Why I Made Gashoax

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Getty Images

Josh Fox claims to be a documentary filmmaker, but in reality he is a political activist who uses health hoaxes to scare people.

Fox first came to prominence when he released the documentary GasLand. Perhaps the most famous hoax in that film is that Flaming Faucet scene.

It was scary. Fox claimed that fracking had caused people’s water to become flammable – and there was a dramatic scene showing a householder lighting his water on fire.

But what Fox didn’t tell his audience was that problems with methane in the water long predated fracking in the area. Quite simply, natural gas has been leaking up through the ground and into water in America for centuries. There are three towns in the US called Burning Springs and there are stories of native Americans lighting water on fire centuries ago, long before fracking was ever invented. Even worse, Josh Fox has admitted knowing these facts but decided not to tell his audience because HE decided it “wasn’t relevant.”

Thats pretty unacceptable journalism, but then Fox doubled down in a short film The Sky is Pink. In that “documentary” he made the very scary claim that as rates of breast cancer declined in the US, they spiked in just one place – the Barnett Shale in Texas, just as fracking started in the area.

Now that is worrying, very worrying for so many women and their families in Texas and in other fracking areas across the US.

But it turns out there is absolutely no evidence of a rise in breast cancer associated with fracking. It seems that Fox just pulled this story out of the air. He has no evidence, no studies, or even statistics to back the claim up.

The Associated Press investigated the breast cancer claims and found no basis for his scaremongering. They interviewed a slew of experts.

Professor Simon Lee from the University of Texas, David Risser an epidemiologist at the Texas Cancer registry, and Susan G. Koman for the Cure all said that there was no spike in cancer in the Barnett shale. And when the Associated Press confronted Fox with the opinions of the experts, Fox weakly responded that the breast cancer spike had been “widely reported.”

Well it hadn’t  – except when Fox claimed it. But now when his health scare is denounced by every expert in the field, Fox refuses to apologize or even correct the record. He just kept going and produced GasLand 2, which mysteriously didn’t have the dynamite news that fracking caused breast cancer. It seems that after a while even Josh Fox doesn’t believe Josh Fox.

Well, now he has a new short film coming out. Its called Gaswork and it’s going to claim that fracking is injuring, poisoning, and even killing those working in the oil and gas industry.

As usual, the facts tell a completely different story. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, despite the oil and gas boom adding hundreds of thousands of new workers to the industry, there has been no corresponding spike in the proportion of injuries or deaths. The figures go up and down every year but the trend is downwards even as the number of workers goes up. In terms of sick days, you’re more likely to be off work because of sickness if you are a teacher than in the oil and gas industry. The hospitality industry is also more damaging to your health. Even Josh Fox’s sector – the entertainment industry – has a worse employee sickness record.

Josh Fox is a health hoaxer. He scares people to make a political point. He is on record as wanting to end the use of fossil fuels. He has now convinced MSNBC to air his new short film on the All In with Chris Hayes show. Journalists like Mr Hayes need to start asking Fox difficult question such as why hasn’t he corrected the record about his beast cancer hoax, and why should we take him seriously as long as such errors go uncorrected.

It’s the failure of mainstream journalists to ask such difficult questions that has led me to produce GASHOAX. It exposes Fox’s hoaxes and shines a spotlight on his unethical journalism.

Until he corrects the record and apologizes for scaremongering we need to close our ears to Health Hoaxer Josh Fox.

GASHOAX – a short film by Phelim McAleer premieres Exclusively on Breitbart.com on Thursday Oct 1.


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