Film Festival Censors Science: Should We Care?

The Frozen River Film Fest in Winona, Minnesota, has canceled a scheduled showing of FrackNation, a pro-fracking documentary. The cancellation, which the festival organizers concede is an instance of viewpoint-based censorship, has gotten some publicity:

The documentary, FrackNation, was scheduled to be shown alongside Gasland Part 2, a factually suspect film attacking hydraulic fracturing as environmentally destructive.

The showing of the anti-fracking film is, of course, going forward.

“We definitely had a lot of discussions about it with our board, with some people in our community wanting to see FrackNation, other people wanting to see Gasland Part II,” said Kathy Florin, assistant director of the Frozen River Film Festival.

However, festival organizers announced on Friday that its FrackNation screening had been cancelled.

They cited allegations that FrackNation’s creators have ties to the oil and gas industry [Ed.: Untrue] and said they had reneged on an agreement to speak at the screening, which the filmmakers say is also untrue.

It was with regret that the festival’s organizers censored a point of view they didn’t agree with:

Mike Kennedy, chairman of the festival’s board, told the Winona Daily News that he “doesn’t want to be a censor.”

“We really had to search our soul,” Kennedy said. “We’ve never cancelled a film.”

But, hey, desperate times call for desperate measures!

According to the Daily News, the decision to cancel the screening came after “some … questioned whether the filmmakers have ties to the fracking industry.” It did not specify who, exactly, had questioned those ties.

“Mostly local industry people who were interested in making money on the fracking business were wanting to show” FrackNation, said Kennedy, who admits he is personally opposed to hydraulic fracturing.


These self-described censors deserve whatever opprobrium comes their way. But let’s lump them together with a thousand similar instances of institutionalized dim-witted leftism: don’t they collectively illustrate the Arab proverb, “The dogs bark, but the caravan passes by”? No one ever imagined that “independent” film festivals are anything other than left-leaning; however, a few goofy liberals in rural Minnesota aren’t going to stop the explosion in oil and gas production that may be the only thing standing between Barack Obama and the pitchforks.

This is not to deny that the Left’s control over the media (not to mention academia and the entertainment industries) is of great consequence. On the contrary, as I have written before, I don’t think we can even imagine what the United States would be like if we had a free, non-partisan (or bipartisan) press. It is merely to observe that not every liberal effort to suppress free speech is successful, or important.


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