What Happens When Murdoch's New York Post, Fracking, and Selective Editing Combine? Crappy Journalism

Progress Ohio/CC BY 2.0

When you combine Murdoch's New York Post, fracking, and selective editing, you get a cocktail perhaps even more toxic than the secret blend of chemicals used in fracking itself.

Media Matters for America on Friday sent over a memo that outlines the Post's editorial coverage of fracking in New York, where the controversial drilling process has received a ton of attention, including a state-wide moratorium. The Post has published 21 opinion pieces since January 1, 2011, and according to Media Matters the preponderance of pieces have lambasted "Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) or "enviro-radicals" for not acting faster to cash in on the economic benefits associated with domestic drilling."

MMA says its research shows that "the Post almost always fails to acknowledge the health and environmental risks associated with fracking -- when it does, it immediately dismisses the dangers, despite ample evidence to the contrary."

For example:

Indeed, not only would New York become a major new source of relatively clean energy - natural gas; the move is also sure to spawn a whole new industry for economically sclerotic Upstate, generating thousands of jobs.

That's what's happened elsewhere in the country where fracking is allowed - including, notably, neighboring Pennsylvania, where tens of thousands of workers have found jobs at companies that employ the process.

Alas, in New York, enviro-radicals got then-Gov. David Paterson to ban the process, pending further study.

They claim that fracking can taint drinking water. Hyperbolic media reports and films like the pseudo-documentary "Gaslands" further fueled public fears.

Yes, there have been fracking accidents -- but no lasting damage, and no harm has been done to water supplies.

Here's the simple truth. Natural gas drilling will keep America addicted to fossil fuels, and delay the transition to a renewable energy economy, which has the potential to create millions of sustainable jobs, clean our air and address the climate crisis that is triggering extreme weather across the country. Its irresponsible for the Post to not addressed this fact.

The Post leaves out the climate three from fracking as well. A new study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that methane leakage from drilling, and especially fracking, has been underestimated and could exceed 2.4%. Leakage over this level would reduce the supposed climate benefits of natural gas; in fact, it may be even worse then coal.

The study notes:

We emphasize that our calculations assume an average leakage rate for the entire U.S. natural gas supply (as well for coal mining). Much work needs to be done to determine actual emissions with certainty and to accurately characterize the site-to-site variability in emissions. However, given limited current evidence, it is likely that leakage at individual natural gas well sites is high enough, when combined with leakage from downstream operations, to make the total leakage exceed the 3.2% threshold beyond which gas becomes worse for the climate than coal for at least some period of time.

So fracking could take us over 6F degrees of warming and increased natural gas development is displacing deployment of zero carbon technologies. This seems like great information to share with the Post's readers, right?

Well, maybe not if you work for Rupert Murdoch. Fox, of course, is notoriously irresponsible on climate, running down everything from a carbon tax to the Chevy Volt. NPR chronicled how Murdoch's papers in Australia, where he owns 70 percent of the country's biggest papers, consistently misinform the public about climate change science and policy. Check out the story here.

Tags: Fracking | New York City | New York State

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