In case you missed it | Fracking unrest

Children at the Boulder County commissioners\' hearing
Photo by Jefferson Dodge

Our favorite moment from the tumultuous Dec. 4 Boulder County commissioners hearing on oil and gas regulations wasn’t the heckling of an Encana official as she left the meeting.

Or even when the commissioners opened the hearing only to be drowned out by the hollers of anti-fracking activists and a well-organized crowd that repeated every phrase they shouted. Like, for 30 minutes.

The commissioners, of course, didn’t like this particular public display, since it didn’t follow their prescribed, fenced-in, three-minute-limit format for public comment, so they just left the hearing room until the hubbub subsided.

Sometimes democracy is uncomfortable for those in power.

No, our favorite was when a group of kids who looked to be between 9 and 12 years old read their own statements, echoed by the crowd, and then walked up to the commissioners’ dais and sat in the commissioners’ chairs.

The audience roared with approval at this symbolic gesture of saying, “Hey, elected officials who are supposed to be representing us! Think about the health of our kids and their future when you make fracking decisions! Or else we’ll put other people in your chairs!”

The kids, some of whom were representing the group Earth Guardians, then led the crowd in a rousing chant of “Ban fracking now!”

Gov. Frackinlooper and his oil and gas buddies better wake up and smell the coffee, because this issue is only going to get more emotionally charged as time goes on.

Power to the people.


Corporate media magnate Rupert Murdoch suffered disgrace in 2011 when it was revealed that reporters at one of his British tabloids had hacked the voicemail accounts of celebrities, veterans and even a 13-year-old murder victim in the pursuit of a juicy story. The scandal led Murdoch to split his media empire in two, and the preliminary results of that process were announced last week.

Basically, there are now two new entities: one smaller company that will retain the name “News Corporation” and will consist of the newspapers and book publishers (Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Harper Collins) owned by the larger parent, and the much bigger Fox Group, which will control Murdoch’s entertainment companies (20th Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting, FX).

According to The New York Times, Murdoch wrote in an email to employees, “Many of you know that a belief in the power of the written word has been in my bones for my entire life. … My personal mission is to serve and satisfy the human need for insight as well as I possibly can.”

“Insight” and “News Corporation” are two concepts that typically go together about as well as “Pope Benedict XVI” and “sex party,” but you get what he’s going for. Humanity is best served when a robust press conveys and simplifies complex ideas for a general audience, all for the betterment of democracy and whatnot. What a bleeding heart.

Now, guess which company Fox News is in?

That’s right, the festering mosquito bite of television journalism is in the entertainment division, not the news one. We guess this is Rupert Murdoch’s cheeky way of saying that if you want anything resembling insight and analysis from one of his companies, look for the Wall Street Journal, not Fox News. Coming off of the network’s astounding inability to predict the outcome of the presidential election, this really should surprise no one but the flag-waving faithful. That must be why the word “accurate” is absent from the channel’s “fair and balanced” motto.

At least we now know that when conservative analyst David Frum said Republicans were lied to by the “conservative entertainment complex,” we can take him literally.