In recent years, Hollywood has produced a number films that demonize the drilling process known as "fracking," with a cable network recently airing yet another movie that exaggerates its public dangers.
Hydraulic fracturing uses millions of gallons of sand, water and chemicals to blast deep into the earth, shattering underground shale and freeing natural gas for collection. The process has been used for years to free up unreachable natural gas.
On June 8, HBO aired Gasland Part II -- a sequel to the Oscar-nominated 2010 anti-fracking film, Gasland. Julia Seymour, assistant editor for the Media Research Center's Business and Media Institute, says it is yet another film that will further fuel the media's bias.
"We do know where Hollywood stands [regarding fracking], and we've known that for a long time," she notes. "So for the networks to then use these comments and these celebrities over and over again to cover an issue like this -- it's just really wrong of them. I mean, if you're going to talk about this issue with any sense of fairness, they should actually be talking to people who either want it or don't want it for whatever reason."
According to a new study from the Business and Media Institute, the networks use Hollywood to attack a practice that has been used since 1947 and supported 1.7 million jobs in 2012 alone. The study shows that ABC, CBS, and NBC have done 36 stories on hydraulic fracturing since 2010, half of which (18) used what Seymour calls "leftist box office flops full of debunked science like Gasland and Promised Land as a means to push an anti-drilling agenda."
Seymour further believes the media wrongly misleads the public by claiming fracking causes drinking water contamination.
"Half the stories included Hollywood attacks, and the other half of those stories were [supposedly] pro-hydraulic fracturing -- they weren't," the columnist asserts. "In fact, many of those stories were also very negative, arguing that they're not safe, that hydraulic fracturing is not safe practice, and rarely including the other side."
While many films like FrackNation and HBO's recent documentary, Gasland Part II, claim well-water pollution from the process, organizations like the EPA report no evidence of harm from fracking in ground water.