CBC April Fools?

April 2nd, 2013
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While vacationing in the Lower 48, I’ve made the mistake of occasionally tuning into CBC Radio One on the internet.  Nostalgia? Home-sickness? Stupidity?

So it was that the morning newscast yesterday led off with a story on hydraulic fracking. No surprise, I guess, if it was to recount the latest controversy surrounding this petroleum recovery process.

But no, the story had an informative slant, delivered with almost child-like wonderment by the reporter. Apparently there is this new technology called “multi-stage fracking” that has revolutionized the oil and gas industry! And, added the CBC correspondent, “few people seem to know that much of this process was pioneered in Alberta”. Wow, you could knock me over with a feather.

As it was the morning of April 1st, my first, conspiratorial thought was that this had to be a joke; perhaps a story re-cycled from five years ago? I then waited for the chuckling admission from Mothercorp … which never came. So it was in fact a straight up, real report delivered, as Mr. K would say, “without irony”.

When I realized this, I was rather of two minds about it. The snivelling optimist in me  thought I should be thankful that CBC was running a real news story on fracking, show-casing the industry and actually highlighting Made-in-Alberta technological achievements.

The other side of me was less magnanimous. “Where the hell have they been for the last decade”? I thought. How could they deliver a story like this, apparently ignorant of these monumental industry developments? Well apparently they can and I know precisely where they HAVE been for the last decade. They’ve been reporting all the activists’ protests against fracking (and continue to do so), the “controversy” surrounding the process, interviewing the various Indie filmmakers’ “definitive” works on the subject, and of course reviewing Matt Damon’s take on it. That’s what they’ve been doing.

They haven’t seriously attempted to report facts – like the experience in Pennsylvania which I wrote about in these pages. The fact that not a single instance of groundwater contamination due to fracking has been proven in that state. No, they’ve been content to report, unfiltered, the manifestos of activists and the opinions of celebrities.

So what are we to think about this latest, seemingly fact-based report? Is it a much-belated attempt at corrective action? Past behaviour, forces me to conclude that, no, that’s highly unlikely. It’s more than likely a fortuitous error, or worse, the one fair story they can point to when accused of biased coverage. Call me a cynic, but there it is.

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By John Weissenberger