Laughing with the Daily Mail
It’s not every day that we find the Daily Mail’s coverage of the fracking debate amusing. We are rather more used to laughing at it than with it.
Sometimes, as with their badly researched advice in the Money Mail article “Dare investors take a bet on fracking?”, where they suggest that the UK has 120 years of supply of shale gas, we think they can demonstrate a dangerous level of ignorance and laziness.
However this cartoon from Mac is quite funny, even if it does fall into the trap that most media seem to have done – that of supposing that earth tremors are the only, or even the major issue here.
The media do seem to like their material to be given to them in pre-digested chunks which they can regurgitate easily to their readers – “earth tremors bad” “cheap gas good” “protesters must be extremists” etc.
Indeed they can be very particular about what they want the truth to be.
When the BBC national news crew turned up in St Annes to cover local people’s reaction to the announcement that fracking could go ahead, they INSISTED that we should sit in front of a laptop screen showing the Gasland clip with a tap emitting burning methane in spite of the fact that we told them we did NOT believe this was a likely outcome and that they were distorting the story.
Nothing we could say would dissuade them, as apparently the producer had dictated that this was how the story should be filmed. Faced with a choice of getting some coverage of our point of view getting none, we reluctantly agreed and hopefully were able to convey with much head shaking etc that we were not getting overexcited by the image.
The fact that the regional BBC news reporter , Peter Marshal, wiped the floor with his national level colleagues in terms of his ability to put together a thoughtful and interesting piece to camera was pretty telling.
We really do hope that the media adopt a more grown-up attitude to the issues in 2013 for all our sakes.