Recently on Fox News, Alex Epstein, the founder of the Center for Industrial Progress, and author of the book, Fossil Fuels Improve the Planet, argues in favor of hydraulic gas fracturing, or fracking, as it has become known. This is the technique of extracting natural gas and oil from layers of underground shale rock by pressure-injecting an undisclosed mixture of water and chemicals deep into the ground.
This particular segment serves as an outstanding example of what corporate propaganda looks like and how the media triggers our cultural programming to stimulate fear/desire conditioning, in order to persuade us into conforming to a selected position on an issue.
The clip begins with the graphic of a printing press rolling out unlimited dollar bills across the screen and the Fox host framing the conversation, asking their central question about fracking…
…its being called a modern day gold rush… reducing the need for foreign oil. With so many opportunities to frack in the Unites States, could this technology be a new path to American wealth?
A New Path to American Wealth?
The guest, Epstein, is introduced and hails fracking as a technological revolution as important to society as the invention of the computer, explaining how we are sitting on a Texas-sized amount of shale rock that should be extracted for the benefit of all.
The host goes on to explain ‘one of the big stories this week,’ a report issued by somebody about the economic benefits of fracking and how in high fracking areas they are already seeing a ‘trickling down’ of this vast wealth to the average person. Wages are supposedly up, U.S. tax revenues are up, disposable income is up, and the question is asked by the host…
… is this really going to affect my own wallet, is fracking really going to help me save more money and live a better life?
There are close-ups of dollar bills hovering in the background.
The central concern over fracking, for those who oppose it, is not that the economy will suffer if we don’t frack, but rather the damage it does to the environment; making people sick, contaminating water and causing droughts, drying up aquifers and causing earthquakes. This question was raised by the host, and addressed by Epstein:
…fracking is actually incredibly good for our environment, and there’s two reasons. One is that this rock right here [holds up a piece of black oil shale rock], this exists 5000 feet away from ground water, so the last thing that’s going to contaminate your ground water is a fracking operation. But #2, look at the places in the world with the best environments. They’re the places that use the most energy, because nature doesn’t give us a clean environment. We have to clean it up, that takes a lot of energy to purify the water, to grow crops, to make the word a better place, and that’s why I titled my book, Fossil Fuels Improve the Planet.
The host closes by stating that the EPA claims that there is no evidence that fracking ‘contaminates gravel,’ whatever that means, and so the question seems resolved to these two, and the closing postulation of the issue is offered:
…gonna be interesting to see if we get lower energy bills across this country as a result of fracking if it takes hold.
Propaganda is a form of communication aimed towards influencing the attitude of the community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda statements may be partly false and partly true. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes.
2: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
3: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect
This short piece of corporate propaganda is aimed at triggering our programmed fear of economic insecurity, and our programmed desire to be monetarily wealthy. By appealing to both our fear of loss and need for gain, this attempts to persuade the viewer that an increase in fracking is supportive of prosperity and personal security, and therefore a good idea. There is inadequate representation of the other sides of this argument, and there clearly is strong bias toward fracking and the oil and gas industry.
In the era of alternative media, where individuals have picked up the torch of journalistic integrity, is it any wonder why alternative news sources are winning out over the corporate model that offers us brain-washing like this that Fox and Friends presents here?
So much more to the Story
As with any issue where there is a tremendous amount of money to be made by those with entrenched connections, there is always so much more than what is routinely spoken of in the mainline press, and, as usual, opposing viewpoints are easily found. Here are a few other angles on the issue of fracking, highlighting some of the well-founded concerns of people not approached for comment in this Fox news segment:
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an avid student of Yoga and life.