Why Some Media Organizations Are Fractivist Sympathizers

Constitution Pipeline - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


A recent editorial in the Scranton Times explains why so many media organizations are so sympathetic to fractivism; they’re gentry class NIMBYs themselves.

Our regular commenter, Karen Orlando, has, for many months, like a voice in the wilderness of New York City, been articulating perhaps the greatest problem facing those of us who believe in natural gas. It is the gigantic failure of media organizations to cover what’s really behind most of fractivism or even relate the most salient facts. Here’s some of what she offered recently:

Without incompetent media and the politicians, the [fractivist] movement would have been a failure years ago…

While many people [have] talked about echochambers, media bias and people living in bubbles, I never would have believed it would be impossible to get the … press to cover what is happening with this movement and tell the truth about it. Unfortunately. I have found that one cannot get reporters to use facts in their reporting [or] make corrections … It’s a sad say for the country indeed. The press can no longer discern what reality and facts are.

There are many explanations for this, of course. Reporters have political views and most of them run in one direction. Journalism teach more activism than writing these days. Rabble-rousing always makes a great story. There is another reason, though, and I suspect it is one of the most powerful; media organizations are typically owned by a gentry class opposed to development anywhere near their favorite second-homes and vacation areas.

media organizationsThe fact newspaper titans tend to be wealthy elitists with politically correct views and a desire to protect their fellow members of the gentry class is hardly a fresh insight or new observation. The owners of the Washington Post and New York Times were, in their heyday, as blue blood as you could get and, even today, the former is owned by one of the world’s richest individuals, Jeff Bezos, and the Sulzberger family that owns the Times is the definition of snootiness, which is why it attracts others of snooty views.

Gentry or ruling class owned media organizations aren’t limited to these giants. There’s also the Scranton Times, which is owns numerous media outlets in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It is owned by the Lynett and Haggerty families of Scranton and last Sunday they published the editorial displayed to the right in support of a DRBC fracking ban. It was both illogical and condescending and I’ve seldom seen other locals so upset with the paper.

They are upset because the paper, which is the voice of the Lynett and Haggerty families, admitted “widespread drilling in the much larger, 27,486 square mile watershed” under the Susquehanna River Basin Commission’s jurisdiction “has not adversely affected water quality” and, yet, opined that fracking should be banned in the Delaware basin. They dismissed Wayne County landowners as if they didn’t matter because the gas involved wouldn’t be that important to the market.

They cited the phony 15 million people argument (most of those depend on water upstream from prospective drilling locations) and acted as if local people were mere “collateral damage,” to use Park Foundation reasoning (which now spends the wealth generated by other gentry class media organizations). It was as if mere speculation of harm to New Yorkers running contrary to the evidence was enough to dispense with the livelihoods of locals who actually buy and read the Scranton Times.

What accounts for this cavalier attitude on the part of the Scranton Times owners? Well, the Lynett and Haggerty families own expensive second homes on Elk Lake in Wayne County just  a few miles from and in the same township as one of the first exploratory gas well drilled in Wayne County. Here are overviews from Google Earth:

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Lynett & Haggerty second homes on Elk Lake, Wayne County (Google Earth)

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Lynett & Haggerty second homes on Elk Lake, Wayne County (close-up via Google Earth)

The two families have roughly 18 acres of land on Elk Lake, assessed at approximately $1.5 million in value and the addresses on all three parcels are 149 Penn Avenue, Scranton. Google that and you get this:

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It’s strange to see a corporate address cited on a personal tax bill, but that’s what you get. The owners of the Scranton Times, who suppose Wayne County landowners living in pastoral poverty shouldn’t be able to sell their gas, opine thus as NIMBYs from their $1.5 million gentry class perch on Elk Lake. Yet again, we see how these folks think; they want wilderness around their own homes and are content to sacrifice their neighbors’ livelihoods to get it. It’s no different than the Rockefeller, the Park, the Heinz and the Haas families.

The Lynett and Haggerty families surely don’t rise to those blue blood heights, but they’re part of the same gentry class, which always protects its own first. They might proclaim themselves champions of the poor when editorializing on other issues but when it comes right down to it, they know who they really are. They don’t want anything happening that might interfere with their wilderness vision for their expensive vacation property. That’s why they’re fractivist sympathizers.


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