Conservative media defend BP against "shakedowns," "show trials," and environmentalists at least 62 times

Fox hosts, shows, and outlets led the effort with at least 38 defenses of BP

››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER & FAE JENCKS

Media Matters has identified at least 62 recent instances of media conservatives defending BP, 38 of which occurred on the Fox News Channel, Fox Business, the Fox Nation, or the talk shows of Fox News hosts. There were at least 21 criticisms of BP's escrow account as an Obama "shakedown" or "slush fund," 10 attacks on President Obama for supposedly "demonizing" BP, 15 examples of conservatives deriding investigations of the company, 12 claims that environmental regulations are responsible for the spill, and five absurd conspiracy theories about the spill.

Right-wing media portray BP as the victim of a "shakedown"

Napolitano: "That is a classic shakedown." On the June 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano stated of the BP escrow account fund designed to aid Gulf residents affected by the oil spill: "The government doesn't have the right -- we don't know what happened in the Oval Office, but you guys reported, and the vice president did not deny, that he walked in and basically said give us the $20 billion or we will take it from you. That is a classic shakedown. The threat to do something that you don't have the right to do." Napolitano also falsely claimed that "the White House is going to distribute" the money in the escrow account, when, in fact, the fund is to be administered by an independent third party.

Ingraham: "Joe Barton, before he apologized, had a legitimate point" about BP being victims of the Obama administration's "shakedown." On the June 17 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, referencing Rep. Joe Barton's (R-TX) claim that the fund resulted from a "shakedown," Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham stated: "I think that Joe Barton, before he apologized, had a legitimate point. First of all, this administration has taken a very aggressive, and I would say strong-arm approach, to private industry across the board. ... I would rather have this fund ... administered by the local authorities."

Limbaugh: Obama taught students "how to use the Constitution to shake down corporations ... much like he's doing to BP." On the June 17 edition of Premiere Radio Network's The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh said, "In reality, [Obama] didn't teach constitutional law. ... What Obama taught was Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, and how to use the Constitution to shake down corporations through race and grievance lawsuits. That's what he taught students at the University of Chicago. Much like he is doing to BP."

JammieWearingFool: Barton's comments are "the truth." In a June 17 post on his blog, JammieWearingFool wrote: "As an American, I'm ashamed of what's been going on at the White House for the past 17 months. Let's hear it for Rep. Joe Barton of Texas who, I'll remind people, is speaking for himself." JammieWearingFool posted a Dallas Morning News article on the statement and wrote, "Aww, the poor babies can't handle the truth."

Big Journalism: Barton's comments were a "relatively mild statement of fact, expressed inoffensively." A June 17 Big Journalism post highlighted Barton's comments and criticized the GOP for not defending him, calling his statement a "relatively mild statement of fact, expressed inoffensively."

Gingrich: Obama "is directly engaged in extorting money" from BP. On the June 17 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich responded to Barton's comments by stating that the Obama administration "is directly engaged in extorting money" from BP.

Hoft: "Of course it was a shakedown. It's the Chicago way." In a June 17 post on his Gateway Pundit blog, Jim Hoft wrote: "Of course it was a shakedown. It's the Chicago way. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) apologizes to BP for the Barack Obama's '20 Billion Dollar Shakedown.' Well said, Congressman."

Erickson: "Let's be honest. The White House meeting with British Petroleum was a shakedown." In a June 17 RedState post, Erick Erickson echoed Barton's statement that the deal was a "shakedown," saying, "Let's be honest. The White House meeting with British Petroleum was a shakedown." From RedState:

Let's be honest. The White House meeting with British Petroleum was a shakedown.

The White House threatened criminal prosecution of BP, the President gave a miserably received speech, then he hauled BP into the White House and put the Attorney General in the room with the CEO to stare at him, then the President demanded $20 billion.

It was a shakedown.

WSJ: Barton "rightly called" White House "pressure" on BP "a shakedown. In a June 18 editorial, The Wall Street Journal stated that BP "does not deserve the apology" offered by Barton, but the Journal agreed that Barton "rightly called" White House "pressure" on BP "a shakedown.

Napolitano: If government sues BP to require company to pay for workers' lost wages, "that's theft." On the June 10 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Napolitano stated:

NAPOLITANO: The government does not have the authority to -- it has the authority to issue the moratorium, which it will issue for political reasons because it wants to get other oil companies out of there, and get the media's eye off the ball of the White House and onto the ball of BP, but it doesn't have the authority to order BP to pay the salaries of those who would have worked in the absence of the moratorium. Therefore if the government wants BP to do that, it will have to sue BP to do it. It can't order BP to do it, if it does, and it takes the money, that's theft.

Beck: "You can't just change the law" to raise BP's liability cap, asks, "Is that what we fought the Nazis for?" On the May 4 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, Beck said "Barack Obama and the leftists, now, in the government, led here now by Robert Kennedy Jr., they're making a push today that that cap should be changed. ... Is there anything like the rule of law here? Is there anything -- do they understand how this works? You can't just change the law all of a sudden." Beck later asked: "Did we go and fight Germany for this? Is that what we fought the Nazis for? Is that why those millions of people died?"

Fund on the BP escrow account: "You better believe it's a shakedown." On the June 19 edition of Fox News' Journal Editorial Report, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund said of the BP escrow fund, "You better believe it's a shakedown" and stated that it "goes around the legal process." He further warned that "the United States can resemble a banana republic overnight with the wrong president in charge," and that the fund "effectively says to foreign investors, 'forget the rule of law.' "

Erickson: BP escrow fund is a "shakedown," congressional hearing "was a show trial." On the June 18 edition of CNN's John King USA, when asked if he agreed that the creation of an escrow fund was a "shakedown," Erick Erickson stated: "Well, yeah, I mean I think it was a shakedown. No doubt British Petroleum cooperated in it just like yesterday was a show trial in Congress."

Fox Nation: "Biden Was The BP Shakedown Artist." Fox Nation reposted an item from the blog Weasel Zippers that characterized Vice President Joe Biden as the "shakedown artist" and the "designated Bad Cop." The post included information from the New York Daily News, which reported: "Biden leaned forward and bluntly informed the Blight Brigade they had no choice: If they didn't do the right thing and put the cash in escrow, it would be done to them."

Buchanan: "There's an aspect of shakedown here." On the June 20 edition of The McLaughlin Group, MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan repeatedly stated that there was "an aspect of shakedown" to the meeting between BP executives and the Obama administration. He said that having Attorney General Eric Holder present at the meeting in which the escrow fund was discussed was "like having Luca Brasi sitting across saying, 'I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse.' "

Tantaros: BP "slush fund" is a "political shakedown. It's a stickup." On the June 21 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, contributor Andrea Tantaros stated that BP had been the victim of a "political shakedown" and a "stickup" to force the company to fund the $20 billion "slush fund."

Limbaugh: BP "slush fund" is just like "blackmail." On the June 17 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh suggested that the BP escrow account could be called a "slush fund, extra-Constitutional," or "blackmail." He stated that the creation of the fund is "exactly how a blackmailer will hit you. You give him once and they keep coming back for more. They've got you. You pay one time and they'll keep coming back."

Sowell compares creation of BP escrow fund to the dictatorial powers of Hitler. In his June 21 syndicated column, Thomas Sowell compared the creation of the BP escrow account to "the German Reichstag pass[ing] a law 'for the relief of the German people.'" Sowell asks "[j]ust where in the Constitution of the United states does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere."

Kilmeade "almost" called escrow account a "slush fund." On the June 22 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade referred to the BP escrow account as a "slush fund." From the broadcast:

GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): All right, also Feinberg, the guy in charge of putting out all that money for BP -- that $20 billion BP agreed to hand over -- he's already complaining. He's already saying look, we need to get this cash out quicker to the folks who are in need of that. And, by the way, it's going to cost a heck of a lot more than $20 billion. I think his quote was 54 billion? I believe it was. $54 billion he's estimating it will cost.

KILMEADE: And you know with that you only get $5 billion a year in to the sl-- uh, I almost said slush fund --

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Into the kitty.

KILMEADE: Into the kitty. So they're going to need more than that.

Limbaugh praised Barton's BP apology as a "home run." Limbaugh opened his June 21 program by saying that Barton "must have hit a home run out there the way these people are reacting to this, talking about the slush fund, apologizing last week to the BP execs for being shaken down by the regime."

Varney: "Hugo Chavez-like" plan amounts to "seizing private assets" and "hav[ing] the White House politicians run the money." On the June 16 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox Business host Stuart Varney said the plan to create an escrow account with BP money for gulf relief will "[t]ake the money right off BP and put in some kind of escrow account and have the White House politicians run the money. Taking -- I mean there's no better word for it. It is seizing private assets and sticking them under the control of politicians." Varney asked "who knows what they're going to spend that money on?" Varney also called the plan "Hugo Chavez-like, is it not, to seize a private company's assets."

Conservatives characterized investigations of BP as "Soviet-style" "show trial"

Limbaugh: BP hearings are a "show trial. ... This is what happened in Stalinist Russia." On the June 17 broadcast of his radio show, Limbaugh said of the House's hearings on the oil spill that "what Waxman and these other Democrats want" out of the BP hearings "is for [BP CEO Tony] Hayward and any other BP exec to say things under oath that they can't possible know one way or the other. This is a show trial. If we were back in the era of Stalin -- this is what happened in Stalinist Russia. It's exactly how show trials work. If you translated this into Russian, folks, this is exactly what would be going on in the old Russia, the old pre-Soviet Union days." He added that the hearings are "purely and simply a fraud."

Krauthammer compared the BP hearings to "Inca ritual slaughter." During the June 17 edition of Special Report, Krauthammer said that "these hearings are always just political theatre," but that he "kind of welcome[s] these rituals. We haven't had a good Inca ritual slaughter since the Goldman Sachs hearings." Krauthammer added that unlike with an "Incan ritual slaughter," "we have a scarcity of virgins," and so "we send up a CEO instead. They whack him around for a whole day and everybody goes home happy. The only difference is that our procedure has less blood, but a lot more talking. And I'm not sure which is preferable."

Kristol: "BP is being persecuted by a demagogic congressional committee chairman." Also on the June 17 edition of Special Report, Bill Kristol stated "BP is being persecuted by a demagogic congressional committee chairman, Henry Waxman."

Savage: "The Democrats have held a Stalinist show trial against BP. ... They're very, very clever devils indeed." During the June 17 edition of his show, Michael Savage stated: "All these Congress vermin do is threaten people and sue people. Secondly, while these hearings have been very informative, I would now like to see an equal set of hearings with the government put on the stand." Savage added: "What they've done here is very clever indeed. The Democrats have held a Stalinist show trial against BP. Perhaps rightly so in part, but what they've really done here is pass the buck. They're very, very clever devils indeed. What they've done is put the entire blame -- that is 100 percent of the blame -- on BP rather than on the Obama administration."

Levin claimed "Soviet-style spectacle" of BP hearings is part of "a huge cover-up." On the June 17 edition of his radio show, Mark Levin pushed a conspiracy theory revolving around the BP hearings, stating that "[y]ou have a huge cover-up going on" because the Minerals Management Service [MMS] must have given BP permission to drill. Levin continued: "So we had a Soviet-style spectacle today where they bring in the CEO, this Tony Hayworth [sic] of BP, and they kick him around like a soccer ball. He's been well schooled by his lawyers, so he's not going to say anything that affects him or his company in a detrimental way. Obama's already said we're looking to bring criminal charges and civil charges and all the rest, so of course he's not going to sit there and sing like a bird, but Congress wants you to think it's really, really busy, it's really on your side, so they go through this spectacle."

Erickson: "Only thing separating" BP hearing from "Soviet show trial" is that Hayward "walked out without any lead in him." In a June 17 RedState.com post, Erickson wrote: "And keeping with the honesty, let's also admit the Congressional hearing was a show trial. The only thing separating it from a Soviet show trial is Tony Hayward, the CEO of British Petroleum walked out without any lead in him. The result, however, will be the same as a Soviet show trial: not a single thing will happen. Nothing."

Beck compared BP hearings to McCarthy hearings, feeding Christians to lions. On the June 18 edition of his radio program, Beck asked during a discussion of the BP hearings, "How do we not see the McCarthy hearings in this and everything else that is going on in Washington?" He went on to criticize the tone of the hearings, stating, "If you have all of the facts, if you can nail them to the wall, there's no reason to get nasty." Beck concluded: "We are in a thugocracy. We are being run by criminals, and we've got a little puppet show just to entertain the masses. Why don't we bring some Christians out and feed them to lions?"

Beck on BP hearings: "[W]e've got Salem witch trials going on in Washington, D.C." On the June 18 broadcast of his radio show, Beck asserted: "Instead of saying to BP, 'Can you do this -- yes or no?' 'What are you doing?' 'How can we help you shutting it down?' Instead, no, no, no, we've got Salem witch trials going on in Washington, D.C." He went on to call the lawmakers involved "thugs and bullies."

Beck: Lawmakers in BP hearing "will be held in front of an eternal judge" and "will be praying" for "the mercy of Guantánamo." During the same June 18 broadcast, Beck attacked the lawmakers, asking, "Why don't you ask these dumb questions after we've stopped the oil leak?" He then said: "All of these people should be not only ashamed of themselves, they will be held in front of an eternal judge for what they have done to this country. ... They will be held in front of an eternal judge and they will be praying, praying, for the mercy of Guantánamo when they face that judge."

Beck claimed "[t]here is no investigation going on" and suggested lawmakers' only expertise is "stealing from the American people." During the same broadcast of his show, Beck said of the federal government's investigation into BP: "They're not investigating. They are making speeches on television. That's all they're doing. There is no investigation going on here." Beck then suggested that the government instead investigate the details of one of his conspiracy theories, stating: "So you want to do some investigation? We have some investigation. You want to do some investigation? Go out -- send an investigator. You people in Washington, I don't even know what you do. What is your expertise besides stealing from the American people?"

Urbanski: "Rush was accurate" in calling hearings "Soviet-style public trial. ... It was horrible to watch." On the June 18 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, guest host Douglas Urbanski called the hearings "theater" and then stated: "I think Rush was very accurate when he called it a Soviet-style public trial. You know, in Japan, they commit hara-kiri over things like this. We don't do this in the United States. It was sort of -- it was sort of horrible to watch."

Buchanan: Tony Hayward testimony was "a Stalin show trial." On the June 20 edition of The McLaughlin Group, Buchanan stated that Hayward's testimony was a "Stalin show trial." Buchanan also said that Hayward took "his beating like a man" and was "contrite."

Fox Nation calls BP hearing a "show trial." On June 18, Fox Nation's home page referred to the hearings as a "show trial," and displayed the following text from a Wall Street Journal editorial:

foxnation

There was in particular no reason for BP to compound its error and agree to spend another $100 million to compensate the oil workers sidelined by the Administration's policy choice to impose a drilling moratorium. BP had no liability for these costs, and its concession further separated its compensation from proper legal order. BP deserves to pay full restitution for the damage it has caused, but it ought to do so via legal means, not under what Texas Republican Joe Barton rightly called the pressure of "a shakedown" yesterday. On the other hand, BP does not deserve the apology that Mr. Barton also offered, though he quickly backtracked when the White House pounced on his comments.

Kilmeade suggests criminal inquiry into oil spill "just tank[ed] the market," asks, "Was that smart?" On the June 2 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade stated, "The Department of Justice is probing, and for a myriad of reasons, it looks like, into BP and what they've done and what they could have violated." He then suggested that the announcement of the investigations "drop[ped] BP's stock 15 percent" and "just tank[ed] the market," and asked, "Was that smart?" Co-host Steve Doocy replied, "Maybe not, because if they're facing all these lawsuits, suddenly, where's that money going to come from?"

Krauthammer: Announcing criminal investigation into BP oil leak is "entirely unnecessary." On the June 10 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said, "It is not so that the administration has not had an effect on the price -- on the share price [of BP stock]. On the day that it was announced that we were going to go after the oil company criminally, there was a collapse of the price, and that was the kind of escalation that was entirely unnecessary."

Conservatives criticize Obama for "demonizing" BP

Varney: The federal government has "demonized" and "looted" BP. Appearing on the June 16 edition of Glenn Beck, Varney stated: "BP was prepared to meet all genuine claims, all viable claims. It said frequently it would pay legitimate claims. Not good enough for the government. They have successfully demonized and now looted BP."

Barnes' advice to Obama: "Stop demonizing BP." Discussing public approval ratings of Obama's handling of the spill, on the June 15 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News political contributor Fred Barnes said that Obama could "turn those poll numbers around" by ending the six-month moratorium on offshore drilling and "particularly stop demonizing BP."

Newsmax's Kessler: Obama has "confused the good guys with the bad guys by demonizing BP." Newsmax's Ronald Kessler wrote in a June 14 article: "Count on Obama to emerge from the meeting with BP full of bravado, childishly saying he is trying to determine 'whose ass to kick.' " Kessler continued: "But having confused the good guys with the bad guys by demonizing BP, Obama has torpedoed his own efforts."

Hoenig: Congressional hearings are "about humiliating CEOs and demonizing big oil." Appearing on Fox Business Network's Cavuto, guest Jonathan Hoenig commented: "Well, this wasn't about solutions, Neil. This wasn't about cleaning up the oil spill. This is about humiliating CEOs and demonizing big oil, not unlike the Toyota hearings, not unlike the bank hearings. I mean, that was the purpose of today's hearings."

Varney: Obama's response is to "[d]emonize BP, seize its assets, raise taxes on energy." Appearing on Hannity, Varney stated: "The administration's response can be summed up as follows: Demonize BP, seize its assets, raise taxes on energy, and therefore raise prices, pile on regulation, appoint a commission, all to gloss over the failure to deal promptly with the oil spill. And then give us pipe dreams about a green future."

Palin: "[W]e can't afford to demonize" BP. On The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News' Sarah Palin complained that "we can't afford to demonize these energy producers to such an extent, though, that they go under. We do need to work with them, though, but we need to verify everything it is and hold them accountable for all that they have done in this situation."

Crowley: "[T]his is his default position: demonize BP." On The McLaughlin Group, radio host and Fox News political analyst Monica Crowley commented: "Look, this is nothing new coming from this president. He needs an enemy, John. He has demonized the banks, demonized Wall Street, demonized health care companies, demonized Fox News, demonized the Republicans. So it's -- this is his default position: demonize BP, when what the White House should be doing -- there will be plenty of time to assign blame, do the lawsuits, do the culpability. But right now, they should be working as partners to try to plug the damn hole and get the area cleaned up."

Krauthammer: "[D]eclaring war on the oil company, at this time, and in a criminal way, I think is really distasteful." On the June 1 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer stated of Holder's announcement that he is launching an investigation into the oil spill: "I think what the attorney general did today is somewhat over the line ... I might have missed it but I didn't hear a syllable about what evidence he has of criminal activity here." Krauthammer later said: "So they want to make it look like they are doing something, but declaring war on the oil company, at this time, and in a criminal way, I think is really distasteful. It's not going to help anybody."

Varney: "All it does is divert attention. You demonize and divert attention from your responsibility." Discussing the DOJ investigation on the June 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Fox Business host Stuart Varney asked: "What good does it do to threaten criminal charges to try to ruin British Petroleum? What good does it do?" He then stated: "All it does is divert attention. You demonize and divert attention from your responsibility."

Fox News' Payne: White House aims "vitriol" at BP but not at terrorists. On the May 8 edition of Fox News' Cavuto on Business, Fox Business contributor Charles Payne stated: "A lot of this emanates from the White House. The White House is going to put a boot on the neck of BP, but they never used that kind of vitriol when it comes to Islam, or even terrorism."

Conservatives falsely claim that environmentalists are to blame for BP spill because they blocked "safer drilling areas"

Despite conservative claims to the contrary, increase in deepwater drilling actually due to region's large oil reserves and was championed by Bush administration, oil industry. As Media Matters has documented, both Bush administration reports and the oil industry itself touted the vast reserves of oil available in the deepwater regions of the Gulf of Mexico.

Palin: "Radical environmentalists: you are damaging the planet with your efforts to lock up safer drilling areas." On June 2, Fox News' Sarah Palin posted an entry on Facebook to attack "radical environmentalists" who she blamed for "making drilling more dangerous." Palin stated that the oil spill "proves" that environmentalists' "lies about onshore and shallow water drilling" are "catching up with" them. Palin criticized "extreme 'environmentalists' " for supposedly "hypocritically protest[ing] domestic energy production offshore and onshore." She called their efforts "misguided, nonsensical radicalism," and contends that "there's nothing 'clean and green' about [their] efforts." From Palin's post:

This is a message to extreme "environmentalists" who hypocritically protest domestic energy production offshore and onshore. There is nothing "clean and green" about your efforts. Look, here's the deal: when you lock up our land, you outsource jobs and opportunity away from America and into foreign countries that are making us beholden to them. Some of these countries don't like America. Some of these countries don't care for planet earth like we do -- as evidenced by our stricter environmental standards.

With your nonsensical efforts to lock up safer drilling areas, all you're doing is outsourcing energy development, which makes us more controlled by foreign countries, less safe, and less prosperous on a dirtier planet. Your hypocrisy is showing. You're not preventing environmental hazards; you're outsourcing them and making drilling more dangerous.

Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country's energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It's catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it.

[...]

Radical environmentalists: you are damaging the planet with your efforts to lock up safer drilling areas. There's nothing clean and green about your misguided, nonsensical radicalism, and Americans are on to you as we question your true motives.

Krauthammer: We're drilling deep because "environmentalists have succeeded in rendering the Pacific and nearly all the Atlantic coasts off-limits to oil production." In a May 28 column, Krauthammer blasted environmentalists for driving oil companies into deeper waters. Krauthammer concluded that "we [are] drilling in 5,000 feet of water in the first place" in part because "[e]nvironmental chic has driven us out there."

Doocy: "Back in the day, they used to just drill pretty close to shore," but environmentalists "pushed them out further and further." On the June 3 edition of Fox & Friends, Doocy stated that "back in the day they used to just drill pretty close to shore," but "as the environmentalists said there's a real danger here, they pushed them out further and further." Doocy then cited an editorial in Investor's Business Daily that he said made the "good point" that "questions would this be so tough to cap and stop if it weren't pushed into water almost a mile deep by environmentalists."

IBD: "Environmentalism... help[ed] make" oil spill "possible." In the June 1 editorial Doocy cited, IBD stated, "Environmentalism did not cause the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, but it did help make it possible," and suggested that "if British Petroleum and others were not barred from drilling in ANWR or in the shallower water of the Outer Continental Shelf, we might not be having this conversation."

Limbaugh: "What the environmentalist wackos are making us do is drill down 35,000 feet." Rush Limbaugh claimed on the May 17 broadcast of his radio show: "What the environmentalist wackos are making us do is drill down 35,000 feet, 6.6 miles, when there's oil practically begging to be taken out of the ground in areas that are now off-limits because of U.S. regime regulations."

Kristol: If it weren't for restrictions "after the Santa Barbara incident 40 years ago," we would be drilling closer to shore, "which is probably less dangerous." In a May 2 appearance on Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol placed blame for the spill on regulations that pushed drilling "50 miles out from the coast." Kristol called himself a "drill-baby-drill person" and went on to suggest that ANWR land be made available for oil extraction, where "there are no waves, there's no ocean," and it is "perfectly easy to drill." Kristol likened the restrictions on drilling in the Gulf to restrictions on nuclear power after the Three Mile Island meltdown, which he claimed even environmentalists agree "was a wild overreaction."

Doocy and Varney agree: "We know why they drill in the deep water, environmentalists pushed them out from the shallow water." On the June 16 edition of Fox & Friends, Doocy stated "We know why [oil companies] drill in the deep water, environmentalists pushed them out from the shallow water." Varney agreed, "That's why we're not drilling in Alaska, not drilling in the shallow water. We've been pushed out in the deep water where it's difficult and dangerous."

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." Also on the June 16 edition of Glenn Beck, Mike Flynn, editor in chief of Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com, said of the BP oil well location: "The federal government made them drill in water that deep, let's be clear about that."

O'Reilly: The environmental movement "absolutely did" contribute to the oil spill. On the June 10 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly, while commenting on a Time magazine piece, stated, "What Time magazine ignores and what absolutely did contribute to the disaster is the intense environmental movement, which has prevented much shallow water drilling, and the ANWR arctic exploration."

Napolitano: The government made BP "drill in 5,000 feet of water instead of 500." On the June 10 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Napolitano said the "government made BP drill in 5,000 feet of water instead of 500 feet of water."

Right-wing media invent conspiracy theories about the oil spill

Limbaugh suggested that "environmental whackos" may have blown up oil rig to "head off more oil drilling." On his April 29 radio show, Rush Limbaugh questioned "the timing" of the explosion and said: "Lest we forget ... the cap and trade bill was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist whackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants." Limbaugh added: "[W]hat better way to head off more oil drilling and nuclear plants than by blowing up a rig? I'm just, I'm just noting the timing here."

Perino: "[W]as this deliberate?" On the May 3 broadcast of Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Dana Perino said of the spill: "I'm not trying to introduce a conspiracy theory, but was this deliberate? You know, you have to wonder ... if there was sabotage involved."

Bolling falsely claimed it was "nine days before" the leak "was even addressed" and asked, "Did they let this thing leak? ... if they're going to try and pull drilling, that may be the way they do it." On the May 3 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox Business Network host Eric Bolling said: "The question is ... why the delay in the response? You guys were pointing out, nine days before it was even addressed, 12 days before he made a formal comment. The question is, did they let this thing leak? I mean, BP said maybe a thousand barrels a day, it went to five thousand. Did they let it leak a little bit and say, boy I don't know. I mean, the conspiracy theorists would say, 'maybe they'd let it leak for a while, and then they addressed the issue.' " Bolling added: "It would be a humongous accusation and probably the net result would be no different, but if they're going to try and pull drilling, that may be the way they do it."

Bolling asks if Obama "let" oil rig leak so he "could renege on his promise" to "allow some offshore drilling." On the May 27 edition of Fox Business' Happy Hour, host Eric Bolling asked guest Alan Colmes "Are you sure they didn't let [the oil spill] leak so he could renege on his promise to allow some offshore drilling?"

Michael Brown on Fox News: Obama wanted oil spill so he could "shut down" offshore drilling. On the May 3 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, former FEMA chief Michael Brown repeatedly suggested that the Obama administration deliberately chose to let the BP oil spill "get really bad" so it would have an "excuse" to "shut down offshore drilling."

Posted In
Environment & Science, Drilling
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.