive Karl W. Miller Support Ban on Use of Toxic Chemicals in Hydraulic Fracturing to Produce Oil and Natural Gas NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 25, 2011) - Newco Energy Acquisition Holdings (NEAH), LLC and Senior Energy Industry Executive Karl W. Miller today announced their support to ban the use of toxic chemicals in hydraulic fracturing to produce oil and natural gas. Mr. Miller is a major supporter and advocate for the environmentally responsible development and production of Oil and Natural Gas in the U.S. According to Mr. Miller: * The Oil and Natural Gas industry has brought a critical self inflicted crisis upon itself by failing to act in an environmentally responsible manner regarding the use of hydraulic fracturing. In one fell sweep, the industry has become the primary target of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), State and Federal lawmakers, and most importantly, the general public. * The injection of toxic chemicals in to Oil and Natural Gas wells, many chemicals which are clearly known to be harmful to the environment, water tables, and human beings represents a catastrophic failure of the Oil and Natural Gas producers in the U.S. * Given the continued abuse by the natural Oil and Natural Gas and mounting incidents of water table contamination, fires and other drilling related problems in high and low density populated areas, and the pending law that will in essence "kill fracking" by virtue of eliminating the use of toxic chemicals in production wells, leads to the conclusion that the States and Federal Government will in unison and individually start to ban fracking operations across the U.S. * The first permanent drilling bans will occur in the Eastern U.S. in the Marcellus Shale formation in New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. This geographic area has already been severely damaged by Natural Gas Fracking and substantial legal actions are pending and many more are forthcoming against production companies. * State and Municipal pension and retirement funds in the States polluted by Oil and Natural Gas Fracking will require their money managers not to purchase and own any producers which have participated in "Fracking," essentially prohibit the purchase or ownership of these producers in public pension fund allocations. * The EPA will be given absolute control of the Oil and Gas Producers utilizing hydraulic fracturing and any violations involving injecting toxic chemicals into the ground for drilling purposes will be dealt with in a very harsh and financially severe manner. Every Oil and Natural Gas drilling site which has had toxic chemicals utilized should be treated as an "EPA clean-up site" and will be subject to the full powers of the EPA to institute the equivalent of the "Death Penalty" to producers who violate Federal Environmental Law. * The environmental liabilities that the Oil and Natural Gas Industry have already created by hydraulic fracturing exceed the financial capability of most Producers to cover and environmental litigation and enforcement by the EPA and State Agencies could technically bankrupt many of the producers. * The full disclosure of specific toxic chemicals which have been utilized in the past and are currently being utilized by Oil and Natural Gas producers will be made into State and Federal Law and violations of the full disclosure law will bring swift and "going concern threatening" penalties. (See: Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids: http://wilderness.org/files/State%20chemical%20disclosure%20requirements.pdf) There does not appear to be any way for the Oil and Natural Gas industry to lobby itself out of this critical problem, which many industry experts consider a death nail to many natural gas producers. Public opinion is overwhelmingly now against "Hydraulic Fracking" and we see the momentum to ban the practice outright in a majority of the U.S. as irreversible. Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of NEAH and Mr. Miller. Investors should seek the advice of a qualified investment professional prior to making any investment decisions.

For thirty years some teachers have taught us that oil is bad. Bad people flock to oil like a magnet for over 150 years as they do for any potential "get rich scheme." That is a shame, but it happens in all major industries. Now you have functionally illiterate, yet skillful in filming with a camera staged events, like this Josh Fox. This man either should know what harm he is doing or be told by responsible journalist. Politicians, always in need of patrimony, generally rally against "Big Oil" for votes because since the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969, it works. What is not mentioned, is that that oil spill, a seminal moment in history as it foisted the EPA on all of our lives, was actually one of 32 natural oil seeps off California's coast that have been leaking oil for thousands of years. If Fox wanted to understand the millions of men and women who work in the petroleum industry, maybe he should start with reading something. I suggest Daniel Yergin's two books, starting with "The Prize." I am not aware of any sane left liberal that has smacked down Yergin, so that would be a good start. One take away from history that should be driven home is that every war last century had blood and oil involved, and not much has changed so far this century. If you ARTIFICIALLY restrict natural resources like oil and gas in this country, you create shortages from other places in the world. Every country on this earth has to have food, shelter and energy to survive. Take away one or all of those three items, and you have war and/or submission. Travel around the world, particularly in underdeveloped and hostile countries, and upon arriving back home (the US for Fox even though he is slandering whole industries showing his complete venality and filming fraud) and seeing commercial ports, utility plants, refineries, oil derricks, and other signs of our country's strength and might, a sense of true security comes to mind. Oil, a hydrocarbon created from trillions of decayed plant cells over millions of years packs ten time the heat BTU content of electricity, hydrogen and all other sources of energy we know of with only nuclear power as its energy equivalent competitor. It is the life blood of our civilization and I would recommend Fox and his brainless and treasonous nits explain their policy to the US Marines at Camp Pendleton, who may be called upon to protect our country's interest from those who wish to KILL Americans. Actions by these eco terrorists (aka jobless, selfish brats who know nothing about their subject matter other than what sounds and feels good to their little minds) and other politically motivated miscreants have consequences around the world (think Snowden) that jeopardize the safety of other Americans. Does anyone think for one second that since 1969 any single incident caused by the oil and gas industry would not be reported, prosecuted and have their CEO's responsible for even the tiniest one gallon of crude oil that got loose, would not be hung from the corporate yardarms and every Federal and State agency would not prosecute to the maximum? That is the normal days concern for professional geologists, geophysicists, engineers, landmen, lawyers, accountants and almost every other studied discipline that goes into running petroleum companies which is incredibly hard work. But to have contrived and staged "documentaries" showing a man's faucet with flames, and not mentioning that his water well was drilled decades earlier through five coal seams (ever heard of canary in a coal mine? - all coal seems produce methane gas) or in the new one showing a man lighting a garden hose but not mentioned that the hose is connected to a propane tank (should have blown up the faker) or simply ignoring the fact that the EPA, the hated agency that hates (by its actions) the oil and gas industry could not find one single instance of groundwater contamination from fracing (correct spelling for those who care) studying 2 million frac jobs over sixty years. That is not a small detail or careless omission, but a calculated lie to enhance his credentials to the Hollywood crowd of supercilious supplicants. Does Fox mention that a frac is "successful" if it opens one small channel in impermeable rock (shale) that is no larger than one or two grains (sand grains) usually 10 - 14,000' down in the ground covered by thousands of feet of hard rock? Not according to his videos which are essentially comic book stories with no basis in facts. I could go on, but I have a job although for the sake of my young daughters, I feel the need to try to counter this insane and mindless "green / eco consciences / self-centered / myopic and ignorant" view of our world these outliers justify to themselves for some mindless feel-good cause. The rest of the population needs to put food on their table and make a living and I suspect are growing tired of these juvenile antics. If this country were attacked, as during WWII, none of these libelous, nasty attacks on vital industries would be tolerated and real world, or grown-up thinking will prevail, or we simply do not survive. I will leave with this note - the most "green" people I ever met in my 60 years of life are field geologists that would not destroy a fig if they could avoid it. Take a look at what the Audubon Society and "Big Oil" have worked together on for 50 years down south in Louisiana in an area called the Atchafalaya Basin. That group, the Audubon Society, are true environmentalists and true conservationists and the insipid eco terrorists might want to stop blathering and listen to folks that know what they are doing and truly care. I am truly embarrassed that Hollywood would award this fraud anything other than a rotten tomato for lying.

All the major news outlets have advertisers. So, their profits are directly tied to the interests of their advertisers. Pressure is exercised in other ways too, but substantial work covers those topics--e.g. chapter one of Manufacturing Consent and discussion of the five filters. Anyway, since all the major media outlets hold profit to be their top priority--actually the corporate charter carries a federal mandate to do so--objective news reporting declines. If there does happen to be a flicker of news that does not support the interest of advertisers or stock-holders flip to the back of the papers. Or in this case, a script is gathering comments or posts, that carry flagged words and phrases, only to send them to the propaganda editor for review and summary deletion as necessary.

I have seen this sort of filtering from Industry with regards to the Marcellus in PA. Previous propaganda described a drilling fluid component as "biocide" which was changed to something innocuous after some vetting within the academic community. It is disheartening to know that our expertise is enabling the misconception. Good luck tonight!