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Friday, February 21, 2014

Ohio's Frackingate-the scandal is the media coverage

As awkward as it may feel I'm standing with John Kasich on this one. The anti fracking left is breathlessly attacking Governor Kasich over what it terms frackingate. The governor supposedly maintained a Nixonian enemies list and deceived the public except he didn't. The infamous "fracking memo" which you can read here, is essentially a pr strategy to assuage fears and criticisms should drilling and fracking occur in three Ohio State Parks, Barkcamp, Wolf Run, and Sun Fish.
Omitted in the frantic coverage and feigned outrage are two surd and undisputable facts. First, the document was drafted in 2012. Ohio lawmakers approved drilling in state parks in 2011. Second, the state failed to lease any park land for drilling so the presumed atrocities never happened and the case is moot. As to the enemies list, do we really need John Kasich to tell us the Sierra Club is opposed to fracking and progress in general? Nixon's enemies list contained the names of individuals not organizations; people such as CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr and actor Paul Newman to name two. The Kasich list named two individuals who were members of the Ohio General Assembly, Rep. Robert Hagan and Rep. Nickie Antonio ( not exactly innocent bystanders) but the remainder were organizations that have publicly taken an anti fracking position.
Basically the document anticipates opposition to drilling on state land just as there is inevitable opposition to drilling, logging, grazing or anything productive on federal land. It identifies those who would be friendly to fracking and the administration's point of view; the US Chamber of Commerce, American's Natural Gas Alliance, Halliburton, Third Base Politics and the Youngstown Vindicator to name a few.
The neutral groups includes national, state, and local media, Stateline/Pew, the Network for Public Health Law and several more.
The opposition list-no they don't call them enemies- includes the Sierra Club, Ohio Fracktion, Eco Watch, the two state representative and a few more.
The memo notes the need to marginalize the opposition. It advocates such hardball tactics as writing editorials and letters to the editor, creating a pro fracking web page on ODNR's website, and using Face Book, Twitter and YouTube to make their point. Wow!
The Akron Beacon Journal through its web presence, seems to lose its coherence several times in the post. It leads with Kasich’s office reportedly involved in 2012 Ohio report to promote fracking in state parks, forests (Of course it was. It was pursuant to Ohio law) Then it puts the word marginalize in quotation as if there was something nefarious about showing the opposition in a bad light. It then treats its readers to this hyperbole,
“John Kasich is a bully. He’s looking more like Ohio’s answer to [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie,” said Brian Rothenberg, ProgressOhio’s executive director. “First came the plans to make life tough for those that disagree with him, and now the endless staff cover-ups.”
After another quote from Rothenberg the writer turns it over to Brian Kunkemoeller of the Sierra Club for his unbiased insight.
“unprecedented collusion between oil and gas companies and the agencies that regulate them. This isn’t just bad news for our parks and forests. It is bad news for our democracy.”
Gimme a break! I would encourage readers to read the entire memo. There is no there there.

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