This summer, as I spend time with my son and watch the World Cup on TV, I have also gotten a new addiction: Watching the beginning of Glenn Beck's FOX News show to see if he's snapped yet. It's not easy, and I am not sure how I might be able to tell, but with his falling ratings
and loss of sponsors, it seems more and more that we might soon have a real-life Howard Beale moment.
While waiting for the inevitable, I have noticed that as his ratings dip, he has ramped up the crazy. Not a day goes by where he doesn't accuse Woodrow Wilson of trying to destroy the nation from the 1910s. He has also taken to trying to connect various non-scandals in the administration to various modern communists, anarchists, fascists, and any other -ists he can think up. Most importantly (at least to him), Beck has also taken up valuable TV time to promote himself and his sponsors, thinking that these endorsements can only help him. Whether it's shilling gold, begging people to DVR the program, or hawking his new "political thriller"
, Glenn Beck just gives people a nervous "Riiiiiight" moment.
The breaking point, however, came earlier this week. Beck was introducing his show, and began to talk about the oil spill. Apparently, like so many other FOX News hosts, Beck puts the blame for the spill on the President. Like other FOX News hosts, he doesn't believe that we should put a hold on drilling because of the incident. Unlike other hosts, however, he went the extra mile to prove that offshore drilling is safe and efficient. After all who are you gonna believe, baby - him or your lying eyes?
There have been over 50,000 wells drilled in the Gulf of Mexico -- 50,000. Four thousand of these wells are deepwater wells. Seven hundred are ultra-deepwater wells. How many major incidents before this one? Zero. Now there's only one. That is a success ratio of 99.998 percent. That's a pretty good record, don't you think?
I bolded the numbers above because not only did Beck say it, he had these numbers displayed on a monitor which, surprisingly, was not covered with chalk marks. I found it curious that Beck would make such a claim. A 99.998% success rate? I did some research to validate this.
There have been a number of blowouts, explosions, and collapses that have occurred over the past few decades. This site
catalogs some of the more notable ones. Although the site is meant to be a showing of oil rig disasters throughout the world, it does feature several that have happened in the Gulf of Mexico over the years:
Ensco 51 - March 1, 2001
CP Baker - June 30, 1964
Ixtoc I - June 3, 1979
The last one is particularly important. When Ixtoc blew out in 1979, it took 10 months for the well to be capped. Petroleum was on the beaches of Mexico and Texas for years afterwards. Pemex, the Mexican oil company that operated the rig, spent $100 million dollars on cleanup, but refused to pay compensation for damages, citing sovereign immunity. Thousands of Kemp's Ridley sea turtles (an endangered species) were airlifted from their nesting grounds in endangered beaches to safer areas of the Gulf. Ironically, over 150 Kemp's Ridley turtles have been found dead in the aftermath of Deepwater Horizon, and there is no reason to believe that the carnage will stop there.
Even if you do not count the many other "lesser" incidents
that have occurred in the Gulf over the past decades, these incidents were all disastrous for the Gulf in their own way, and they are all currently being dwarfed by Deepwater Horizon. But assuming that Beck's percentage were true (which it is not), the fact does not mitigate the impact that these spills have had on the environment. Arguing that offshore drilling is safe despite this (these) spill(s) is like arguing that George W. Bush kept us safe from terrorism, except for 9/11, and the anthrax killer, and numerous IEDs ignited in Iraq and Afghanistan, and...
In conclusion, Beck is absolutely wrong about the spill and oil rig safety. As he continues to spout misinformation, propaganda, and conspiracy theories, he will continue to shed viewers and listeners. It may even end up that his proposed rally on the Washington Mall (on the anniversary of MLK's "I Have A Dream"
speech) attracts fewer attendees than his recent movie event "The Christmas Sweater
". Of course, it will be the fault of President Obama's Chicago mob, combined with the Communists, the Fascists, labor unions, Woodrow Wilson, ACORN, Media Matters, Stephanie Miller, Hal Sparks, Ryan Seacrest, the makers of dry-erase boards...
NOTE: While preparing this blog entry, I encountered a BSOD. I won't say it's anything but coincidence, but...