Reporter Wonders if Matt Damon’s Anti-Fracking Film Will Have Any Effect in Texas

If Hollywood doesn’t like something, then clearly state legislators should react. At least that’s what Dave Fehling, NPR’s StateImpact Texas reporter suggested. StateImpact is a “reporting project of local public media and NPR,” and has many financial backers including George Soros (through his Open Society Foundations).

“Chances may be better this time around that the Texas legislature might actually strengthen regulation of oil and gas drilling by the Texas Railroad Commission,” he wrote on the StateImpact  website that accompanied his radio story aired on Dec. 18, 2012.

Why might Texas decide to increase regulation? Well, according to Fehling,“oil and gas drilling are getting far more public scrutiny. There’s even a Matt Damon movie now bringing attention to the hydraulic fracturing technique … “ Nevermind that the Damon movie he referred to is a fictional drama, not even a documentary. Apparently Fehling thinks it should influence state energy policy.

The movie “Promised Land,” will be released nationwide Jan. 4, 2013. “Promised Land” has had its fair share of problems, however, and has received some less than favorable reviews.

Investigative journalist Phelim McAleer, who has his own fracking documentary set to debut on cable channel AXS TV on Jan. 22, wrote an op-ed for the New York Post on Sept. 25 that outlined the problems during the writing of “Promised Land.” The biggest problem, according to McAleer, was that anti-fracking activists “in courtroom after courtroom” had been convicted of “fraud or misrepresentation.”

He says this caused problems for the original story line, where the oil company was the villain and the anti-fracking activists would save the day – winning over Damon’s character, the oil employee, who would then condemn the company he worked for.

Editor and journalist Holman Jenkins reviewed the upcoming Damon film for The Wall Street Journal on Dec. 12 and was critical saying, “Filmmakers may be ideological numbskulls, but their real problem is often that they are cowards, too afraid of their friends to make an interesting movie.”

Even Variety.com called the movie “dramatically underpowered” and stated that the plot “cheapens the seriousness of the issues at stake.” It really is odd that Fehling would cite “Promised Land,” a movie not even winning over the hearts of reviewers, as the reason the Texas legislature might come move to further regulate fracking in their state.