There’s been some argument recently over who is allowed to post on our blog and Facebook page. Our policy has always been to allow posting of opinions opposite from our own and let the facts speak for themselves, but our opponents’ websites and social media don’t seem to operate that way. They are, in fact, making it up – big time.
UPDATE I: Wendy Lynne Lee in a comment below assures us she’s not the culprit who made up remarks to put under my name. We believe her. Therefore, it has to be one of the administrators at Shaleshock Media, which has left the false comments up, refused to post ours challenging them and failed to answer our query regarding their action (we have screen shots of all). Subsequent investigations by Wendy have borne this out. We appreciate her honesty in investigating this matter.
UPDATE II: Shaleshock Media has now acknowledged they replaced Joe’s words and those of his friend with wholly new remarks saying the opposite of what they intended to convey. They say they’re “sorry.” However, they have not removed the false comments, have not put up the correct comments, have refused to approve our other comments on the matter and and have not identified the perpetrator of what they describe as an “unfortunate mistake,” “really bad judgment on someone’s part,” “bad joke” and “prank.” While we appreciate the words, it is actions that speak to real intent and we note the apology came wrapped in a threat. This is the end of the matter are far as we’re concerned, Shaleshock Media having demonstrated clearly what they’re all about. Moreover, we will not be giving Shaleshock Media representatives access to this site while they refuse to do the honorable thing and correct their ways.
Wendy Lee, Bloomsburg professor and natural gas opponent, thought she had received a late Christmas present earlier yesterday when she was somehow inadvertently banned from the EID Marcellus Facebook page for about an hour. Recognizing the potential to set herself up as a martyr for the cause, she went off on an hysterical rant on our site and at Shaleshock Media, accusing us of trying to stifle her outbursts and an assortment of other sordid crimes against humanity. It was classic Wendy, as readers of this blog can appreciate.
The funny thing is this; Wendy had no idea I was, at that very moment, working on a post about the Shaleshock Media website for whom she writes, where administrators did something far worse than not allowing comments for a few minutes. Needless to say, I was more than a little astonished when she went off on her tangent this morning. Read on to see why.
We get asked all of the time why we allow some of the comments from those opposed to natural gas development to appear on our Facebook and website. We’ve discussed several times, amongst ourselves, where the “line” is someone has to cross to be banned, whether permanently or temporarily. We usually leave links in place, for instance, unless the comment is nothing but a link, but we delete long pastings from other pages that could be read in their entirety elsewhere.
We will also delete a comment or part of a comment if it uses vulgar language, and will also delete all or partial comments if they attack another commenter with no substantive point being made. But, all in all, we try to be relaxed in our judgment so as to allow discussion with others of differing opinions. You’ll find virtually everything Wendy has ever sent us published in full, except for long pastings where a link would suffice. We make it point not to edit out anything from such posts, except for obscenities and the like and I don’t recall Wendy descending to that level. We are, to be honest, harsher with some of our supporters.
Many opposition pages simply delete differing opinions as their means of controlling the conversation. Others allow no comments at all. Still others provide no indication of who is actually in charge or doing the moderating of comments. This is why we typically don’t engage our opponents on their websites or Facebook pages although we occasionally make exceptions in the hopes our rebuttals might see the light of day against some outrageous claim by the opposition.
Recently, however, the Shaleshock Media “collective” (see logo above) posted an article about a meeting I attended and used that opportunity to say some things about me and my work that weren’t true and needed correcting. I decided, as a result, to leave a comment in this particular case, not knowing whether it would get published, but I assumed the administrators at least, whoever they are, would see it. What they did do absolutely shocked me and demonstrates the blatant disregard for integrity and truth among Shaleshock Media’s administrators, whoever they may be. Their website never identifies them, but does list a number of participating authors and groups, including these individuals and organizations:
Allegheny Defense Project
Citizens for Clean Water, Susquehanna County, Pa.
Citizens for Healthy Communities
Coalition to Protect New York
Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition (CWCWC)
Enfield Neighbors for Safe Air and Water
Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition of Luzerne County, Pa. (GDAC)
Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County (GDACC)
Gas Free Seneca
New York Residents Opposed to Drilling (NYRAD)
The Responsible Associated Landowners of New York State (REALNYS)
Residents Opposed to Unsafe Shale-gas Extraction (ROUSE)
Shaleshock Action Alliance
What Shaleshock Media did with my comment is a reflection on each and every one of these individuals and organizations. Their moderators replaced my comment with a wholly new message completely opposite to what I said. The comment I left was not even close to what appeared in the comments section of the published page. The only thing the same is literally my name, which they stole to make a comment of their own liking. Luckily, I took a screen shot of both, as you can see below.
What I wrote…
What appeared on Shaleshock…
This isn’t a matter of deciding whether or not to publish opinions counter to one’s own – it’s fabrication, it’s lying and it’s libelous. No doubt some of our readers, and obviously the Shaleshock Media administrators, are of the opinion such tactics are just fine when applied against someone they view as an “industry shill” (their favorite term of ad hominem derision).
Their tactic of intentionally replacing remarks with statements never made was not confined to industry representatives, however. I had sent the article to one of my friends back home. Where I’m from, in the Hudson Valley, the topic is pretty heated and I wanted to demonstrate how groups such as Shaleshock Media twist what we do and spin it in a negative light. I never expected him to comment on the page, but he did, with a pretty benign comment.
Here’s what he said:
But that’s also not what appeared on Shaleshock Media and the administrators had no way of knowing he was a friend of mine. Instead, they chose to publish this:
This is an obviously appalling practice, but I can at least understand what motivated their irresponsible actions in my case. They are always trying to catch us saying something they can use against us, so they fabricated their “proof” to meet their agenda. But, why would they change a complete stranger’s comments? Who else has left a comment and had it changed by Shaleshock Media? How many others didn’t see changes made to their comments or lack the means to call Shaleshock Media out for it? If Shaleshock Media is willing to do this, what else are they making up? The evidence suggests it includes a good deal of what they produce.
Thinking (wrongly as it turned out) the person moderating might be the author of the post, I wrote to Wendy Lee to address the issue of my comments being changed in such a wholesale fashion to be anything but what I had really said. Here is her less than satisfactory response, which is far from the standard she apparently wants to apply to EID:
Interestingly, earlier yesterday, Wendy had said this in response to Tom’s acknowledgement she had been inadvertently banned from our Facebook page for about an hour:
Having some administrative privileges on other websites, I can say with experience that THIS can’t really happen without there being a trail to follow. Perhaps Mr. Shepstone doesn’t want to know who among his staff at EID usurped his authority, but it is unlikely that he could not find out. It’s either that, or Mr. Shepstone doesn’t have the administrative authority he says he does–both make him look incompetent. Someone DID something.
Let’s see if Wendy can live up to her own standards and tell us just who at Shaleshock Media literally put words in my mouth. She says it’s easy, so let’s have the information and have it now. She can no longer say she doesn’t know what I’m talking about, so there is no excuse not to act. [Fairness requires us to acknowledge Wendy subsequently did exactly as we requested and determined someone else at Shaleshock Media, not her, made the edits. She has demanded they address it or she will stop blogging there. We appreciate her honesty, even if disagree with her on just about everything else.]
Also, Wendy, when you read this, please kindly tell your friends at Shaleshock Media to either publish my comments as made, and those of others as they were given, or delete them. It is an administrator’s prerogative to control content, but no one has the right to draft wholly new comments to replace what others have submitted, and no one with an ounce of integrity would operate that way. Let’s see if you, Shaleshock Media and its supporting groups have any.