NPR is still airing pro-fracking ads and reporting pro-fracking stories. Sign here and we'll take the fight for frack free radio to local stations across the country!
EPA is still taking money from frackers, running pro-fracking ads and reporting stories with a pro-fracked gas bias. So far, we've had trouble getting the national reporters and ombuds people to listen to our concerns, so we're trying a new angle to turn up the volume and get them to drop the frackers:
NPR gets more money from local stations (like WGBH in Boston, WNYC in New York and KQED in San Francisco) than they do from corporate sponsors like the Natural Gas Alliance. Almost twice as much funding comes from local stations as from the frackers and other corporations, in fact!1 Those local stations, in turn, get most of their funding from local listeners like us.
So rather than going back to the glitzy Washington, D.C., offices of NPR this time, we want to direct our comments and actions to the local stations we all know and love. Our demands are simple: Stop taking fracking money, and stop telling fracking lies.
Sign here and we'll deliver your name to local NPR stations over the next few weeks. If enough of us take action by signing on, showing up at local stations, and speaking out during pledge drives we can get them to relay these demands to the national NPR offices and abandon pro-fracking radio for clean local alternatives.
When I heard NPR had gotten a new ombud, I was initially excited. I thought that maybe if a new person were put in charge of listener complaints and feedback, we'd get more attention on the ways that taking money from the fossil fuel industry is morally wrong, and forces us to question NPR's journalistic integrity.
But not only has the new Ombud utterly dismissed our concerns (using the same bogus, circular arguments we've heard before),2 the coverage of fracking has arguably gotten WORSE. Just consider the recent piece "America's Next Economic Boom Could Be Lying Underground."3 If the headline alone doesn't put your teeth on edge, consider that the primary (nearly the only) source for the article is a man named Michael Porter -- who is introduced only as a "Harvard economist" and then quoted or paraphrased six times in the four minute story.
But what is NEVER said is that Porter has been a paid adviser to numerous corporations including Procter & Gamble and Royal Dutch Shell4 and he's one of the founders of The Monitor Group.5 That so-called strategy consulting firm came under scrutiny in 2011 for working with the Gaddafi regime in Libya before they were sold in bankruptcy.6
While ignoring all those facts about Dr. Porter, the article fails to quote or reference any environmental organization opposed to fracking, any scientist or doctor who's researched the public health or climate impacts of fracked gas, or any local resident impacted by the practice. In short the piece ignores everybody but a pro-fracking economist paid to espouse pro-fossil-fuel views. The only opposition to Dr. Porter's views in the entire piece comes at the very end from another economist who thinks that while fracking is great, it will not offset job losses in the oil industry. *Ugh!*
It's only one example and one (really bad) story, but there are tons more. And all NPR has to say for itself is that they believe in the "firewall" between advertisers and news reporters. In the age of divestment that's simply not good enough. Millions of us are working to keep two thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves under the ground. Our success or failure will determine whether millions more people face catastrophic climate impacts like rising seas, droughts and intense storms. Not to mention the hundreds of communities facing poisoned water, health impacts, and even earthquakes caused by fracking. These stories need to be researched, reported and most importantly aired on Public Radio -- not just some of the time, but ALL THE TIME -- while pro-fracking economics reports from discredited former Gaddafi investors do not.
To end control of our public radio by fracked gas corporations and fossil fuel profiteers, we need to think global, and act local. And that's why we're taking this newest phase of the campaign to the local stations and reporters. If we can get a powerful number -- for example 100 of the 268 licensed NPR affiliates -- to send these demands to the national office, we'll be sure to get a serious response.
But it all starts with you, and your NPR-listening neighbors. Click here to sign on to our open letter and ask local NPR stations to back our demands that NPR stop taking the fracking industry's dirty money, and stop telling their dirty lies. Then share the news with all your friends.
Thanks for tuning in, not checking out,
Drew and the frack free radio crew at Environmental Action
1 - NPR, Public Radio Finances, 2015
2 - Elizabeth jensen, NPR's Underwriting Guidelines, Part Two, NPR, April 16, 2015
3 - Chris Arnold, America's Next Economic Boom Could Be Lying Underground, NPR, June 11, 2015
4 - Michael Porter bio page, Harvard University Business School
5 - Michael Porter Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
6 - Andrew Soloman, Circle of Fire, The New Yorker, May 8, 2006