In the days and weeks following the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh confirmed that his grasp of offshore energy policy and technology is about as strong as Glenn Beck's grasp of U.S. public lands policy.
Two weeks ago, Treehugger's Brian Merchant put together a great list of the 7 stupidest statements made about the BP oil spill; Rush Limbaugh was the owner of two of those statements. But Limbaugh is spreading enough misinformation about the oil spill to warrant a list of his own.
And while Limbaugh might dismiss parsing of his "think pieces" as taking things out of context or that he shouldn't be criticized when he's just doing a radio show on the fly, that is exactly the problem. Stating outlandish speculation as fact to an audience of 14 is just a nuisance; spreading it to an audience of 14 million is dangerous.
[Thanks to the bang-up work by Media Matters for making these clips -- and for making them available.]
7. "We need to depoliticize the oil spill... we need to depoliticize the environment."
Besides the fact that depoliticizing the environment runs contrary to the very mission of what we do here, we found it both unusual and hypocritical that Mr. Limbaugh would make a public plea do depoliticize the oil spill and the environment considering his propensity to politicize just about everything that could ever be politicized (including this oil spill). Ironically, depoliticizing the environment is something many lefties have proposed for years when they argue that the science of climate change should speak for itself.
6. "This spill is nothing more than an opportunity for the left to continue to attack this country and to attack the people that make this country work."
The oil spill is only a political opportunity for the left? I'd like to remind Mr. Limbaugh that the leaking riser, blow-out preventer and sunken rig have dumped between 150,000 and 1.5 million barrels of crude oil into the gulf (thanks to obfuscations and hedging by BP and federal officials, the exact figure still remains unknown). I would also like to remind Limbaugh that there is an entire segment of "people that make this country work"--the Gulf states seafood industry-- that is unable to work because the Gulf Coast fishery is virtually closed to commercial fishing and will be for some time to come.
5. "It's natural. It's as natural as the ocean water is. Well, the turtles may take a hit for a while, but so what?" and... "Sea water is pretty tough stuff... oil has a tough time surviving."
While oil may be "natural," its presence in high volumes anywhere other than locked away in geological formations or sealed tanks is dangerous for all kinds of flora and fauna. Lead and mercury are "natural" too but you don't see anyone advocating that we dump it in the ocean. The same argument is echoed by some climate skeptics who pontificate about the "natural-ness" of carbon dioxide. The reasoning goes something like this: if it's found in the natural environment, it can't possibly be bad, no matter the volume.