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)
ACT ONE. YOU’VE GOT SHALE.
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)
ACT TWO. GROUND WAR.
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.