Fox News host Sean Hannity promoted a new documentary on his show, suggesting it backs up his own views on energy. However, the film, Pump, calls for an end to America's “oil addiction,” and makes several points that Hannity often fails to account for when pushing for more drilling.
On the September 18 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity promoted the new documentary Pump to call more drilling in the United States. He interviewed the film's producer Yossie Hollander and John Hofmeister -- former C.E.O. of Shell and current director of several oil and gas companies -- to discuss alternatives to oil that can be produced domestically. Hannity implied throughout the segment that their goals were in line, concluding by asking: “How many problems would we solve by doing what you guys are advocating? And what I'm advocating?”
But the message that Pump is trying to communicate is far different from Hannity's strong support for oil, according to reviews and clips from the film itself. Here are three things Hannity could learn if he watched the documentary Pump:
1: The U.S. Needs To Break Its Addiction To Oil
Hannity frequently touts domestic oil extraction and oil pipelines as ways to achieve energy independence. During the show, he asked his guests: “If we were to use our energy resources here at home, oil, gas, coal, all of these things, how long can we be independent?” to which Hofmeister responded, “We'd see ourselves through the century.”
Yet on the film's website, a somewhat contradictory quote from Hofmeister is splayed on the homepage:
Hannity showed part of the trailer on his show, but cut it off right before the narrator stated: “Until we have a moment of truth with ourselves, this country is destined to not only be addicted to oil but addicted to all the terrible trappings that come with oil.”
2: Oil Alternatives Need To Become More Accessible
Pump calls for more alternatives to replace oil, focusing on biofuels as an “interim fix” until electric vehicles are more commercially viable, according to The New York Times:
Electric cars offer a distant solution, but “Pump” suggests that biofuels can provide an interim fix. The movie showcases an apparent success story with ethanol sales in Brazil; it turns hands-on with instructions on how to hack your car to make it run on different types of fuel. The owners of an independent gas station promote the benefits of providing consumers with a choice.
The film explains how it is possible to upgrade most vehicles to “flex-fuel,” where they could run on a gasoline blended with up to 85 percent ethanol, but that the refueling stations for this type of fuel are limited, with only about six percent of all fueling stations in America providing alternative fuel.
Hannity previously launched an attack on renewable fuels, blaming them for raising food prices and causing food shortages. However, the World Bank has determined that crude oil prices are far more influential for driving up the price of food due to increased transportation costs. A 2014 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office further found that food prices would “be about the same” whether the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires that a certain amount of various renewable fuels be included in the transportation supply, were continued or repealed.
3: Oil Giants Have Too Much Control
The film, which addresses the oil industry's “current monopoly today,” explores the industry's dubious history working to eliminate competition, gain direct and indirect government subsidies, and make oil the nation's dominant fuel. From the Los Angeles Times:
The film paints a portrait of how oil came to dominance: John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil monopoly in the 1880s; his role in the 1920s' Prohibition after Henry Ford touted alcohol as the fuel of the future; Standard Oil, Mack Trucks, Firestone Tire, Phillips Petroleum and General Motors all contributing to dismantling of the nationwide streetcar system in the 1930s; and the 1950s construction of the interstate highway system.
According to a review from Hybrid Cars, the movie shows how “holdbacks to now-ready alternative fuels... have been deliberately suppressed by monied interests from the very beginnning [sic].”
The oil industry continues to have a hand in holding down fuel alternatives today. According to the film, two-thirds of gas stations don't have the ability to offer the option of alternative fuels to customers because of franchise agreements with oil companies. And this is unlikely to change as long as so many in the U.S. legislature -- and the media -- are “beholden to the oil industry.”