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Tom Corbett's Sizzle has Fizzled

By       Message Walter Brasch     Permalink
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He didn't have to be the gas industry's cheerleader by claiming there were 240,000 new jobs because the gas industry came to frack the state. The only problem with his numbers is that it is about 10 times more than reality, according to the Keystone Research Center.

With all the cuts to social services, he didn't have to alienate the people by extending a $1.65 billion tax credit to a foreign company, Royal Dutch Shell, which owns or leases almost one million Pennsylvania acres, and is already the world's leading corporation in terms of profits. Corbett may have believed extending that huge tax credit was good business, and would spur job creation and the economy. But, there is another probability for his generosity--one of Corbett's largest campaign contributors is billionaire Terrence Pegula who sold his company to Royal Dutch Shell in 2010 for $4.7 billion.

Tom Corbett could have restored the $2 million that was originally budgeted for public health education and studies of the effects of fracking--but which he cancelled entirely. But, obviously, he didn't think studying the health effects from fracking was worth alienating the oil and gas industry. That would be the same industry that had given him about $1.8 million in campaign contributions.

Yes, there is a lot that Tom Corbett could have done to improve his popularity. But, what he did was to shuffle his top advisors and change his public relations staff, a couple of whom went directly into PR agencies, where they represent the oil and gas industry.

There is a basic principle of PR: Sell the Sizzle Not the Bacon.

In Tom Corbett's case, the sizzle has already fizzled--and the bacon has now shrunk to about 30 percent of what it once was.

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[Walter Brasch's latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, available at  amazon;.com,, and local bookstores.]

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Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of (more...)

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