It’s one thing to be an internet troll. It’s another to do it badly. But if you’re an elected official confronted with evidence that you’ve been trolling a constituent, a white-haired grandmother no less, don’t lie about it. On camera. (Video link)
Janice Gibbs is a resident of Washington County, PA, who made some pro-drilling posts under the name of “Proud American” on the internet. Janice is not a landowner and has no particular stake in the game. She just happens to believe that Marcellus Shale development is a good thing for Washington County and Pennsylvania.
That’s where State Rep. Jesse White (D) became involved. In a blog post, he revealed Mrs. Gibbs’ real name and accused her of being on the payroll of a pro-industry group, Energy InDepth. (My employer is a member of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a trade group which sponsors EID.)
But the harassment didn’t stop there. A poster called “Prouder American” called Mrs. Gibbs an “industry troll”. “Harold” called her “dumber than a box of rocks”. “Janice Gibson” called her an “industry mole”.
Investigative reporter Andy Sheehan of Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA became involved. found that “Prouder American”, “Harold” and “Janice Gibson” had all posted from the identical IP address. The same address was used by Rep. White in his outing post.
Further, the same IP address was used by anti-fracking advocates “Victoria Adams”, “Frank Reynolds” and “Cindy McPherson” in attacks on industry and its supporters over the last couple of years.
Questioned by Sheehan, White denied involvement in the anti-gas website GasRootsPA.com, which calls gas supporters “whores” and heaps praise on White. Fine, except that GasRootsPA.com’s registered owner was one Jesse White. “Was”, until one hour after Sheehan’s report, when the registered owner’s name changed to “Tony Stewart”.
“Proud American” also smeared area farmer Don Roessler, a recipient of gas royalties.
Is it so hard for the Luddite anti-drilling, anti-frackers to understand that plenty of people have looked at the facts and decided on their own that the benefits of development outweigh the risks? You can get there in good faith; you don’t have to be an industry shill, or on the take, or have an ulterior motive.
RedState diarist leoknepper beat me to this story. He has an interesting take on it that raises questions about Rep. White’s own motives.