Corporate Power

I don’t know how people can hear stories like This American Life’s Game Changer:

Host Ira Glass tells the stories of two professors, each making a calculation that no one had made before. One gets acclaim. One ends up out of a job. The first, Terry Engelder, a geologist at Penn State, was estimating the amount of natural gas that’s recoverable from the Marcellus shale, a giant rock formation that’s under Pennsylvania and several other Eastern states. The second, Conrad “Dan” Volz, at the University of Pittsburg, estimated how much toxic crap—chemicals and pollution from gas exploration—might be getting into water supplies. (6 1/2 minutes)

Producer Sarah Koenig continues the story Terry Engelder and Dan Volz, their rival calculations about natural gas in Pennsylvania, and how each was treated by his university. She explains how Pennsylvania’s universities, politicans and industry have united to develop natural gas. Other states have been more cautious. (26 1/2 minutes)

Sarah takes us to Mt. Pleasant, PA, where a gas exploration company called Range Resources has leased 95% of the township’s land. This led to a standoff between Mt. Pleasant and Range, starting with zoning disputes and ending in a full scale PR war—a war in which the town was seriously outgunned. (23 1/2 minutes)

Or a report like On the Media’s “Hot Coffee“:

We all think we know the story of the woman who spilled McDonald’s coffee on herself and then sued the fast food chain for millions.  But in the new HBO documentary “Hot Coffee”, filmmaker Susan Saladoff shows how the media got the story all wrong, and often demonizes civil litigation, using phrases like “frivolous lawsuit” and “jackpot justice.”  She says the distortion of civil cases is part of a big PR push to discourage people from suing big business.

And not be concerned about the concentration of corporate power and influence in our country.

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11 Responses to Corporate Power

  1. I heard this one, too. How disheartening. Made my stomach hurt…

  2. Wendy Heiges says:

    Just read the first part. I’m scared to delve deeper…

  3. That was a great story (and sobering).

  4. jelyon says:

    @Wendy – they are well done. I recommend giving a listen when the audio’s available.

    This American Life and On the Media are two of my favorite shows. Maybe my two favorite.

  5. I blame the two shows for why i spent 2 hours picking weeds while listening…instead of running on town lake trail!

  6. available in podcast Susan – and John please tell me you love Sound Opinions (Chicago guys)…

  7. I know but the podcasts just keep filling up my memory and then I never delete them and then Sound Opinions! Saturday at 6:00 I love it..and …. I need rehab for my NPR addiction…..and Fresh Air….

  8. jelyon says:

    @Deb: I’ve enjoyed Sound Opinions…when I’ve been awake early enough to listen!

    @Susan: It’s not a problem until you have a WeSun theme ringtone, and know the personalities by their voices.

    Oh. My.

    P.S. – does Terry Gross have the best laugh on the planet, or what? Well, except for Emma, of course.

  9. I DO know them by their voices, but I refuse to have a ringtone of any type! and…. Sound Opinion is re-run at 11 or 12 or some late night time…..

  10. wait, wait – is Carl Kassel’s voice on your voice mail???

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