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Sean Hannity Gets His Facts Wrong About ANWR - Just Another Example Of "Real Journalism" On FOX News

Reported by Ellen - November 13, 2005

Minutes after he complained about lies, distortions and hypocrisy from Democrats, Sean Hannity rattled off a series of untruths of his own about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Doesn't "Real Journalism, Fair And Balanced" FOX News care that one of their prime time hosts can't seem to get his facts straight? Apparently not.

On Friday night's Hannity & Colmes (11/11/05), an obviously peeved Hannity told Republican Rep. Charles Bass, who opposes drilling for oil in ANWR, that it "could have offered by some estimates up to 40% or more of the oil consumed in America."

Hannity didn't bother to cite where those "some estimates" came from but it could not have been the US government (I couldn't find any reference to Hannity's figures anywhere else, either). According to official government statistics from the Department of Energy, the US imported an average of approximately 12 million barrels a day of petroleum. For their own estimates of ANWR's potential oil production, the government provides "best case" and "worst case" scenarios.

EIA projects peak production rates from 600,000 to 1.9 million barrels per day over the six cases, with peak production estimated to occur 20 - 30 years after the onset of production.

In other words, in the government's best case scenario, oil from ANWR would provide about 6% of the amount of our imported petroleum in 20-30 years after the onset of production. And that only pertains to the amount of imported petroleum. Hannity claimed that ANWR offered 40% or more of all oil consumed in the US.

Later in the same segment, Hannity claimed that drilling was the reason "why Jimmy Carter got that land." But according to the official timeline of ANWR's history, in 1980,

President Jimmy Carter signed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). The Act expanded the Arctic Range to approximately 18 million acres, renamed it the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, designated eight million acres as Wilderness, and designated three rivers as Wild. It also called for wildlife studies and an oil and gas assessment of 1.5 million acres of the Refuge coastal plain.

Comment: Carter may have been thinking about drilling when he created ANWR but it clearly wasn't the only reason and any plans for drilling were clearly in the exploratory stage only.

Hannity also announced that ANWR contained "the second largest oil discovery in American history." In fact, no oil has been discovered yet and it certainly can't be quantified. According to a pro-drilling cite, ANWR.org, "Only drilling will tell. The geologic indicators are very favorable for the presence of significant oil and gas resources in ANWR, but the limited data means that there is a high level of uncertainty about how much oil and gas may be present. Consequently, current estimates represent the best scientific guesses."

Comment: There may well be a case for drilling in ANWR but Hannity's unsubstantiated hyperbole not only cheapened his argument, it revealed the lack of journalistic integrity of FOX News.

Tell Sean Hannity (hannity@foxnews.com) and FOX News (comments@foxnews.com) that real journalism means getting the facts straight.

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