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Greta Van Susteren Helps Sarah Palin Promote Drilling In ANWR

Reported by Ellen - August 17, 2010 -

Greta Van Susteren is in Alaska for a three-day lovefest series with Sarah and Todd Palin. As Van Susteren put it, she'll present “the inside story about oil drilling in the United States… For the next three nights, YOU get the real story about the 10-02 area, ANWR.” Judging from the first installment, what she meant was that WE get the Palins’ version of the story without any independent reporting or pesky opposing views. In this segment, Van Susteren never seemed to feel the need to either find out and/or report about how little oil is expected to be recoverable from ANWR and the decades it would take to get it.

Perhaps after Bill O’Reilly demolished her credibility about the BP oil spill, Palin had to fall back on her BFF Greta. Happily for the Palins, “Democrat” Van Susteren, whose husband is or was an advisor to the Palins (which Van Susteren failed to mention), seems as enamored with the couple as ever.

Van Susteren described ANWR as “a sliver of land… that could hold enormous amounts of oil.” In reality, ANWR is about 19 million acres. While a “sliver” of about 2,000 acres was proposed to be “looked at” for drilling, it would, as PolitiFact found, “almost certainly require an extensive network of roads, pipelines and related infrastructure.” Also, while ANWR could hold “enormous amounts of oil,” it is not expected to. In 2007, under the Bush administration, the Energy Information Administration estimated, in its best case scenario, that oil from ANWR would provide about 6% of the amount of our imported petroleum but not until 20-30 years after the onset of production.

Funny how Van Susteren never got around to that.

What she did get around to is talking about how barren ANWR is, i.e. how much it doesn’t look like the kind of wildlife refuge anyone would care about protecting. She said to Todd Palin, “It struck me that it’s quite flat and… I didn’t see a lot of animal life… How far south is it like this? What’s the terrain like?”

Todd Palin answered, “Many miles south before we get into the mountain range… When you see pictures of ANWR in the mountains and moose, I don’t see that anywhere here or to the north of us.”

Sarah Palin chimed in. “You can look about 60 miles south and still see what we’re seeing right now… The fundraiser pictures and the websites that show waterfalls and moose and mountain ranges and dall sheep climbing along shale. That’s not the real ANWR.”

Underscoring the point, Van Susteren asked if “this flat that we’ve seen” is “pretty much a representation of ANWR?” When Todd Palin told her it was, she added, “I had expected it to be different. It was flat as could be and there was nothing there.”

That was a perfect opportunity for Sarah Palin to take a dig at environmentalists and she wasted no time taking advantage of it. She blamed the discrepancy on “extreme environmentalist fundraiser posters and websites… when we’re talking about the 10-02 area that is needed for oil development. It is a tiny little footprint in a very remote area that is pretty much uninhabited, that is flat and… basically a wasteland.”

As though she were not a reporter with any means of doing any independent investigation and as though Palin had no partisan agenda, Van Susteren asked, “How much oil is in ANWR? Do we know?”

“There are billions of barrels in ANWR,” Palin answered, probably correctly. She added, “The reservoirs have proven to be quite rich. However, all the details about the amounts in there – they’re locked up in a couple of federal agency and state agencies’ offices where the oil companies have those confidential pieces of information. The public isn’t privy to all that.” But what she failed to say is that those billions are a drop in the bucket compared to our energy use and a little more than half of the projected potential for the offshore areas Senator John McCain proposed opening during the presidential campaign of 2008.

Instead of challenging Palin, Van Susteren gave her openings for more talking points by saying the decision about whether to drill should be made based on “whether we need the oil, how much is there, to what extent it matters to national security, whether there’s a safety risk… Is there anything else to consider?”

Once again, Palin didn’t miss the cue. She said, “We can answer each one of those questions ‘absolutely.’” “Instead of relying on foreign sources of energy,” she said, “Warehoused up on our north slope… are those rich resources and hydrocarbons.”

Van Susteren let Palin’s misrepresentation – that ANWR would replace foreign sources of energy – stand unchallenged.

Instead, Van Susteren gave Sarah Palin an opening to attack Obama – by disingenuously “asking,” whether Palin would be “happy” to escort Obama around ANWR: “I’m not suggesting a political stunt or anything but just on the straight up and up, I take it if President Obama would come up here and just take a look…for himself… you’d be happy to escort him around.” Paging Jon Stewart! It might be time to dub this tactic "the Van Susteren mark," as distinguished from “the Cavuto mark,”

Predictably, Palin took the bait. “Absolutely, and if President Obama chooses not to come up to Alaska, before he continues to makes these decisions on locking up more lands… I will be even more disappointed in him and his administration, along with a whole lot of other Americans expressing our disappointment that he will not at least make the effort to come up.”

I can’t wait to see Part 2.

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