I would have said that a great many Americans in New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and elsewhere are indeed quite aware of the technique and its potential problems. The press has been significant in those locations, and not too shabby on the national level.
I think fracking has received decent attention, at least in print media. The New York Times recently ran a few front-page pieces on fracking and its environmental impacts. That said, I think because fracking is a little more technical than other, more direct sources of pollution, perhaps it gets a little less attention. Also, I’m not sure how extensively it’s been covered on the cable news networks, which (I would imagine) are a primary source of news for many Americans.
I think that it is pretty well known. However, I think that the positive spin that natural gas gets in the media (some well deserved; it is cleaner burning than oil) either discounts what people hear about it or somehow separates the retrieval method from the the product in their minds. If people choose not to recognize it, then it is probably out of frustration because every source of energy has a downside or because it is not relevant enough to their lives in a way that they can see.
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