Anti-Fracking Activists Bully Local Reporter
Last month, before a public hearing in Ravenna that focused on hydraulic fracturing and shale development, a group of anti-fracking activists decided to film themselves setting up for their demonstration. The video was disturbing, to say the least: it showed how the protestors treated a local journalist whose previous reporting clearly did not have their stamp of approval.
Watch for yourself in the video above. Here’s the full transcript:
Activist: “How you doing, Steve?”
Reporter: “Good, how are you?”
Activist: “We’re rolling, man. This is on the record.”
Activist: “Are you still lazy and dangerous? Are you still investigating fracking?”
Reporter: “I’m here.”
Activist: “This is where you do your investigation? You don’t know anything, do you? You know anything about the Halliburton Loophole? Do you know anything about the Great Lakes Compact? Huh?! Do you know anything about forty-two million gallons of gas [sic] per one frac here in Michigan? Do you know anything about that? Where’s that water coming from? Whose water is it, Steve?! Is it their water? Think about it, Steve. Ignoramus. You don’t care, do you? You’re lazy and dangerous. Those are your words.”
Activist: “Nice job! Nice job, Steve. I don’t know how you can sleep at night but that’s your business! See you on Facebook, you’ll be there.”
The reporter, Stephen Kloosterman, was attending the hearing as part of his ongoing reporting on hydraulic fracturing. The meeting included representatives from the industry and the environmental community, as well as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. And yet, the activists not only felt the need to criticize him for attending the meeting, but also called him an “ignoramus” and said they “don’t know how [he] can sleep at night” based on his prior reporting.
The most recent story Mr. Kloosterman had filed can be found here – which was literally nothing more than a simple explanation of the meeting and who would be in attendance.
As for the activist’s “lazy and dangerous” accusation, that comes from a previous story Kloosterman filed in April. The story was about a public event where an opponent of hydraulic fracturing argued that the process was unsafe. In the comments, Kloosterman, in response to an activist, said it would be “lazy and dangerous” to re-print every accusation levied against shale development without fact-checking it.
To most people, that would be called journalism. To anti-fracking activists – who, for obvious reasons, do not want their baseless claims investigated – it’s indicative of an “ignoramus.”
It gets worse. In the description of the video, the activist tries to make an inflammatory justification for his bullying:
“To make the point clear, consider the extreme example of Nazi Germany. Imagine any of the people responsible for killing Anne Frank for instance, and ask yourself if you can accept the argument that they were just doing their jobs and are thus not culpable. Would it not have been preferable for German citizens to vocally, publically, and harshly criticize the greedy bullies who built German Fascism before it grew and blossomed?”
That’s right, Michigan reporters. If you report anything that the anti-fracking crowd disagrees with, they just might taunt, harass, and compare you to Nazis.
This week, a public hearing on hydraulic fracturing and shale development in Michigan will take place in West Olive, which will include a variety of participants, including folks from the Michigan Oil and Gas Association, Michigan DEQ, and the Committee to Ban Fracking Michigan. The purpose is to bring a variety of stakeholders to the table to discuss an issue of critical importance to Michigan’s future.
Let’s all hope that reporter intimidation won’t be part of this event.