There’s a delicious moment in the first episode of the newly launched podcast, Science Vs, when host Wendy Zukerman gets representatives of Seneca Resources to acknowledge that their fracking chemicals have contaminated water. “I don’t think we could find a documented case of that,” one tells her. Then Zukerman pulls out letters from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to Seneca showing just that.
It’s all the more delicious because she keeps the tape going and allows the company representatives to provide a bit of nuance. They tell her this contamination happened because of a spill on the surface, not because of the underground injection. Zukerman doesn’t discriminate in her choice of targets: She calls out the half-truths of the anti-fracking activists just as mercilessly and gives them a chance to explain themselves.
I thought I knew the score on fracking, yet I still learned a lot from the piece and promptly subscribed. Zukerman promises that there are episodes on organic food and pesticides to come, which I eagerly await.
A journalist who started this show in Australia, Zukerman skewers hypocrisy and overstatement wherever she finds it. She does an admirable job of brushing away all attempts at diversion and zeroing in on tangible evidence. And she seems to be having a lot of fun. It’s glorious, and just the sort of empiricism-based news that we need to understand how the world works. If that sounds compelling to you, too, check it out here.
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