The eagerly-awaited “fracking the Karoo” column from Daily Maverick “Opinionista” Ivo Vegter has finally arrived, bringing with it further discussion of the dubious brainwashing tactics used by the anti-frackers (Lewis Pugh, TKAG et al). It’s nice to see that Ivo has finally jumped on-board with 6000 miles… after our previous differerences over… well… everything, really. And although he doesn’t actually mention this site in his column, you can tell he’s read it and then put it in much more technical (read: better) English.
Lewis Pugh was rousing. He invoked Mandela and Gandhi and the brave people who fought and died for freedom. The propaganda was spectacular and alarming. There would be war over water, he warned, if we permit Shell to prospect for shale gas in the Karoo.
This is about our children’s future, and that of our children’s children, he preached. Shell is proposing to destroy our environment, he said, launching into stirring rhetoric about the ravages of global warming. Then he invoked the political tyrants being toppled in north Africa, and deftly juxtaposed “corporate tyranny” as if it’s the same thing.
It was grand oratory, concluding in Churchillian fashion with a call to arms and a vow to fight on, so “good will triumph over evil”. Yes, he actually used those words.
It was a slick performance, full of emotive appeal and rhetorical hyperbole. Dutifully, the mainstream media – whose sympathies I may have mentioned before –cheered this green David, standing up against the corporate Goliath.
But just because a little guy is facing up to a big guy doesn’t make the little guy right.
Ivo quotes from several apparently pro-fracking papers, reports and article, which I have not had time to read (remember kids, this is his job, it’s merely my pastime). But the gist is that the main opposition to fracking in the Karoo is flawed by being based on incorrect information, poor data and/or downright untruths. Still, this opposition is cleverly presented as fact with a huge helping of emotion on a sideplate, and is then dutifully lapped up and regurgitated by their supporters.
But while Ivo might agree with me:
One keeps hearing how Big Oil lobbyists are evil spinmeisters and insidious manipulators of public opinion. Don’t forget that Big Green lobbyists can deceive the public with the best of them.
he pours scorn upon Christine’s Brilliant Idea™ – as documented yesterday on this blog.
Oh, and one other thing. Ditch the word “fracking”. It is a barbarous bastardisation of a perfectly good English term. Using it has only one purpose: spin.
It is designed to make people who don’t know better fear a perfectly ordinary industrial technique that has been in used safely and successfully around the world for many decades. It permits cute, but crude, phrases like “Fracking up the Karoo”. It should be beneath any self-respecting journalist.
Christine will surely be heartbroken.
Me? I’m off to try and find a “self-respecting journalist”. hahahaha!