Gasland the Movie

Apologies for the headline. Sometimes it's just too easy to take the obvious choice.

I've been trying, trying, trying to engage both Josh Fox and the sponsors of the UK screenings of Gasland The Co-op Toxic Fuels campaign so that the UK hears both sides of the story.

It's not that I'm so hard to find. Google UK shale gas and No Hot Air is right up there. But as the Gasland distributors told me, after three e-mails and two phone calls:

Josh has been very busy these last months filming and travelling so we're delighted he's able come to the UK for the Gasland premiere.

Which is fair enough. I'm not bitter. Or paranoid. I understand people are busy and can't drop everything just to speak to me. But as the New York Times noted in their review of Gasland, Josh Fox himself is a little less forgiving and more prone to take offense:

Like a less manic Michael Moore, Mr. Fox capitalizes on people’s refusals to be interviewed, presenting several montages in which he is seen supposedly making repeated, fruitless phone calls to corporate offices. He cleverly inserts in his closing credits a long list of “interviews we were declined,” which includes many chief executives of energy companies as well as Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. It’s an important element, at least in emotional terms, in Mr. Fox’s case, but what we don’t see with any real specificity is how these people were approached or what they were told about the film, leaving it difficult to make judgments about their refusals to appear on camera.

In such a spirit, I couldn't possibly make any judgements on Josh Fox's non- reply to requests for another view.

I do admit disappointment that a uniquely good organisation, representing the best of Britain, the UK Co-Op, is either too busy or too disorganised to reply after ten days of efforts to engage them.

One small part of the Co-op is what they call a Toxic Fuels campaign.  I have no idea if they simply have got the wrong end of the stick about shale gas and confuse it with Alberta's oil sands, or that they are ignoring what US organisations such as the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund see as an imperfect energy source  that nevertheless has great potential to do immediate good through massive carbon cuts at zero or even negative cost.

What concerns me is how even-handed the Co-op report allegedly being published Monday to accompany the film might be. We may see pictures of flaming faucets with no context whatsoever. Anyone who disrupts the narrative will be drawn as polar bear eating Cheneyite stooge. The story, like life, is a bit more nuanced. But with my experience of much of the over-worked under-paid mainstream UK media, I fear that they take the easy route and confuse re-writing PR releases with journalism.

By the way Josh. See you Monday. I've bought the ticket.

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