Natural Gas NOW
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in yet another journalism fail, apparently thinks publishing emotional appeals to violence is fine if fracking is the subject.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, just published a letter on its TribLive website that will take your breath away; so outrageous are the claims made and the none too subtle appeal to violence. The letter refers to a Latvian “study,” if you can it that, published in something called the Journal of Environmental Protection, which is pay-to-play media from the an outfit known as Scientific Research Publishing (SCIRP). The “study” has zero credibility; a fact well demonstrated in this superb takedown by Energy in Depth. Nevertheless, a fellow named Ron Slabe apparently took it to heart. He drafted a reckless “fracking kills” letter to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (TribLive), which, for some inexplicable reason, published it.
Before getting into the letter itself, it’s worth examining the Pittsburgh Tribune Review (TribLive) commenting policy. Here are the key parts (emphasis added):
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won’t tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING.
Good to know. Now, for the letter itself, which the reader can evaluate against these standards (emphasis added):
Fracking is a deadly process, as revealed in the newest scientific study showing an increased correlation between fracking for shale gas and infant mortality, authored by Christopher Busby and Joseph Mangano and published in the Journal of Environmental Protection.
Previous studies have shown links between fracking and low birth weights, miscarriages and birth defects. But this latest study finds fracking alarmingly connected to neonatal mortality, caused by its toxic pollution of air and water. The study reveals a new culture of death targeting the least able to defend themselves.
An alarming disconnect exists, however, among those in the “right to life” movement, who abhor infant death associated with abortion but are unwilling to acknowledge the same lethal end when fracking is the perpetrator. Their obsequious promotion of shale gas precludes them from condemning this newest threat to life.
Maryland, New York and Vermont have all banned fracking because its deleterious health effects far exceed any economic benefit. How can anyone still condone this industry that epitomizes a culture of sickness and death, especially for the newborn?
The “right to life” movement must include the babies dying because of fracking’s harmful effects. This new antithesis to life must be recognized for what it is.
Fracking is not only an abomination against creation; it is now an affront against God’s most vulnerable. Make no doubt about it, fracking kills.
Mr. Slabe, by my count, managed to repeat his “fracking kills” mantra a total of eight times in a 227-word that said little else. It was non-stop shouting without the caps. His contempt for right-to-life activists like me who happen to recognize natural gas as something that keeps babies and the rest of us warm while cleaning the air is also on full display. He’s singularly focused on his own religion of fractivism. He’s the key commenter on the Facebook page of a group called the Upper Burrell CAMP Citizens Against Marcellus Pollution.
Mr. Slabe is a retired school teacher and yet another radical Bernie Sanders supporter. Nonetheless, he is, of course, is fully entitled to his views, which he reiterates on his own Facebook page, revealing that one of his main sources of information is Truth-Out, a Marxist rag financed by the Park Foundation. It loves to run pieces by the likes of Ellen Cantarow attacking natural gas as she promotes gas ranges for cooking. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review (TribLive) surely doesn’t have to promote these people or their incendiary rhetoric, though, which is the real point here.
Yes, as one of our readers suggested to me, the decision to publish this letter effectively “empowers the worst elements of society” convincing them they have the right, even the duty, to exercise violence against fracking. It’s the same type of thinking we saw on display when The Boulder Daily Camera posted a letter to the editor that said people have a moral obligation to “blow up wells and eliminate fracking and workers” (later edited out).
It’s a complete surrender of all journalistic standards when it comes to discussion of fracking. Fractivists can make oblique or direct calls for violence in some journals with impunity. One of those journals is now the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (TribLive) and they should be ashamed. Is it any wonder there really isn’t any such paper anymore, that it recently dropped its print edition altogether and is now consigned to being only an on-line journal known as TribLive? How long will that last? Not long doing business this way.