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Frack protesters: Facts or farce?

Published: Sun, August 4, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Todd Franko (Contact)

It’s not often that you show up to a news event and find that you’re part of the news.

Don’t Frack Ohio staged a protest Monday in Warren with about 200 people from around the Valley and the state.

Spotted among the handful of signs was “We deceive; You believe.”

Above the words was, um, our logo.

“The Vindicator.”

A close look at the sign showed the original target of the sign was Fox News. You can see the faint colors of that logo under the printout of our logo.

But they chose to target the Vindy. To be clear, they had many targets. We were just one.

That was not the end of the surreality. A chant crawled out:

“Give us a fracking break, we don’t want another quake.

“Block the roads, shut the gates; we don’t want your toxic waste.

“Oil and gas, go back to Hell; we don’t want your injection well.

“Vindicator getting rich, by being oil industry’s b****.

“Vindicator spewing lies, because of oil industry ties.”

Wow ...

I guess, to hear it said aloud, “Vindicator” has a bit better cadence for the chant than “Fox News.” Our name vs. “Fox” in the world of protest chant -writing is like getting dealt ace-jack instead of four-seven.

But as for truth and reality, the sign and the chant are ridiculous to the level of insulting — like a four-seven.

Truth and reality are the Achilles heel of any protest effort, and ultimately cuts into any effort’s ability to court new believers. It’s not just a shame that the anti-frackers chose to take aim at us, it’s completely inaccurate.

First, I’d like to have all “that getting rich” stuff that they proclaim. Newspaper profits are tough to come by these days — in case you’ve not watched the Plain Dealer last week.

Second, “spewing lies” is a fairly pointed charge — and not absent of some harm and collateral effect.

I would say we are guilty of “spewing the complete story.”

And that’s what protesters of many issues often hate to hear — the complete story. Ignoring a complete story undermines one’s ability to be a complete contributor to society and articulate an issue.

Some protests lose even before they start because they swap facts for farce.

That’s the frack protesters’ problem.

But when they extend that personal misguidedness to actions that flat out call someone a liar and other unsurly things, now you’re affecting an honest workforce and economy.

Here’s the complete story of the Vindy and fracking to date:

We are very aware of the industry and have aggressively reported its arrival and expansion, no differently than we would the growth of U.S. 224 retail or Lordstown Cruzes.

That aggressive reporting sure has highlighted the promotion of many positives. It’s what a fair general media does.

But our work also has been tough on the industry.

I encourage you to look at yesterday’s story about aggressive landmen. In addition, look up these stories online:

April 28: Landowners face challenges over new leasing rules.

May 1: Proposal to transport frack waste on Ohio River.

July 7: Trumbull County gas and tempers flare.

Sept. 28: Disaster waiting to happen?

And all of this coverage is a backdrop to our award-winning coverage of the D&L earthquake issue. It was The Vindicator’s coverage — ridiculed by locals, state officials and even another veteran media person — that stoked the debate. When the big quake hit Dec. 31, 2011, state officials could not get on the phone quickly enough with our staff to explain what they now were going to do, even though they chided us for weeks.

The chiding of being too tough on the fracking industry even led to a spirited exchange between a current Vindy manager and a former one, who now helps promote the industry.

All of this amounts to:

Hate us for being balanced and complete.

But don’t chant “liars” and worse words when a complete look at the history shows the opposite.

It’s hurtful to the community and the merchants who have to decide every day if we are trustworthy.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at tfranko@vindy.com. He blogs, too, on vindy.com. Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.


1ytownsteelman(628 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Generally, liberals play fast and loose with the facts because their whole philosophy isn't based upon fact but emotion. This is why conservatives as so often frustrated, because rational fact based arguments have no effect on emotion based libs.

The anti frackers seemingly cannot even figure out the difference between a production well and an injection well, and cannot evaluate the availability, uses and limitations of various forms of energy. They try to make the case that fracking fluid that in itself is non toxic will somehow magically become toxic while being diluted in groundwater to poison that groundwater. I must have missed that lesson in science class.

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2GeorgeinYoungstown(76 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Doth Mr. Franko Protest too Much?

The reason why the Vindicators' coverage of the shale industry is being questioned isn't because the paper manages to publish an occasional espose' of the industry. There isn't a legitimately objective media outlet in existence that can ignore the negative impacts of this industry, since these impacts are growing by the day in shale communities around the country.

No, the reason the Vindy's coverage is being questioned is because of the stance the editorial board has taken - a clear and unambiguous and highly biased attack on the efforts of local citizens to restore local control over this industry, which, in many people's minds, is a de facto endorsement of the oil and gas industry. For every Vindicator article "critical" of the industry, there are 2 touting its economic "benefits." This may be "balance" to Mr. Franko, but when you wear the blinders one must wear to defend your employer, balance takes on a whole new meaning.

Mr. Franko's guarantees that the Vindicator's coverage has been "balanced and complete" notwithstanding, the paper's coverage is now tainted by its blatant disregard for objectivity in this case. It would have been better for the paper's editorial board to simply sit this one out instead of sticking their foot into the middle of it.

Also, the paper exposes its incredible level of hypocrisy and inconsistency when it promotes the citizens right to decide the ballot issues it thinks should be voted on, while attacking the one (The Community Bill of Rights) it thinks is unworthy, all the while wondering why the public would dare consider such conspiracy theories about undue oil and gas industry influence on such a "balanced and complete" paper!

TRANSLATION - "We support the democratic process, but only if you vote for the measures we want you to vote for!"

That's why their coverage of this issue cannot be trusted...they've placed the cloud above their heads and will now have to live with the level of mistrust they've brought opon themselves...

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