The following News & Observer lede caught my attention this morning:

State regulators Tuesday issued a long-awaited analysis of fracking, reiterating that the mining method can be done safely in North Carolina, despite overwhelming public opposition to the natural gas extraction technique.

Overwhelming public opposition? Really? Where’s the evidence? One suspects writer John Murawski bases his assertion on the following:

The agency’s report shows that public opinion against fracking is lopsided. More than 450 people and organizations came out against fracking in public hearings, while the number in favor was more than 175.

Surely there’s a better gauge of public opinion than attendance at public hearings. Spend much time attending public meetings — as a News & Observer reporter should know — and you learn that controversial issues almost invariably attract many more critics and opponents than supporters.

Click here, here, and here for evidence that the public response to fracking might not match the picture painted by the latest N&O article.