Appalachian Basin

Corbett’s Corner Hears Victimhood from Natural Gas Opponents

A radio show on WILK 103.1 FM called Corbett’s Corner took calls the other night from natural gas opponents who discussed the movie “Promised Land” and portrayed themselves as victims of the media. 

Driving home the other night  I tuned into Corbett’s Corner where listeners were discussing the new Matt Damon movie Promised Land.  Hosted by the irascible, but highly entertaining, Steve Corbett, the show runs from 3-7 P.M. every weekday, as its host eviscerates one politician after another, regardless of affiliation, and takes on all sorts of issues in sometimes unexpected ways.

Corbett is a fixture in Northeast Pennsylvania.  He allows listeners to call in and discuss things of interest in the local community.  It was no surprise then to hear listeners call in to talk about Promised Land, which is quickly diving into Waterworld territory insofar as box office receipts compared to the pre-release hype is concerned. Having opened to Oscar fanfare, the film has grossed just over $5 million dollars over two weeks and not a single member of the film’s cast garnered a nomination for their appearance in the film.

Promised Land was written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski, who also happen to be the main actors.  The movie offers Hollywood’s view on the natural gas industry, although reportedly the original script targeted the wind industry.   Thus far the film has received  pretty negative reviews across the board, including by well-known Hollywood publications.  Having listened to Steve Corbett’s show, I felt it necessary to address a few points made by folks who called into the show.

The first call came from a woman named Wendy from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.  Listening to her speak for 10 minutes I could only imagine this must have been Wendy Lynn Lee, who we have featured on our blog for her strident anti-development views.

Just judging by the sheer fear and intimidation expressed by the folks on the pro side, especially the folks from some of the hit organizations like Energy In Depth, judging by their fear, it looks like this must be a pretty good movie and its going to tell the story of just how grossly and environmentally damaging fracking is to human life.  (Segment 1 – 1:45)

Wendy always assumes we fear her, her friends and their activities, but it’s hard to fear a movie whose writers repeatedly show they know little about the science behind hydraulic fracturing. The movie is really emotional propaganda funded, in part, by  the royal family of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates who have a pretty significant interest in seeing the United States continue to import oil. Phelim McAleer exposes that questionable funding source in the following video:

Energy In Depth has used Promised Land to draw attention to The Real Promised Land and its worked. For example, the Real Promised Land now has more Facebook “likes” than the movie’s page.  We don’t fear Promised Land – we view it as a an opportunity to educate American’s on the significant benefits natural gas development is providing to communities and middle-class families across the United States.

Wendy somehow believed our “fear” is portrayed through The Real Promised Land, but in reality the site  was created to provide factual information and to connect viewers with individuals who actually live in areas experiencing natural gas development. We thought, quite rightly, that anyone who didn’t like the way Matt Damon and John Krasinski presented the information in the movie might want to hear from real people living in the Marcellus Shale region.  We were correct and that’s why our Facebook page is gaining such traction.

It seems Wendy believes anything put out  by industry is nothing more than propaganda but, in reality this photo on the New Yorkers Against Drilling (NYRAD) Facebook page is more reflective of propaganda than stories from hard-working Americans.  In fact, The Real Promised Land highlights the stories of 8 Pennsylvanian’s who provide their views and experiences regarding natural gas development occurring in their communities.  I don’t know about you, but where I come from we don’t call positive stories from our neighbors propaganda.

Is this what people think shale gas development will look like in New york?

Real propaganda: This is what natural gas opponents want everyone to think it will look like in New York.


Here’s what Steve Corbett, in a refreshing analysis, had to say about on natural gas development, its opponents and some of these tactics:

I have already made it clear with what my position is, as long as you don’t poison the water or air and kill us all in the process I’ll give the gas and oil industry the time and the place to make their case.  They are far better at it than the activists are and there are some real smart bright people dedicated sincere, genuine people who oppose fracking and I’m just real disappointed in the so called movement because I just don’t see a movement.  (Segment 2 – 2:20)

Here is another segment of the show featuring Wendy.  She is always interesting to hear, even though we vigorously disagree.

The next listener to call in was a women named Judy.  Like Wendy, Judy is also an activist.  She called into the show to discuss the media.  She somehow asserts that local media doesn’t cover hydraulic fracturing related issues, as incredible as that seems.

What I see is a buying of the media and what I see is that the people on the ground have become their own media, because the local media will not touch anything related to fracking. (Segment 2 – 0:20)

Like many other natural gas activists, Judy is playing the victim card.  Steve Corbett does a great job explaining how Judy’s comment holds no ground.

Here’s where your opinion falls flat, because I’m in the media.  I am as well known a media voice in Northeast Pennsylvania as anybody, because I have been doing media successfully here for 25 years.  People know who I am, they know me from the newspapers, radio, television and what I find stunning is that we here at WILK radio have a relationship with the gas and oil companies.  They have aired commercials here.  Has that stopped me from having free willing, honest, discussions? No, not even close  (Segment 2 – 1:05).

After hearing this most people would take a second to try understand exactly what Corbett meant, but Judy took this opportunity to pull another victim card from her hand and throw it on the table:

I have been listening for the past three years on and off and I have heard this often and I can’t argue with you on it because its true.  What happens I am not sure, I have heard some people say that when they call they get bashed.  (Segment 2– 2:10).

Huh? Corbett, of course, saw through this argument and  interjected this; “The only bashing I will give you is asking questions.”

The remainder of Judy’s conversation may be heard here and you can catch the beginning here.

It was an interesting radio show, to be sure, and it’s not hard to see why listeners have tuned into Corbett for 25 years.  It also perfectly illustrated the victim mindset of some natural gas opponents.  They are convinced they are victims and, it appears, so shall it always be.  Nevertheless, as Corbett notes, there are sincere skeptics, not out to arbitrarily kill the industry, with whom it is occasionally possible to engage in a combined effort to improve the process.  Expanding on his point, it’s a darned shame we don’t hear more from them and less from these voices of doom.


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