Fox News’ Brit Hume Denies the size of the Gulf Oil Spill

May 16 2010 Published by under Featured News

Hume keeps selling the oil industry talking points

Fox News is still in full spin mode when it comes to the Gulf oil spill. Since the explosion, the network has been touting the virtues of offshore drilling, while downplaying the damage from the Gulf spill. However, Fox News Sunday’s Brit Hume took it to new low today, when he doubted the size of the spill because the oil has not covered the coast yet. Hume asked, “Where is the oil?”

Here is the video courtesy of Think Progress:

Even though the size of the spill has been confirmed to be larger than the Exxon Valdez, Hume tried to cast doubt on the facts, “Let’s see if that happens. There’s a good question today if you are standing on the Gulf, and that is: Where is the oil?… It’s not on — except for little of chunks of it, you’re not even seeing it on the shore yet.” Using Hume logic, since the oil can’t be seen on the shore then it must not exist.

Hume also repeated the oil industry’s illogical talking point that the ocean will absorb the oil, “You know where the greatest source of oil that seeps into the ocean floor is? It’s from natural seepage from subterranean deposits, that’s where most of it comes from, not from drilling accidents, so what’s badly needed here is some perspective on our energy policies, and also on the hard realities of what really goes on when it comes to oil spills.” Later, Hume made Rush Limbaugh’s argument that ocean can absorb the oil, “The Ocean absorbs a lot.”

A 2002 report by the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Energy Division concluded that the ocean can handle it industry talking point is false, “Natural seeps and spills differ in that seep rates do not, on average, exceed the marine environment’s capacity to digest the oil, whereas spills may exceed its capacity. Major spills overwhelm nature’s mechanisms for processing the oil, in the short term. The consequences include severe oiling of shorelines and mortality to organisms that are ill-prepared to live in an oil-soaked environment.”

With the notable exception of Shep Smith, comments like Hume’s have been the party line at Fox News. The argument is very simplistic. Since we can’t see the oil, then the oil must not be there. This was the same argument used against atoms and molecules by science deniers in centuries past. We can’t see the oxygen, but we know it is there. Just because the oil is underwater does not mean that it is not there.

Hume’s argument is also disingenuous because we can’t see much of the footage of what is going on underwater due to the fact that BP won’t release it. Maybe we could see more of what is happening, if BP was honest, and not worried about criminal or legal liability. Brit Hume and Fox News don’t care about the lives lost or the people and environment impacted by this spill. Their mission is to keep spreading the talking point that offshore drilling is safe, and that this spill in the Gulf is no big deal.

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