Phelim McAleer made the rounds in DC this week to promote his documentary FrackNation – which airs next Tuesday on AXS television. The North Ireland native noted several times that what was intended to be a documentary showing the truth about natural gas extraction methods ended up being as much a commentary on the media.
An exchange during one of McAleer’s presentations especially stood out. A conservative blogger noted that the New York Times closed its green desk, and asked if that counted as a victory against media bias. “Did we win this debate?” McAleer countered that what can best be termed environmentalist ideology permeates reporting.
“Everything is green,” he said. “Why do you need a green desk?”
Strong point. Just as getting labeled “the conservative version of _____” (or “the liberal version of _____”) promises failure, having a desk specifically designated for covering a certain issue or movement sequesters that coverage. Given the Times’s political leanings, having a green desk was probably a waste of a desk in the first place.
And while documentaries tend to be dry, the teasers suggest that if you’re into this type of thing, it might be fun to watch. When talking about political documentaries, this is usually the point where I play the wet blanket and say that explicitly fictional stories can be more effective long term in shaping opinions. But since that hasn’t worked so well for the other side of the fracking debate, perhaps I ought to shut up…