Based on our study of this class, we all know that media can affect people greatly, then result in people begin to have some specific understanding of things. However, what will happen if people have different aspects in the beginning? What I want to prove is that the media does not just only affect people’s thoughts, but also, they can change people’s understanding of specific things in some situations.
In order to prove this topic, the examples I want to refer to is fracking issues in Colorado and Nevada. The first thing I want to do is try to analyze the history of both Colorado and Nevada and then guess the possible attitudes towards fracking issues. For Nevada, it seems like Spanish colonizers discovered many mines in Nevada including gold, zinc, copper, tungsten, and iron. However, based on the history I got, it is not a state that highly relied on mining. The only one recorded high production of mines is the metal mines during WWI. So, I guess people in Nevada might not support fracking in the beginning. Then, for Colorado, there is a long history of mining and Colorado economic highly relied on the mining industry in the past, such as gold. By the way, that’s why aquifers in Colorado are harmed now. Based on this reason, I believe in the beginning people in Colorado will not oppose fracking.
Now let’s compare the different news towards fracking. I found that after a downturn that began in 2015, oil and gas production is booming again, and new projects are sprouting along American freeways and padding government budgets, cheered by state legislatures, the fossil fuel industry, and the Trump administration. But based on my search of news these years, most of the news in Colorado opposed fracking, but the news in Nevada always think fracking will be valuable. Detailedly, the news in Colorado post lots of videos and articles about protest marches and opposition from experts. In my eyes, one of the most significant issues we should care about is a really basic issue- the health issue. This issue focus on those people who live near the gas and oil wells. Based on what the industry officials said, these wells will not have long-term health impacts related to oil and gas development. However, the Colorado government still deicide to toughen oversight of oil and gas drilling and fracking sites follow their own researches on short-term health impacts-some people reported they get nosebleeds, headaches, breathing trouble, and dizziness — in worst-case scenarios. As a result of policy, people in Colorado care more about fracking issues now. For other examples, there is one report this year about the employee of gas and oil wells. From this report, we can know that even the employee of gas and oil well will care about if we can have clean air. It is not common in other states.
In contrast, the news in Nevada should totally different attitudes. According to the Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources, there were five hydraulically fractured wells in Nevada as of April 10, 2017: three wells in Elko County (in northeastern Nevada), one well in Nye County (in central-southern Nevada), and one well in Eureka County. It’s not a big number, but based on the tendency graph, we can suppose that the number of fracking wells will become more and more at a high speed. Along with the increase of wells, looks like the news in Nevada really supports this industry. From a report of Las-Vegas Review-Journal, it said that fracking wells are safe in at least a few decades. It gave out some data to prove wells will not be detrimental like fracking is an engineering process that has been performed safely on more than 1.2 million wells across the country since 1947, and it can provide jobs to more than 10.3 million people and give out $1.4 trillion in economic impact. We can see the government of Nevada pays more attention to the intended benefits of fracking wells instead of health issues, and I think it is related to the supports from the media to some degree. Perhaps Nevada’s small oil and natural gas industry has been out-of-sight, out-of-mind for too long, so now the government expects its benefits in economics as well. In fact, for this issue, I interviewed my friend in Nevada. In his view, he thinks that the media in Nevada will never pay a lot of attention to environmental issues. Although aquifers of Nevada are really fragile, they still over-use them every year. He also noticed that there are few protest marches or some other protest activities.
Based on the examples I listed above, we can find that both people in Colorado and Nevada has changed a lot. We must admit that different average incomes might be an important factor, but I still think that media plays a significant role here because it changed people’s attitudes and then influence policies to some degree as well. So by these examples, we can prove the power of media and know that media can change people’s thoughts within a short period of time as well.
Colorado to tighten oversight of oil and gas sites near homes in wake of study finding possible short-term health effects. Bruce Finley. https://www.denverpost.com/2019/10/17/colorado-oil-gas-health-risks-study
Opinion: We all breathe the same air. Dan Haley. MAR 9, 2020. https://coloradosun.com/2020/03/09/oil-and-gas-air-pollution-emissions-environment-opinion
In Colorado, a Fracking Boom and a Population Explosion Collide. Julie Turkewitz. May 31, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/31/us/colorado-fracking-debates.html
Fracking For Nevada’s Natural Gas. Nevada Today. November 5, 2019. https://nevada-today.com/fracking-for-nevadas-natural-gas/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20Nevada%20Commission,one%20well%20in%20Eureka%20County.
COMMENTARY: Fracking safely in Nevada for decades. Kathleen Sgamma. December 14, 2019. https://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/commentary-fracking-safely-in-nevada-for-decades-1914703/#:~:text=Concern%20about%20leases%20in%20Southern,leasing%20and%20fracking%20in%20Nevada.