You know you’ve got them worried when they can’t stop talking about you: Energy in Depth’s faux-reporting at Schlumberger, 8.11.12

Energy In Depth “reporters” Rachel Colley and Joe Massaro photographed at the Schlumberger Demonstration. Photo by Wendy Lee

Energy in Depth (EID) faux-reporters Rachael Colley and Joe Massaro really only have one teeny-tiny problem with respect to their reporting at the Schlumberger Direct Action, 8.11.12: only the most trivial aspects of their report are actually true. True! There was a protest which assembled at a Park-n-Ride. True! Human beings did attend the action. True! EID dispatched Colley and Massaro to “cover” the day’s events. True! Massaro wore a black T-Shirt with a drinking skull on the back. True! Colley and Massaro are speakers of English (although they could use a Basic Grammar refresher course: “where several out of state vehicles driven helped filled the parking lot”?).

But that’s pretty much where the truth leaves off and EID’s commitment to “truthiness” takes the floor.

To be specific:

1. It’s a sure sign that C&M had few facts at their disposal when, in the very first lines of this woeful “report” they resort to ridicule: “This was like some Back to the Future time machine trip to the 1960′s without the magic or the DeLorean and nothing but the eccentric Doc Brown.” This, of course, is an attempt to discredit the action by (a) comparing it to something we’d presumably all find ludicrous, and (b) making fun of the participants by comparing them to their 1960’s incarnations. But the comparison begs the question by presupposing that the protests of the 1960’s were ludicrous–and this, of course, is not the case. Indeed, many (including those who opposed, for example, the Civil Rights Movement, The Feminist Movement, the Gay Rights Movement, the Anti-War Movement) would certainly beg to differ here. Taking C&M’s remarks at face value, we can only conclude that they’d have opposed the Civil Rights Movements, et. al, and that they’d prefer a time when, say, African Americans couldn’t enter the front door of a restaurant like Frank Maine’s, or women were relegated to jobs a lot less fun than Rachael’s. Unfair? Hardly–If C&M want to compare the protests of the present to those of the past, they’d do themselves a service by getting it clear that THAT past is about far more important things than what’s depicted in Back to the Future, and that the concept of having and exercising a RIGHT is what connects Civil Rights and Environmental Integrity.

2. Frank Maines of the Redwood Inn has every right to believe what he wishes and say so, but he is hardly an objective source as he stands to profit directly from the fracking boom via filled rooms for which he can charge an exorbitant rate. Sad reality check for Mr. Maines: should New York lift its moratorium, and the boom he’s jazzed about now turn, as it will inevitably, to bust–leaving in its wake all of the erosion, blight, and joblessness that he thinks fracking is going to cure, the joke will be on him. Only worse–he will be poisoned by the very water and air he’s willing to see sacrificed for the green-backs sticking out of his fat wallet. Even worse than that: we’ll all be poisoned.

3. C&M claim that because Schlumberger knew of the protest plans and diverted some of their trucks accordingly, that the protester’s discovery of this fact deflated the protest. Moreover, they claim that this diversion away from the main gate was of no consequence to Schlumberger. Both are laughably false:

(a) The notion that the protesters did not know that Schlumberger knew of the action only indicates how genuinely naive are C&M about the orchestration of protests. I have no illusions–and I seriously doubt than any in the anti-fracking movement do–that fracking and fracking associated representatives regularly troll Facebook pages and event sites for information just like this. The event was posted on Facebook. Of COURSE, Schlumberger knew. So, we knew that they knew. Honestly: DUH! This is not only NOT deflating, it is galvanizing because….

(b) Schlumberger DID have to divert truck traffic away from that gate. And this DID cost them money. How do I know? Because they were continuing to load sand trucks in another part of the compound–but they were avoiding the use of roads near the gates. How do I know this cost them money? Because when I drove back on public access roads to survey activity on the enormous Schlumberger compound, I was followed by a company representative who was simply furious that I had discovered the sand trucks idling. He threatened to call the police back to the location where I was taking pictures (pretty silly–the police were already on the compound), and he demanded that I leave. I did. But the pictures speak for themselves. I only wish I could have taken more. C&M’s claim, of course, is that the fact that work was still going on shows that we had no effect at all on the money-making of that day. But were THAT the case, “red truck guy” wouldn’t have been so keen to get me away from the sand-trucks. After all, pictures of what really goes on there every single day would not make the residents of Horseheads, NewYork feel all that safe.

(c) It doesn’t really matter where we had staged the action. The gates, the road, Schlumberger’s corporate offices. We are exposing this corporation for the environmental polluter whose profits are not–contrary to Mr. Maine’s assumptions–destined for “cheap, natural, and abundant,” but in fact for the global market and China, and THAT is the point: “Oilfield services players are actively looking to export the shale gas revolution in the U.S. to foreign markets in Asia and in Latin America. The Chinese government has made shale exploration one of its priority items in its latest five year plans. Shale exploration in the country could boost the rig count in the region as well as the average service intensity at each rig, boosting revenues for companies like Schlumberger

4. While C&M accuse Sandra Steingraber of hyperbole and exaggeration with respect to Steingraber’s comparison of the anti-fracking movement to the Revolution for Independence, they don’t bother to spell out why the comparison is ill-conceived. Again–begging the question–they simply assume that we’ll get the hyperbole. Let me help: Steingraber’s point is that members of the anti-fracking movement are like these brave predecessors in that we are willing to lay down our bodies (not to mention our time, money, and labor) to protect our water, air, and soil from the well-established consequences of an industry whose commitment is not to the improvement of the human condition but to maximizing profits.

In short: we are at war against what can only be called genocidal profiteering–genocidal because the industry KNOWS the consequences of the fracking process and all of its attendant infrastructure; profiteering because corporations like Schlumberger are willing to go to any lengths (including, it must be noted, unvarnished bribery to lull us into complacency about their real objectives and generate good–contract generating–PR) to acheive this goal–just like their predecessor in a long and hoary history of extraction. To point out that Steingraber uses natural gas is, of course, just more personal attack (ad hominem) which completely ignore the substantial differences between vertical wells and fracking–but I’ll leave this to another day.

5. I was at the Bloomsburg University action where Tom Shepstone made the argument that fracking was good for water because baseline testing exposed problems that might have otherwise gone undetected. Indeed, I helped organize that action for the last night of the Green Campus Initiative’s week of panels and discussion opportunities on fracking. Shepstone’s argument is absurd:

(a) THAT heretofore undetected pollutants might be revealed through baseline testing only verifies a history of egregious dumping into our rivers and streams from the same industries who’d bamboozle us now via the very same rhetoric we heard from their predecessors in the extraction rackets. Such arguments aim at nothing more than the same manipulations and extortions of that ugly coal-burning, petro-polluting legacy.

(b) Of what benefit is it to us that a problem with a well might be exposed if its integrity will NOW be jeopardized by fracking? here’s what Shepstone is REALLY saying: Hey! let’s find out if your well (creek, tributary, stream, river) has any pollutant problems. Then, Hey! Why don’t YOU pay to fix that, and then Hey! Let’s frack, say 300 ft. over there, and see what happens? We know what happens, Tom. Here’s just a tiny-tiny sample.

6. As for C&M’s personal attack on me: HAHAHAHAHA! I’d rather be riding on the back of a high-horse raging chicken than in an emergency room or cancer ward diagnosed with a fracking-chemical-exposure disease treatment for which I can give no informed consent because my state’s (Pennsylvania, INC) Act 13 prevents my doctor from revealing to me the chemical cocktail to which I was exposed. All mirth aside, however, you know you’re accomplishing something when your opponent has to go after you by name. Sorry, C&M, for the giggling.

7. Lastly, about Schlumberger’s public statement:

(a) the appeal to a worry about the safety of their employees is poppycock. If Schlumberger were concerned for the employee’s health and safety, they wouldn’t be involved in the fracking industry at all. Indeed, if Schlumberger were concerned with anything other than their profit margins and their new spiffy deal with China, they’d do a 180 degree turn and aim to restructure their entire enterprise around renewables. They have the ability and the resources to do exactly that. But they won’t. Not while they can fool a public into thinking that poisoning them is good for them because it keeps mom and dad working–at least until they get that diagnosis of, say, pancreatic cancer or, say, something neurologically nasty caused by the constant exposure to chemical-laced dust. Or their kid gets asthma.

(b) Schlumberger didn’t engage with the protesters because it makes them look precisely like the genocidal profiteers they are. They can’t win on any honest scientific assessment of the facts, so they evade any possibility that they might be made to face them. We’re bad advertising–it’s just that simple.

(c) Schlumberger is lying about the effects on its work detail that Saturday. See #3.

So there you have it. It must be hard to be Colley, Massaro, and Shepstone. Thank the gods their making good money. These are the paid shills who you can imagine defending, say, Union Carbide, after the horrific Bhopal disaster that took the lives of 3,787 human beings (not to mention countless nonhuman animal lives)

Colley: Those Indian families that lost their little ones to this unfortunate “incident” should just be glad they had jobs!

Massaro: Yes! Think of the jobs!

Shepstone: Yes! Think of the jobs! AND had it not been for the “incident” the residents of Bhopal might not have known about how pesticides can hurt you! Now they know! They should be thanking Union Carbide!

Colley: Yes!

Massaro: Yes! AND look at how much Union Carbide cares about the safety of their workers!

No doubt, C&M (and Shepstone) would be horrified by this comparison–not to mention my little satire here. But they’ve no right to be. They propagandize for an industry that has the potential to cause the next Bhopal. They earn a living propagandizing for an industry that–behind the cloak of jobs–is poisoning our water and air. How–other than that with EID’s help the frackers can do a better job of concealing this slow-burning catastrophe– is it different? Is it unfair to compare Schlumberger (et. al.) to Union Carbide? Nope:

Click to access BVW_08_16_09.pdf

YouTube player

And that’s just a taste of what’s coming. Multiply Schlumberger with Chesapeake, Cabot, Aqua America, Chief, Halliburton, Exxon, BP…..

Back to the Future? Not if we don’t act to save ourselves and our children in the present.

For photographs, please see:


Wendy Lynne Lee


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21 Comments on You know you’ve got them worried when they can’t stop talking about you: Energy in Depth’s faux-reporting at Schlumberger, 8.11.12

  1. The only thing more ironic than Wendy Lee writing an attack blog about how, if you write attack blogs, you are validating your subject matter, is the fact that it took her longer to write than the protest lasted.


    Amazing to me that your kick starter fund bar isn’t flying off the charts. No substance, just washed up hippies desperately trying to stay relevant. And failing.

    • Mr Knapp is trying to make a very valid point. The Raging Chicken Press does not need money, especially industry funded money, to get our information and stories out to our “readers” like they do at EID.

      Mr Knapp thinks he is the face of journalism. Making attacks on people he does not agree with while he is on his “sugar-daddy’s” – Tom Shepstone’s – payroll. Oh, and calling someone a “hippie” because you don’t agree with them is so 1968…

      • I’m not attacking. Honestly, I think you guys are adorable. It’s like watching a hapless reality show. Very entertaining. Frack the phone lines? ROFL.

        • Mr Knapp shows his character with his posts, no substance just ad hominem attacks just like the propaganda firm Energy in depth.

          This quote sums up everything about Mr Knapp “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
          – Upton Sinclair

          EID is a public relations company, not an ethical one. it refuses to follow the ethnics guidelines of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)

          • Hi Dave M–that Upton Sinclair quote is a gem. Thank you for sharing it. And WOW! I did not know about this refusal. Of COURSE, they’d have to refuse. They could not possibly do what they do and follow these ethical guidelines. But I just assumed they wantonly violated them…..this is so much better!

    • Great job Wendy. Mike, you must have an investment in fraking, or you are just blind to the facts. Wendy’s article not only validates the facts, but it validates the protest, and all those that come through many states, including those in Texas who are crying out for us to stop the madness, as they are experiencing more and more tremors from the same industry. Someone like you we can ignore. Did you by any chance see the refinery that blew up in California, over 1000 people having to seek medical attention. Guess not.

          • Driving an ambulance involves fossil fuels as well. Does that mean that everyone who dies in the back of an ambulance is a result of fossil fuels? You do realize that Schlumberger spends alot of money on R&D for alternative energy solutions.

            It would be much better if you channel all that blame and frustration into working towards a solution to the energy problems rather than play the blame game. Currently we need fossil fuels to meet our energy needs. Companies like schlumberger help provide these energy sources while using profits to work on developing better solutions to our energy needs. That is a whole lot more beneficial to the the world than protesting without a solution.

  2. HI Mike! Wow! It really doesn’t take you very long. A couple of quick points:

    You are flatly wrong about the length of the protest–apparently you’ve bought the Colley/Massaro bull-hockey. The protest lasted the better part of that Saturday. You’re also wrong about the substance of my piece. C&M’s is an attack piece. It appeals to an array of fallacies utilized as rhetorical tricks, faux arguments, and theatrics to appear legitimate when it’s really just a pastiche of ad hominem, ridicule, straw fallacy, and LOADS of question-begging. Mine, on the other hand, patiently dismantles their claims appealing not to fallacious faux-reasoning, but to facts, evidence, and logic. That takes time. They’re lucky, in fact, to have the instruction.

    And now for a little theatrics of my own: that EID shills for the gas and gets loads of industry moola to do it simply makes it a whore….not to be too PC about it.

    Raging Chicken, on the other hand, gets to stand by her conscience. Free from the necessity to thump a propaganda line, I–unlike you and your comrades–can say precisely what I think. I–unlike you–am not being paid in any other currency than the satisfaction that I have the evidence on my side. Quite enough, thank you.

  3. The better part of a day? Impressive! Watching the new Batman movie takes the better part of a Saturday.

    I’m sure that a few more afternoons beating on bongo drums in Schlumbergers front yard and fracking phone lines will bring the gas industry to their knees, and you’ll be the subject of the next great Don McLean song…

    But if that doesn’t work out, you can always teach a class on Humility up at Waynesburg. Now THAT would be some entertaining stuff.

  4. Baseless ridicule….it’s really just all you’ve got, isn’t it, buddy? How ’bout something a little smarter? Look at the YouTube I included here. How do YOU account for the pollutants, the damage, and the safety hazard of that? Ok with you for that to happen next to your kids daycare?

    • Unsurprisingly, all you can offer is another boring, played out false dichotomy.

      The pollutants from that small fire were probably less than that of the gasoline your group burned to and from your protest. How do you account for that?

      • Easy peasy, Mike. The only reason I am not driving a fully solar-powered electric car is because folks like you work so tirelessly to make sure that all of all of our choices involve a fossil fuel–so folks like YOU can make money. Take away THAT, Mr. Knapp, and I seriously doubt you’d be calling your opponents “adorable.”

        Imagine that future, Mike–a kind of back to the future, if you will, where we’ve exhausted fossil fuels, contaminated our water and air so significantly that we’re vulnerable to all manner of disease–well those of us not killed off by the clean water wars. Some nations will have taken the reigns and rebuilt their social and economic infrastructure around the renewables that actually aim at improving the human condition. Others, like our own, will continue to do the bidding of corporations whose only objectives are profits and the outsourcing of risk to any other than themselves. The latter and their representatives–just like you–wrap themselves in the patriotic delusion that somehow this addiction to fossil fuels offers us energy independence when in fact our increasingly desperate dependence (and that what our willingness to frack–and destroy our air and water) demonstrates only that America is a subsidiary of, say, Exxon, Shell…Contrary to the “good American” rhetoric of energy security, we are in fact making ourselves targets of other nations who are not fossil-fuel junkies. And those who–like yourself–continue to appeal to patriotic slogans and alleged duties to defend this addiction are, in the end, patriots only of the corporations that pad your wallets, undermining the very national security you so thoroughly exploit.

        Let’s clarify the source of all of your claims: it’s not adorable–but it does involve adoration–MONEY: In your own words: “We ARE Western Pennsylvania,” (IF Western Pennsylvania is one humongous fracking operation) “if you hear us talking about Cleveland you should probably cover your children’s ears,” (Why is THAT Mr. Knapp?), “the companies we work with are committed to respecting your property and your neighbors, and leaving as light of a footprint as possible” (So long as you don’t get in the way of our transmission lines, trucks and trucking roads, drill sites, compressor stations, water impoundments or withdrawals, and god forbid, so long as you don’t live in a mobile home park).

        Just so everyone here is clear: Mike Knapp in a LANDMAN. He makes HIS money getting YOU to sign over your land to the frackers. He’s the guy who suckers you into a lease, gets his money out, and then leaves you to whatever destruction, property loss, water contamination, and tanked property values you’re about to experience. Mike Knapp is THAT guy. He is the guy who gets you under the big revival tent with BIG promises about how what he’s got in that little bottle is going to cure whatever ails you. You buy it because, after all, you might have something that ails you (like a recession, say). Then he packs up his bag of tricks and scadaddles–leaving you sicker than ever (maybe you’ll feel good for awhile–placeboes and a little cash-in-hand have that effect)..and really more sick, because now you’ve swallowed a bitter pill called “frack-poison.” And you get to wonder how long THAT’s gonna take to kill you.

        Yup. Mike Knapp is the snake-oil salesman of the fracking industry. And because he knows he’s got not one iota of moral authority, he has to try to squash the folks who see right through the his disguise as just a neighbor “who can talk for an hour on the virtues of putting ‘slaw and fries on a sandwich.”

        I’ll bet you can, Mr. Knapp. I’ll bet you can.

        • Really Wendy? You can’t go buy some solar panels for your house to charge you Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt? In Pennsylvania, we can pick who our electricity provider is, and there are several companies that derive most of all of their power from wind energy.


          I was born and raised in Armstrong County. The only place we lease is Armstrong County and surrounding counties. 90% of the wells we’ve drilled are within a 10 mile radius of our office.

          Not ONE of our landowners has every complained of being “suckered”. They all very much enjoy their royalty checks, the free gas to heat their homes, and the full use of their properties after the site has been reclaimed.


          One more strike and you’re out. Better keep your eye on the ball!

          • Reclamation? HAHAHAHAHA…No, really: HAHAHA! That’s like claiming that cosmetic surgery can really make you younger. Ask Joan Rivers. Or better, ask your oncologist.

            I have work to do, Mr. Knapp….courses to plan, students to educate, scholarly work to attend to. But please make sure to come back to read the next installment in my series on fracking: L’eau DeBenedictis: Water Security, PA’s Department of Environmental Paralysis, Non-Disclosure Extortion, and Pennsylvania’s Unconstitutional Act 13.

            I’m sure you’ll love it.

  5. I was there last Saturday – an amazing action against the industry! The powerful are gettin’ nervous!

    Massaro and Colley are basically dipshits who get paid by criminals to take pictures, period.

    • Hi Donald–well, god knows they’re not getting paid for their journalistic integrity. I know they’re getting nervous–or they wouldn’t go to all the trouble to follow us around like they do. We not only cost the industry money–but they’re paid hit-folks as well. Sorry I missed you in Watkin’s Glen–but next time!

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