UPDATE: 9News anchor Kyle Clark brilliantly corrects the record, responding via Twitter to the Peak story saying “You’re correct. That was a graphics fail. Fracking fluid is not sprayed on the ground like Scotts Turf Builder.” Here’s to journalists who can admit mistakes, and more importantly, do it with good humor.
BEWARE! Oil companies are coming to a neighborhood near you to spill their toxic combination of water, sand and chemicals all over your property. Rather than carefully injecting fracking fluid into the steel reinforced concrete wells, they're just going to discharge it all over the lawn. Or at least that's what viewers of a recent 9News report on fracking were led to believe.
In the report the station shows an image of a truck parked near the opening of a well spewing its contents in every direction, with none actually making it into the steel reinforced pipe surrounding the well. Then apparently, either heat or oil suddenly rises up through the ground after the ground is fractured. We can't tell exactly what the graphic means, but it seems to insinuate that gravity stops working and oil starts moving up to the surface.
See the report here:
This, of course, is pure nonsense. There has not been a single, not one, instance ever recorded of hydraulic fracturing fluid rising up towards the surface and contaminating groundwater. Just ask Governor Hickenlooper. The practice has been in use in the oil and gas industry for over 60 years, and yet the enviros who love to throw "science" out on climate change all of the sudden reject the scientific inquiry that has found no such problems with fracking.
Admittedly, the term fracking doesn't help its case. It certainly doesn't sound environmentally friendly. Too bad Frank Luntz wasn't around when the term gained a foothold in energy discourse.
With oil and gas drilling a relatively new phenomenon along the Front Range, and literally billions of dollars worth recently discovered, news organizations have a particularly pivotal role in informing the public of the facts, not the enviro hype or oil company spin.
For example, the NIMBY activists interviewed in the segment are allowed to throw out the fact that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is funded by the oil and gas industry, without 9News giving viewers the context that its not voluntary donations from the industry, but tax dollars extracted from the industry. That's like saying schools are funded by corporations without mentioning its the tax dollars from corporations that provide the funding.
We don't want to see 9News go the way of David Sirota when it comes to inaccurate representations of funding. We all know how well that worked out for that liberal netroot ghoul.
As the enviros have amply demonstrated over the years, it's exceedingly simple to demagogue or outright lie about drilling, as people are inclined to believe the worst about energy companies. Heck, even Gasland got nominated for an Oscar despite having more holes in its reasoning than the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. In reality, most Americans now view drilling in light of the Deep Water Horizons debacle in the Gulf. They also remember the botched job of fixing the problem by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
With that pre-existing skittishness felt toward oil drilling it's especially important for the news to get the facts right and provide proper context.
The new oil and gas discoveries along the Front Range have the ability to nearly single-handedly wipe out Colorado's structural budget deficit. Shouldn't we want to get it right…for the kids? Right, Rollie? Everything we do is for the kids.
While we want to cut 9News some slack after their brilliant uncovering of the $3 milllion JeffCo Bridge to Nowhere, this is just plain sloppy reporting.
Next time, 9News, make sure your graphic is slightly more accurate than the opening scene of Team America: World Police.