Agenda-driven journalism is poised to pit two Democratic constituencies against each other in my home state of California.
Americans are becoming aware that there is an “oil boom” in this country, courtesy of the technology behind the fracking of oil shale. California’s Monterey Shale Formation, which is a “vast source rock” that contains potentially billions of barrels of oil, could be a significant source of job and wealth creation for the Golden State.
However, as Chris Reed of Cal Watchdog notes, getting Californians to support this development means they need to be informed that it is very feasible to extract the oil in an environmentally sound manner. He questions whether the state media is going to take this approach:
But will California’s environmental journalists bother to read beyond the NRDC press releases? Will they talk to the experts who say not only is fracking environmentally safe, but its increasing sophistication is also making it steadily cleaner? Will they share with their readers that fracking has been “massively” used since the 1970s without the catastrophes we’re now warned about? Will they acknowledge that if the Golden State chooses not to join the revolution, it is likely to be an outlier, because states and nations where green energy is less of a religion are lining up to take advantage of the fracking revolution?
My answer to Reed: It depends on which blue constituency California media decides to back. The choices are the cocktail-party eco-glitterati or the underdog, impoverished unemployed citizens.
Walter Russel Mead has a similar perspective, but instead of media support, he looks at the options the Democrat Party has:
Does California’s Democratic Party come down on the side of low income Californians, who desperately need the jobs and state services new oil extraction will fund? Or does it come down on the side of a green lobby that is heavily backed by some of the wealthiest people in the state? To what extent does the wealthy coastal elite control the future of the inland poor in California? Can the GOP use the issue as a wedge to rebuild its credibility in a state it once dominated? Will black gold bail out big blue California?
Bring lots of popcorn. This is going to be a terrific show.
My sense is that our media will be siding with the eco-activist glitterati, as they host swankier events. That is why our state citizen groups are now working to get the real facts out to the unemployed “blues”.
A fact that may work for the shale-development side: Governor Jerry Brown is an oil baron.
So, in addition to popcorn, pour a glass of California chardonnay or one of our San Diego microbrews and enjoy the blue on blue fireworks.