Accurate unbiased news reporting, in the case of natural gas development, is too often harder to find than flaming water. A recent story from Pittsburgh, which had nothing to do with natural gas development, somehow turned into an indictment of the industry, illustrating the power of imagery over facts in the hands of reporters with preconceived ideas that are just plain wrong.
I’ve always held Pittsburgh to a higher standard. Like my hometown of Buffalo, it was a rust belt city that had suffered when manufacturing took a dive. Unlike Buffalo, it found its way out of that downward economic spiral more facilely and on a faster timetable. On my visits there, I checked out the downtown and saw that its urban core had some thriving neighborhoods, a great theatre district, well-preserved architectural treasures, and a historic train station that was a destination restaurant and shopping area. That whole french-fries-on-sandwiches thing was almost as good as a roast beef on kimmelweck. Heck, it even had a football team that won a Super Bowl or two.
Oh, how idols do fall. I was truly dismayed to see that local televisions news in Pittsburgh has fallen prey to over-reacting and under-reporting as other members of the fourth estate. Such was the case last week when WTAE (the ABC affiliate in Pittsburgh) reported on the Headley family in Fayette County and the bubbling methane in a puddle near an artesian spring on the family property.
The culprit, of course, just had to be nearby natural gas development and was portrayed as nothing short of absolutely awful. When the story ended, even the news readers on set were shaking their well-coiffured heads in scripted disbelief.http://eidmarcellus.org/marcellus-shale/flaming-water-more-common-than-fair-natural-gas-coverage/19265/