Ivo backs me, rubbishes Christine’s Brilliant Idea

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!

6 thoughts on “Ivo backs me, rubbishes Christine’s Brilliant Idea

  1. As some body who reads quite a bit before coming to a conclusion (thanks google) I am opposed to fracking. When I first heard about it on Carte Blanche I started reading up about it and the more I read the more horrified I became.

    You can say what you like but it is going to pollute the water, it is for temporary gain and it will destroy the natural beauty and purity of the Karoo.

    Yes, I know that the link I have included is for a movie and therefore sensationalised but there is also some truth to it. So I am quoting you back – do some Fracking reading!!!


  2. Pamela > Oh dear. Gasland is exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about. I have read all around the movie, the story behind it and those that made it. Emotionally-driven, one-sided nonsense. It has an agenda – namely to bad mouth fracking and oil companies. It ignores factual evidence and picks and chooses what to record and show. In short, it is far from a true record of the effects of fracking.
    You yourself say that it has been sensationalised. So why would you choose to believe it?

    I can say what I like, “but it is going to pollute the water…”?
    There’s no evidence for this either. In fact, it defies logic.

    Once someone can offer me objective proof that fracking water can rise up through 2-4km of solid bedrock to contaminate the aquifers of the Karoo, then I might be swung. And while you (and by you, I mean we) continue to use electricity in this country (or anywhere else) we are augmenting the need for natural gas.

    It’s great that people are wanting to become informed about this, it’s just sad that they are being informed by misleading sources.

  3. “and it will destroy the natural beauty and purity of the Karoo.”

    I have visited the Karoo many, many times and I can tell you there is nothing beautiful to see.

    (Granted, it was by plane and I was 10km up in the air, but that is a G0d-fors@ken place.)

    Very few people will be affected — even if fracking is really as bad as some people are speculating.

    It is our duty to plan ahead and secure energy resources for those who will live after us on this forgiving planet.

  4. carlbothabp > Oh come now, carlbothabp. Some of it is quite nice. And some of it is completely desolate. But then some people like complete desolation.

  5. You really should watch Gasland, though – it’s quite amusing in parts, especially the parts where Fox hardly tries to hide his bias. Then there’s the great bit where a white-lab-coat person says we can’t assess the damage, because we don’t know what’s in the water, and have no baseline data – followed half an hour later with another white-lab-coat who holds up convincing-looking sheets of paper showing his evidence – based on measurements of the chemicals in the water – of how much damage is being done.

    It’s not only propaganda, it’s bad propaganda. But his basic premise could still be true, as you’ve said all along. Unfortunately, it’s only the right kind of dogmatism that placates the lynch-mob, though…

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