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Monday, 17 May 2010 09:30

Brit Hume’s Reaction to BP’s Massive Oil Spill: “Where’s the Oil?”

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by Jeffrey Joseph

Oil continues to leak out into the Gulf of Mexico in massive amounts, tainting the waters and affecting life throughout the larger ecosystem to an extent difficult to quantify at this juncture. Still, FOX contributors have maintained their disingenuous coverage of the story. Early on, several contributors hypothesized a conspiracy theory involving the Obama Administration allowing the problem to fester in order to flip-flop on offshore drilling. Now contributors have found an even more crass stance, with Brit Hume diminishing the ecological disaster, one on track to surpass the effects of the Exxon-Valdez spill, by suggesting he fails to see its effects altogether.

Appearing on a FOX News Sunday discussion, Juan Williams asked if fellow panelists thought the spill would, in fact, exceed the Exxon-Valdez spill and its ensuing damage. In response, Hume told Williams, “Let’s see if that happens. There’s a good question today if you are standing down there on the Gulf, and that is: Where’s the oil?” Williams clearly could not believe what Hume had just asked, and Hume only continued, “It’s not on — except for little of chunks of it, you’re not even seeing it on the shore yet.” Chris Wallace interjected that there was plenty more oil seeping out along the ocean floor, to which Hume only countered that the majority of seepage usually comes from natural causes and that “the ocean absorbs a lot.” Williams thought Hume implying that the ocean should just handle the situation on its own was preposterous, only to have Hume testily reply, “Who said that? Who is saying that? No one’s making that argument.”

Hume may not want to acknowledge the obviously ludicrous conclusion of his argument, but if he needed to see who might more willingly accept credit for it, he need only look to Rush Limbaugh, whose cue Hume appeared to take in the first place. For Hume to claim he had come to his BP-friendly stance through independent research and thought seems unlikely, though whatever the cause, his decision to be willfully blind to oil others have no trouble seeing questions his credibility.

Scientists believe the spilled oil may now reach the Florida Keys and have an extremely deleterious effect on the sensitive coral reefs in the area, but Hume would still like to contend that the ocean can handle itself. Of course, FOX contributors taking an oil-friendly stance should come as little surprise considering its Saudi backing that already boasts of altering coverage on the network, anyway.

Interestingly, one of the most scathing criticisms Hume could have received may well have come from one of his colleagues, Shepard Smith. Proving himself the exception of fairness on FOX, not the rule, Smith set aside a few moments from the show to speak directly to BP CEO Tony Hayward, who had diminished the likely consequences of the spill as well. Smith told his audience, “Now the chief executive Tony Hayward, who’s declined invitations to appear on this show, tries to minimize the situation by telling a British newspaper, ‘It’s relatively small compared to the volume of water in the Gulf.’”

The direction of Hayward’s arguments sounds awfully familiar. In response to that sentiment, Smith had a message for Hayward:  ”Mr. Hayward, BP has caused the proud people of the Gulf region great pain. If you think the people of the gulf region and the rest of America will take lying down without a fight a poorly handled aftermath of what your company has done to our Gulf and our people, you are horribly mistaken.” If you basically substitute Hume for Hayward, Smith’s response remains equally apropos.

When it comes to the oil spill, people can hardly trust a network with contributors who fail to see any of the nearly 5,000 square miles it has covered. Smith takes a more realistic and sympathetic approach to the spill than Hume. But if Smith falls short, it is in his inability to turn around and blast his FOX colleague for the same ridiculousness coming from him as from the BP CEO. Viewers should demand that FOX contributors return to reality before crassly asking, “Where’s the oil?” regarding one of the biggest oil spills in history — and in the meantime, choose to Turn Off FOX.

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Originally posted at Turn Off FOX.