Thursday, November 8, 2012

New York's Referendum on Fracking:
Ummm... Now for the Wool-Gathering

NY anti-fracking candidates fared poorly at polls

MARY ESCH, Associated Press

Updated 2:37 a.m., Thursday, November 8, 2012

Anti-fracking sentiment in the Southern Tier was felt at the polls this week when candidates opposed to drilling were beaten up and down the ballot after intense campaigns, some that were framed as referendums on shale gas development.
This lead paragraph reminds me of a great line from the Watergate Era's All The President's Menan explanation for Bob Woodward's terrible rookie copy:

Wags around the office water-cooler were said to joke that English was not his native language.

Here, let's break it down: 

Anti-fracking sentiment was felt...  as the anti-fracking candidates consistently lost their races...?

Maybe Esch meant such sentiment was gauged at the polls, but found to be weak? 
Wanting?  Over-hyped?  Under-sized?  Lackluster?  Tepid?  Flaccid?

Anti-fracking groups focused their post-election comments on races in other parts of the state where winning candidates had taken a stand against fracking while not making it a central theme.

Sue Rapp of Vestal Residents for Safe Energy, which opposes fracking, said pro-fracking groups should not take the election results as a referendum in favor of drilling.

"All these election results mean is that big money is still a big factor in our electoral process," said Rapp, who said the gas industry and related businesses supported Preston and other drilling boosters. "We believe that the majority of residents understand that we are not ready for fracking anywhere in New York state."

I just love these guys.

Anti-drillers, in other words, tout the vote as a referendum on drilling — but only if they had won.

We see a lot of this kind of wishful, one-way logic going unchallenged in New York's shale gas debate:

• Home Rule is a great concept — but not for Upstate towns ready already for the drilling to begin.

• The federal EPA should uniformly regulate shale gas production nationwide — but they better not try handing out any drilling permits in New York.

• Academic studies on the hydraulic fracturing issue should be burned as heresy, if they're traced in any way to industry dollars — but celebrated as gospel, if they're funded with activist and not-for-profit dollars.

The larger question regarding New York's ongoing shale gas saga is whether there is a consistent story-selection (or angle-selection) bias with in-state media outlets. 

I mean — can we talk? 

To me, it doesn't get any clearer than this already researched and written (though apparently not already edited) thing from the AP — landing like a turd within New York. 

Though I realize it's still early in the day today, this might prove to be another one of those even-handed, New York-relevant stories — datelined from the state capitol — that runs virtually nowhere in New York State.

Looking for it a number of different ways, Google News at the time of this posting is showing Mary Esch's story sits solely on web pages traced to the San Francisco Chronicle and Bloomberg Business Week.

Maybe everybody else is still kerflummoxed by the lead.

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