Monday, December 10, 2012

My response to State Impact (PA NPR) puff-piece about a local restaurant in Montrose

In case it gets deleted, here is my response to the State Impact story:

I thought advertisements were prohibited from NPR?
Because that's what this seems like to me.

Susan Phillps piece here is a pro-business feel-good piece,
and being shy on a lot of facts, not really up to the standard
of investigative journalism. Is that what it's supposed to be?

It seems more like PR for the gas industry,
and an advertisement for some local businesses.

"Look! The gas industry is good for the local restaurant business!
Where both sides meet and have civil discussions over good food..."
Civil discourse? While people's water wells are being destroyed?

I am sensitive to the needs of the business owners mentioned,
Kimberly Glemboski has a restaurant to run. Pete Comly,
John Winans and Morgan Kelly are just trying to make a living.

I understand that. Yet, I think it is possible to be sensitive to these people,
and still report the facts.

So first question is this: Since we are talking about a local
farmer supplying meat to restaurants, and a local brewery
supplying beer, why was there no question about whether
Mr. Comly's farm or the brewery in Franklin Forks have had
their water tested? Are they not considered public water supplies,
since they are supplying food? And what are the results?

I have seen water tests which show that several private water
wells, including that of Heavenly Angels restaurant in Franklin Forks
are contaminated with Methane, Barium, Arsenic, and other heavy metals.

Is it safe to make beer from contaminated water?
What about chickens who drink contaminated water, does that end
up in the meat? Or is their proof the water is safe to drink?
And if so, was most of the test results withheld under
"Suite Code 942"?

(This is the scandal which was uncovered by Rep. Jesse White,
who deposed PA DEP employes who revealed that while
water tests were made for 24 metals, only 8 were being reported
to affected people, while claiming "your water is fine". Has
State Impact reported on this?)

This should have had some discussion IF this
is supposed to be journalism and not public relations.

Next, you mention that "both sides are present" at the restaurant.
So why is it only the guy from Dimock Proud/Enough is Enough,
Bill Aileo, gets any mic time? What about the other side?

The larger issue here is a broad indictment of PBS / NPR,
which will many conservatives label as being "too liberal"
yet in reality, it is nearly completely pro-business. Anyone
advocating for labor, the environment, or peace (as opposed to war)
either never gets on the air, or their time is cut by half to
present "the other side".

Meanwhile, independent local, community producers are
banned from the airwaves. This makes the term "public broadcasting"

And when puff pieces like this displace the reporting of real
facts of water contamination, which represents a public health
emergency in Susquehanna County PA and other places where
drilling is occurring, I would almost consider this to be a criminal
theft of which should be a public resource, the broadcast airwaves.

Bill Huston,
Binghamton NY
independent producer for Shaleshock Media

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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