Fake Fractivist News: The Bane of Progress and Sustainability

Tom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

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The Guardian has published a piece of fake fractivist news intended to undermine the tremendous benefits the Shell cracker is bringing to Pennsylvania.

The Guardian, a UK journal that has fallen on hard times and now depends on donations to survive, has published an article in its US edition that can only be described as fake fractivist news. It’s pure propaganda and it’s intended to undermine the economic development, progress and community sustainability being brought by the development of the Shell cracker in Western Pennsylvania.

fake fractivist news

The fake fractivist news I’m talking about is an article titled “Will a push for plastics turn Appalachia into next ‘Cancer Alley’?” There’s not much to learn after that, as the entire piece is one continuous such hyped headline with little or no substance anywhere to be found. But, of course, that’s what the Guardian does these days. Here, in fact, is the message that pops up asking for donations when you seek to read the article (emphasis added):

We will not be quiet on the climate crisis.

The climate emergency is the defining issue of our times. This is the Guardian’s pledge: we will be truthful, resolute and undeterred in pursuing Guardian journalism on the environment. We will give global heating, wildlife extinction and pollution the urgent attention they demand. Our independence means we can interrogate inaction by those in power. It means Guardian reporting will always be driven by scientific facts, never by commercial or political interests. Support from our readers makes this work possible.

Could there be any clearer admission the Guardian is doing advocacy rather than independent journalism? Yet, it claims to be doing the latter in the same statement. Apparently, cognitive dissonance reigns at the Guardian. And, this is just the beginning. Readers are invited to check out its climate pledge. But, don’t waste your time as it’s just more of the same as the Guardian commits to fake fractivist news at the same time it reminds us how begging for financial support from like-minded donors is somehow something other than a commercial interest.

Even greater evidence of this cognitive dissonance and fake fractivist news is found within Emily Holden’s article itself. The subtitle is “Critics say ethane expansion will not only prolong fracking but could also trigger a public health disaster.” It’s hardly a surprise critics predict a public health disaster; they always do, of course. What is also not surprising is the lack of any real evidence to support the hype. Instead, readers deliberately misleading material such as this:

Four counties in south-western Pennsylvania have been afflicted by a rash of rare cancers, including 27 cases of Ewing sarcoma over 10 years in a population of about 750,000. The bone cancer usually occurs in children and young adults.

A retired paediatrician, Ned Ketyer, said: “Ewing sarcoma is a nightmare for the families that are given that diagnosis, and certainly for the patients and also for the physicians that diagnose it. It starts very quietly but by the time the diagnosis is made it has deepened and spread.”

This is an all too typical feature of fake fractivist news; the citation of data about some health matter with zero evidence of any connection whatsoever to fracking other than the fact some writer has enveloped the data with speculation of a link that doesn’t exist in the evidence. It’s intended that the reader draw an inference there is a fracking link where there isn’t. It’s a classic gimmick in the world of fake fractivist news, like talking about the dangers of arsenic in the water in an article on fracking when it’s been there all along, creating the impression that arsenic has been used in the process or has been released by it, neither of which has happens. This is the nature of so much fractivist bleating.

It is subsequently noted the Department of Health has found no evidence of cancer clusters in the affected school districts but brackets this acknowledgement with the undocumented claim “there are dozens of other rare cancer cases in the area too” and this:

But people are still worried. Last week, 50 environmental advocacy and public health groups as well as hundreds of individuals signed a letter to the Pennsylvania governor asking him to attend a public meeting to hear their health concerns. The state’s epidemiologist attended instead.

Apparently, we’re supposed to give more credence to 50 anti-gas advocacy groups and the governor than to the state’s epidemiologist. Is it just me or is this nonsense? And, who are the groups Holden used as go-to sources in her article? Well, she specifically mentions the following organizations to make her “public health disaster” case:

  • Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community
  • The Breathe Project
  • American Lung Association
  • Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania
  • Ned Ketyer (Physicians for Social Responsibility)
  • Mark Dixon (“film-maker and activist”).

The American Lung Association is only cited with respect to general air pollution data for Pittsburgh,, once again bracketed by paragraphs intended to imply a connection to fracking without actually establishing one. The other five sources are merely fractivist advocates.

The Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community is a totally fractivist, global warmist outfit that is registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit but only accepts donations through some other entity, apparently, which tells us it’s a shill group of serial protesters and NIMBYS committed to the destruction of the oil and gas industry and opposed to all related development.

The Breathe Project is a collaborative of the usual suspects, ranging from a 350.org chapter to Food & Water Watch to the junks science outfit known as the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, most of which are funded by the Heinz Endowments. Here’s what it says at the bottom of their Team page, in fact:

The Breathe Project is a supporting organization of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies with generous funding support from the Heinz Endowments.

I’m sure it is generous. It’s part of the fractivist cabal financed by Heinz, which is designed as an echo chamber for fake fractivist news.

Likewise, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania is merely a political off-shoot of PennFuture. It is the fractivist kingpin funded by Heinz and the William Penn Foundation to pursue elitist special interest politics in turning vast swaths of Pennsylvania into wilderness while also running land scams.

Physicians for Social Responsibility is yet another fractivist outlet. A brief glance at this “Fracking and Health” page is enough to demonstrate its agenda, which has little to do with health and everything to do with ideology and politics. It has also funded by Heinz “to engage the health community with information and training relating to the public health dimensions of shale gas development in Pennsylvania.”

Mark Dixon is a divestment advocate. Here he is in 2016 preaching global warming and blaming Mid-East conflicts on it, which explains him pretty well.

So, what the Guardian has done with its article is nothing more than play to its funding base of true believers, shills and special interests. That’s all there is to it. It’s a vacuous piece of nonsense based on spurious claims for the specific purpose of being echoed in other media and making a splash. But it’s still fake fractivist news.

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One thought on “Fake Fractivist News: The Bane of Progress and Sustainability

  1. The Guardian, once “de rigueur” reading for trendy lefties, has shed all pretense of objective, fact based journalism and has become nothing short of being a shill for globalist, anti-capitalist alarmist causes. Hopefully it will either reform itself or continue in its current death spiral to its ultimate demise.

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