The Advertising for Natural Gas from Shale Drilling and Fracking

by S. Tom Bond on December 9, 2012

Chesapeake Energy

Commentary by S. Tom Bond of Lewis County, WV.

The United States seems to be moving back toward the Middle Ages when truth came from Authority – meaning the Medieval Church and the King, who was essentially anyone who, with his buddies, could field more thugs than anyone else.

“True” statements then involved no necessity to demonstrate connection to the physical world, only to the pronouncements of “Authority.” If your statement did not conjoin with the dominant theme, you were simply pounded into place. Frequently a place underground.

Today’s “news” has given up analysis for the valueless “he said, she said” format, or to simply massaging the advertisers. After all, the outward purpose of “news” is to entertain and the inward purpose is to make money. This results in consolidation of the media – money-making winner take all. Do I need to mention Rupert Murdoch?

We are used to pharmaceutical company advertising, which was forced to mention side effects, some of them pretty horrifying, only after jumping to advertising directly to potential customers. Or chemical companies, which advertise plastics without mentioning bisphenol A or other endocrine disrupters given off by many other products.

And of course, there is political advertising, which is a quintessence of self-interest masquerading as economic principle or ethical balance. One of the mysteries of psychology is how people can so easily be convinced to support platforms diametrically opposed to their own interests. Obviously it’s done by advertising to people who have their minds turned off. But how is it accomplished so easily?

Shale advertising appears everywhere. I recently turned to a Moscow newspaper hoping to get the Russian view on an event written in English. The entire paper was in Russian, except… get this, and ad to invest in shale drilling!  Here in the U. S. there are two or three booster ads on the local news broadcast each night, telling how great it is. There are some in the newspapers, others on billboards along the highway and on many of the sites you open on the internet.

The universal characteristic of advertising is that it presents the product as the advertiser wants it. Tobacco ads and drug ads are under federal constraint, but otherwise the advertiser calls the tune. If there is a different view it can be countered in this medium only by some entity paying for the counter-advertising.

The dirty aspects of shale drilling, such as aquifer and stream damage, devaluation of property, interference with other industries, long term and health effects, just disappear under the blitzkrieg of ads and lesser news-entertainment.

The authority appealed to, of course, is “business.” The vast sums ($126 billion a year average over the last six years, according to Ernst and Young) gotten from investors who only want a quick and large return, allow vast sums for shaping public opinion by advertising. As they say, “It’s great to be the King!”

The $13 billion in subsidies awarded to hydrocarbon fuels by the United States, helps, too. Why should mature, profitable industries be getting subsidies? The world-wide figure is $58.7 billion, so the US is not the only country pumping money from it’s citizens to aid the pollution from burning carbon.

What can we do? We need to keep working to raise the consciousness of those around us. The sun did not go around the earth in the Middle Ages, and aquifers are not safe today. No matter who says the opposite. It will come out eventually. But sooner is better, because more of the Earth is being harmed all the time.

We need publicity, we need political action, and we need to work together with the several hundred groups trying to regulate shale drilling in the US and the dozens of others all over the world. The truth is on the ground everywhere shale drilling is tried, and the authority is concentrated in a few companies and a few banks. Truth will come out, but until it is recognized, damages will continue.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Duane Nichols December 10, 2012 at 12:31 am

‘Promised Land’ putting fracking in focus

Written by Erich Schwartzel on Friday, 07 December 2012 

The natural gas industry is getting ready — very ready — for its close-up.

With the Gus Van Sant film featuring fracking, “Promised Land,” scheduled to hit select theaters at the end of this month, energy firms worried about a misleading Hollywood treatment are adjusting the focus with websites and campaigns against what they see as the movie’s motives and message.


Randal Scott Mick December 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm

What my concern is today, I read an article by Bloomberg this morning that says, these shale plays are taking the control of fuel prices away from OPEC. This would say something about energy independence. My concern is that these same people are wanting to EXPORT this great energy to Europe/Asia. They do this in order to create markets and in return raising natural gas prices in the time of need for so many of these companies. This energy independence would fall under the form of advertisement previously mentioned. I cannot support the enviormental devistation of America only to make profits for a select few as always. Let’s open our eyes to the truth.


S. Thomas Bond December 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm

For all of us, the bottom line is the local gas station and the gas bill. Energy independence for the US doesn’t mean lower prices for us if our gas enters the world market. In fact, by making it easy to ship gas out of the US, it likely means a higher price for us.


Sharron Burgess December 12, 2012 at 12:24 am

Totally agree. I’m spreading the truth about fracking as much as I can to anyone who is in hearing range of my conversations with friends.

I have a loud voice, when necessary, post articles on facebook and share, send articles in e-mails, sign petitions, just can’t make it to the various meetings in WV. I live too far away. Hope it helps.

Sharron Burgess


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