Did Rachel Maddow Know Non-Existent Offshore Oil Royalties Claim Was False When She Made it?

May 18th, 2010 1:28 PM

... Sure looks like it, based on what Maddow said on her MSNBC program during separate shows last week.

Here's Maddow on May 12 talking about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, congressional hearings on the disaster, and "climate change legislation" --

MADDOW: In the shadow of the BP oil disaster, jaw-dropping hearings, senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced climate change legislation in the Senate today, the American Power Act. Among other things it includes subsidies for offshore oil drilling. Subsidies, taxpayer subsidies. These oil companies already don't pay federal royalties on anything that they drill out there. But how about expanded taxpayer subsidies for them to do it too, to do it more? This is, not to put too fine a point on it, our oil. And yet we're paying them to drill it and then we're not collecting a percentage from it, even though it's ours and even though we bear the environmental disaster risk whenever anything goes wrong.

All of a day later, Maddow's dubious assertion about oil companies not paying royalties to the federal government for offshore drilling was undermined by an unlikely source, one of her guests Thursday night, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

As described in a NewsBusters post I wrote Friday, Cantwell talked about legislation she's co-sponsoring with other Senate Democrats that would end offshore drilling along the West Coast --

CANTWELL:  We don't want to see that economy ruined by the fact that we would go after so little amount of oil, to say nothing of the fact that the, uh, the royalties that are supposed to be paid by these companies nowhere meet what what they really should be meeting for the American taxpayer.

Maddow, apparently content to consider this a clarification of her bogus claim from the previous night, said this on her show Friday while referring to a scathing inspector general's report on Minerals Management Service --

MADDOW: This incredible, ethical catastrophe took place in the royalty-in-kind office of the Minerals Management Service, in Denver. That was the part of the agency responsible for collecting royalties for those companies drilling our oil, companies taking our oil out of federal land are supposed to pay us for it. The sex and drugs and toaster ovens and drunk resort lodges office (an allusion to specifics of Inspector General's report) was the office responsible for collecting those royalties.

... royalties that Maddow claimed two nights earlier didn't exist.

Later in the same segment, Maddow let slip that she "sort of paid attention" to the issue of whether oil companies are "paying their fair share in royalties" to the government. The timing here is significant --

MADDOW (while talking with Danielle Brian, executive director of Project On Government Oversight non-profit): One of the things that I have, I sort of paid attention to around the time that the snorting-the-meth-off-the-toaster-over report came out was about whether or not these oil companies are paying their fair share to the government for royalties, for using these public lands for profit.

That report? Came out in September 2008, same month Maddow's show premiered on MSNBC. And has someone who has cringed through nearly every episode since, I know for a fact that Maddow has repeatedly told her viewers about the Inspector General's report, invariably citing the garish detail of an MMS employee snorting crystal meth off a toaster oven. (Maddow even mentioned it -- twice -- in her commencement speech at Smith College over the weekend).

Still, this is progress of sorts, at least for Maddow. On May 12 she claimed oil companies pay no royalties for offshore drilling. On May 14 she conceded they do, but questioned whether it was "their fair share."

Suffice it to say, oil companies would never pay enough for closet socialists like Maddow unless the industry was nationalized, along with every other entity possessed of the gall to turn a profit.

Something else Maddow told Smith College graduates (14:04 in video clip) -- "Be intellectually and morally rigorous in your own decision-making and expect that the important people in your life do the same if they want to stay important to you."

And try to avoid selective amnesia.