Texas publications are aggressively covering Chesapeake Energy's development of the Barnett shale, partly because drilling in incorporated cities is a little harder to ignore than drilling in the hinterlands.
Chesapeake, as you may know, is headed by Aubrey McClendon, one of the major Swift Boat financiers, and you can get an idea of his cynical view of media manipulation in this article. They haven't moved beyond the blanket infomercial stage here yet, but Texas has seen more media massaging.
In the wake of Chesapeake's infomercial comes Shale TV, a daily talk show about the Barnett Shale set to air this fall. The company has hired three award-winning Dallas broadcast journalists to produce the show.
Julie Wilson, Chesapeake vice president for corporate development, says she understands there's skepticism about the objectivity of Shale TV, but she insists it's no different than the rest of corporate media.
"Well, I think we pay those journalists — whether on Channel 8 or Channel 11 or the Star-Telegram — in terms of advertising support," Wilson says. "We see this as pretty much instead of running the ads on the program, we're just writing the check direct."