Is That All There Is, Tom Wilber?

PennFuture - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


Tom Wilber has now completed his “The Promise of Fracking: Lessons from Pennsylvania” series and we’re left saying “Is that all there is, Tom?”

When I reviewed the first part of the new Tom Wilber series here, I introduced it with this overview:

The death of real journalism and the rise of advocacy journalism is marked not so much by what is said but, rather, by what is not said. That is Tom Wilber.

Now, all three segments have been published (Part 1Part 2Part 3) and we’ve had additional observations from Johnny Williams as well as an in-depth analysis by Nicole Jacobs over at Energy In Depth and we’ve all concluded the same thing; it’s what’s been left out that’s important to this series. But, there’s another troubling aspect as well. The series is nothing but a rehash of old accusations, long ago rendered false or irrelevant, by a newspaper reporter from the advocacy school of journalism, who thought he could make his name writing a book that recycled his old fracking stories, only to find himself back at the same newspaper, regurgitating them yet again. After reading the whole thing, I can only ask if that’s all there is.

There’s no greater sin for a writer than to be boring, to reach the point everyone knows what you’re going to say before you say it. That’s the nature of this Tom Wilber series.

How many times is he going to revive the Dimock story?

How many times is he going to dredge up the accusation that fracking somehow introduced methane migration to an area where people have been lighting the water on fire since the era was first settled?

How many times is he going to talk about a “Halliburton Loophole” that doesn’t even exist according to Tony Ingraffea, one of his sources?

How many times is he going to wrongly suggest, against all evidence, that hydraulic fracturing is polluting water supplies, by stretching the definition of “fracking” to include anything and everything remotely connected to natural gas development?

It seems there’s no limit. Tom Wilber has been doing this since 2007 and his repeat button is stuck. Moreover, in his entire Part 2 article entitled “Environment Feels Sting of Pennsylvania Regulatory Approach” he never even mentions the EPA study of Dimock, which found the water was safe.

Do we really need to know more than this about Wilber’s bias? He builds his case around Dimock, mentioning it eight separate times, and never mentions the EPA study? Sounds like a cruel joke, doesn’t it? But, this is journalism by the Tom Wilber standard.

Likewise, there is not a single mention of the Park Foundation in this entire series, even though they finance not only Tony Ingraffea (mentioned five times by Wilber) but nearly every other fractivist? He also use Ingraffea to make this statement:

Flowback goes to treatment facilities or to depleted production wells, mostly in Ohio, where it is injected back into the ground. Tony Ingraffea, a Cornell University engineering professor who specialized in the mechanics of fracking, views injections of undisclosed chemical mixtures as a catastrophic practice, whether its for production or waste disposal.

Tom Wilber v220px-Tom_Wilber

Tom Wilber

Is Tom Wilber so incredibly uniformed he doesn’t realize Cabot Oil and Gas, for example, recycles all its flowback, and most other companies are also recycling now? Or, is he deliberately ignoring this fact to feed the fractivist beast? Either way, it doesn’t say much for his journalism, does it? Once again it’s what’s left out that tells the real story.

What Tom Wilber supplies, instead, is more of the same, as if nothing has happened since Dimock became a recognizable name. He accepts the word of fractivists as gospel from the mouths of independent, public spirited citizens and disparages everything and everyone connected with the natural gas industry. He’s a true believer and fellow traveler, not a journalist.

He wrote this series of rehashes because he’s never moved off the template, never advanced beyond First Grade in fracking. He’s still talking Dimock,  Halliburton Loophole and what to do with the flowback, while the EPA and courts have dispensed with the first, even Ingraffea has to admit the second is a myth and the third issue has been rendered irrelevant by recycling programs.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time Tom Wilber got a life and moved on? For crying out loud, get a life and do something new, Tom!

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2 thoughts on “Is That All There Is, Tom Wilber?

  1. Pingback: Binghamton Newspaper Extreme Anti-Drilling Bias on Display | Marcellus Drilling News

  2. “Likewise, there is not a single mention of the Park Foundation in this entire series, even though they finance not only Tony Ingraffea (mentioned five times by Wilber) but nearly every other fractivist?”

    Fact Check.

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