Fox News' evening shows still pushing falsehoods about Gulf oil leak


Fox News' programming on the evening of June 16 was littered with falsehoods about the BP oil leak, including the false claim that the federal government forced BP to drill in deep water and the myth that the Obama administration has refused foreign assistance. In fact, deep-water drilling is tied to the region's oil supply, and foreign aid is being used in the Gulf cleanup.

Fox's tired falsehood: Feds forced BP to drill in deep water

Fox's Napolitano: "The feds decided where [BP's] oil well would be drilled." In the opening monologue of the June 16 edition of Glenn Beck, guest host Andrew Napolitano said that the federal government is "able to tell the oil companies where to drill," later adding that "the feds decided where this oil well would be drilled."

Big Government's Flynn: "The federal government made them drill in water that deep." Later on in the program, Mike Flynn, editor in chief of Andrew Breitbart's, said of the BP oil well location: "The federal government made them drill in water that deep, let's be clear about that."

FACT: Large oil reserves cited as impetus for deep-water drilling

Increase in deep-water drilling actually due to region's large oil reserves. As Media Matters noted, the website of the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) states: "The deepwater portion of Gulf of Mexico has shown a remarkable increase in oil and gas exploration, development and production. In part this is due to the development of new technologies reducing operational costs and risks, as well as the finding of reservoirs with high production wells." A 2004 MMS report -- titled Deep Water: Where the Energy Is -- also stated that "our best source of new domestic energy resources lies in the deep water Gulf of Mexico and other frontier areas." Similarly, a 2008 MMS report stated that "significant proved reserves" have been discovered in the deeper parts of the Gulf of Mexico in recent years.

Fox's tired falsehood: Obama administration turned down foreign assistance in dealing with oil cleanup

Big Government's Flynn: "The federal government has not accepted" international assistance. While discussing the BP oil leak on Glenn Beck, Flynn said: "The Dutch have offered assistance, the British have offered assistance. There's been a lot of international assistance offered. The federal government has not accepted that assistance because of some antiquated law passed in the '20s and '30s from labor unions, the Jones Act. We have denied the use of international ships."

O'Reilly and Morris both say Obama administration turned down foreign help. On The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Dick Morris said, "We didn't get foreign ships in, because he still hasn't waived the stupid Jones Act." O'Reilly subsequently asked, "Why is the president rejecting Holland? Why doesn't he rescind the Jones Act? Why?" Morris responded, "Because he never asked the questions to understand how important it was."

North suggests Jones Act is preventing foreign assistance in the Gulf. On Hannity, Fox News' Oliver North said, "The way this administration has mishandled it, and the way that president has gone on television and lied repeatedly about what he is doing and what he's not doing -- I'll give you a perfect example." North went on to discuss the Jones Act and said, "This administration has yet to waive the Jones Act, because you've got hundreds of hundreds of skimmer ships all over the world that aren't working on solving our problem."

FACT: International assistance is part of Gulf spill response

Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center: "15 foreign-flagged vessels are involved" in response to spill. In an interview on the June 15 edition of Fox & Friends, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs stated that "foreign entities are operating within the Gulf that help us respond" to the oil spill. Further, in a June 15 press release, the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center stated, "Currently, 15 foreign-flagged vessels are involved in the largest response to an oil spill in U.S. history." The center further explained, "No Jones Act waivers have been granted because none of these vessels have required such a waiver to conduct their operations in the Gulf of Mexico."

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