'FrackNation' Film To Premiere On AXS TV In January

Less than a week after Great Britain lifted its ban on hydraulic fracturing, there is more news that will make fracking opponents unhappy. AXS television, formerly HDNet, has agreed to air the film “FrackNation” next month.

“FrackNation,” a film by investigative journalist Phelim McAleer, will be broadcast on Jan. 22, 2012 at 9 p.m. ET according to The Hollywood Reporter. AXS TV is a cable network owned by Mark Cuban, Ryan Seacrest and entertainment companies AEG and CAA.

In a press release, McAleer said of the film, “FrackNation has been described as the first 'pro-fracking film.' I would describe it as pro-journalism and pro-truth. It asks hard questions of the environmental movement and its campaigns. And they seem to not like difficult questions.”

In the film, McAleer travels across the U.S. and interviews people on both sides of the fracking issue, including farmers who have leased their property for natural gas drilling and say it is safe, as well as others who want to lease their lands, but cannot due to bans on the practice. He also scrutinizes claims made by Josh Fox, the anti-fracking filmmaker of Gasland.

The new documentary film was funded through Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website, and was co-directed by McAleer, his wife Ann McElhinney and their colleague Magdalena Segieda. “FrackNation’s” debut will come just a couple weeks after the anti-fracking drama “Promised Land” starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski hits movie theaters nationwide.

The timing is intentional and meant to urge debate following "Promised Land's" release, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Cuban said "Of course the timing is relevant."

“Promised Land” will merely be the newest entertainment media attempt to demonize the practice of fracking, following episodes of TV programs like “Rizzoli & Isles.” The U.S. news media, when they talk about fracking also often portray it negatively. The New York Times ran an entire series of misleading reports in 2011 about fracking and continued to attack the process, even after the paper’s ombudsman criticized the Times’ coverage.

McAleer has made two previous documentaries, Not Evil Just Wrong and Mine Your Own Business.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.