Earlier today, Media Matters posted an item about Newt Gingrich spreading falsehoods on the social networking website Twitter. The former Speaker, responding to an observation by his wife Callista, falsely claimed that there had been "no [oil] spill since 1969" in waters off the Santa Barbara coast in California:
In a Twitter post, Newt Gingrich falsely claimed that there have been no oil spills in the waters off Santa Barbara since 1969. In fact, there were at least two oil spills reported in or near the Santa Barbara Channel in just the last few months, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Well, it looks like Gingrich didn't like being called out for his Twittery falsehood. Steve Everley, a research assistant over at the American Enterprise Institute has a post up on Newt's American Solutions blog defending the former Speaker.
Everley suggests in his response that Media Matters misrepresented what the Associated Press reported on February 18 regarding an oil spill off of the southern California coast. Everley writes (his emphasis):
The second "oil spill" mentioned was actually light lubricant oil mixed with a soap used to clean the platforms. It was not crude oil as the MMFA report implied.
In fact, Media Matters included this very information quoting the following directly from the AP's report:
A mixture of oily lubricant and water was still leaking from an ExxonMobil platform two days after the first report of a spill off the Southern California coast, federal and state officials said Wednesday.
Moreover, in his ten paragraph response to the Media Matters item in question, Everley acknowledges that there was at least one oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, though he attempts to explain it away saying "its impact was virtually non-existent."
In other words, Newt said there had been NO oil spills since 1969 and Everley responded that there had been an oil spill in February…but that spill wasn't too significant.
Significant or not, Everley's defense only serves to undermine Newt's original tweet.
By the way, if you use Twitter, you should really be following Media Matters.