Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The Myth That Keeps Giving

Amid the heated debate over whether to open more U.S. territory for energy exploration, a handful of congressional Republicans continue to repeat a "fact" that has been thoroughly disproven -- that China is drilling for oil just off the coast of Florida.

The survival of the China drilling factoid is a good illustration of the D.C. echo chamber. The idea that such drilling was occurring gained big media attention when Vice President Cheney said in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that "oil is being drilled right now 60 miles off the coast of Florida. But we're not doing it, the Chinese are, in cooperation with the Cuban government. Even the communists have figured out that a good answer to high prices is more supply."

Cheney cited as a source a June 5 column by George F. Will, and several other Republicans had repeated the charge by the time Cheney said it. But Will has since corrected his original assertion, saying: "While Cuba has partnered with Chinese companies to drill in the Florida Straits, no Chinese company has been involved in Cuba's oil exploration that close to the United States." Cheney's office has also acknowledged it wasn't true.

But the idea that communist China and Cuba have teamed up to drill oil just off Florida while the U.S. sits out the game has proven to be just too juicy not to repeat. The blog TPMElection Central has been gleefully tracking the number of congressional Republicans who keep making the same assertion.

Most recently, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) repeated the charge to the Ft. Collins Coloradoan, which pointed out to her that it wasn't true. Her office later acknowledged that she "misspoke." Other Republicans who have made variations of the same debunked point include Reps. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Virgil Goode (Va.), Jean Schmidt (Ohio) and Sam Graves (Mo.), who was smacked for it today in a column in his hometown paper, the Kansas City Star.

The Internet is fueling this trend in both directions. On one hand, the growth of blogs and e-mail makes it easy for an untrue assertion to be repeated so many times in so many places that people will believe it (see this obvious example). On the other hand, fact-checking sites, digital cameras and the all-powerful YouTube make it more likely that people who repeat the China drilling story will get caught saying it. It will be interesting to see how much longer this particular myth will live on.

By Ben Pershing  |  July 2, 2008; 11:39 AM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Agenda  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Don Young Brings Out the Big Guns
Next: Support Grows for More Oil Drilling


(12:01 pm EDT) The link on the main page has a typo; it sends to "hhttp://..." instead of "http://..."

Posted by: klewis | July 2, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I say let the Chinese and the Cubans drill for oil off our coast -- we owe the a debt of gratitude! After all, we are using Chinese torture techniques to extract false confessions at a military prison on Cuban territory.

Posted by: Maximus | July 2, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Not since the years of Jimmy Carter has the United States faced a greater energy crisis. While there are no shortages at the pump or plans to ration supplies, our nation's neglect of energy infrastructure combined with a collective "not in my backyard" mentality has sentenced us to dependence on unstable and hostile regimes around the world. With supply and demand in such fragile balance, any political instability, terrorist attack, or shift in diplomatic relations could quickly send oil prices soaring further crippling our economy. We need more domestic drilling and we need it now.

Posted by: Jimbo | July 2, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse


Instead of drilling which will take 15 years to extract the oil, wouldnt it be better to find alternatives? i bet in 15 years we could be off oil instead of drilling it. And we would be out of the Middle East..

Posted by: American First | July 2, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

The Kansas City Star is not Sam Graves' hometown newspaper. He is from Tarkio, Missouri, not Kansas City.

Posted by: KCer | July 2, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The USA oil market is being ran by men of capital gain only. These big shots aren't smart enough to realize foreigners will take advantage of the present dilemma and rapidly push these brief case carryiing gangsters out of the market. China should drill. I have heard of no logical reason for the cost of gas to rise on a daily basic, there is no reports of what is being done to alleviate this madness.

Posted by: deeCole Montg. Al | July 2, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

In india people are driving cars POWERED BY COMPRESSED AIR!

Why don't Ford and GM make a car that does that?

Burning oil for energy is the LOWEST value use of the respource - Pharmacuticals, lubricaton, and plastic mfg are FAR more valuable to the nation.

The US version of the compressed air powered car hits the market in 2010

It seats 6, 95 mph, 800 mile range, $2 FILL UPS and NO OIL REQUIRED!

I don't want to wait until 2010!

Posted by: JBE | July 2, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

...this ranks right up there with the myth about the "NAFTA superhighway" that was supposed to cut a swath several football fields wide through the midsection of the country between Mexico and Canada.

Now, while there is a road called the "NAFTA superhighway" (Interstates 35 and 69, at some point, have been discussed as such), there's no plan to create a behemoth like that described in the whopper of the myth above.

Michael Dobbs wrote about this in his Fact Checker column several months ago.

Posted by: dirrtysw | July 2, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we need a federal Bureau to Uncover Lying Liars ( Cabinet level, of course, to be close to the source of the problem. First offense, you're grilled on TV by either Bill O'Reilly or Keith Obermann, depending on which one you offended most. Second offense, 10 hours trapped in an elevator with the guy who sells Video Professor. Third offense, you get to be The Decider's official mush mouth to English translator until January.

Posted by: maxfli | July 2, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

No, no, no...nice try though, but you can't blame "this" on the Internet. Bloggers heard this first from the Dee Cee set, who heard it from...wait for it...the 527 Media. As usual, like the Democratic shills that you all are, you are trying to shift blame. Sorry...we have Google these days.

Posted by: Matt Hurley | July 2, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Why does everybody assume that alternatives to oil will be on line sooner than drilling for oil now?

Posted by: Stick | July 2, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

If Congress had continued to increase fuel efficiency standards over the last 22 years, we would currently have more than sixteen times the savings in oil consumption than what Senator McCain's plan promises to accomplish in 20 years by drilling offshore in protected areas -- and a proportionately larger impact on gas prices.

Check it out:

Posted by: EAC | July 2, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

President John Kennedy said it best about DC, 'where there is smoke, there is a smoke-making machine'.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I heard from somebody who heard from Fox News, which quoted a source who supposedly said that Obama is a gay, muslim, atheist, womanizing, drug-using,
alien from Planet Zoom, undocumented, Commie-Pinko, no-good lying, radical black militant christian-muslim-atheist-whatever,
baby eating , vegetarian.

Posted by: Factoid | July 2, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

American First wrote, "Instead of drilling which will take 15 years to extract the oil, wouldnt it be better to find alternatives?" Haven't liberals been saying that for 30 years? Since development always takes several years, the liberals always say it won't help us now, so let's forget it. If we had refused to listen to them 30 years ago, we'd have plenty of oil now.

Plus, there is currently no way to make renewable energies replace oil without making costs skyrocket. Yes, electric cars are being developed and will help. Solar and wind power are expanding. But, we will still need some oil, even if less, for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: Bruce | July 3, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

The Bureau of Land Mgmt just issued a rule putting a 2-year moratorium on all solar projects on western BLM controlled lands so that they can start to assess environmental effects.

Because these projects are venture-capial based, this is the death knell to those projects. These are projects that would have easily been 'on-line' in less time than any new oil would have increased the WORLD market [which is what we're talking about here, folks, not 'American' oil] by the 0.7 percent [that's less than one percent of the world marekt assuming that the market is the same ten years from now] that is the maximum estimated to be gained by any oil found in both Fla and the Arctic.

The Bush admin is actively seeking to destroy other approaches outside of oil - which would demonstrably decrease american dependence on oil - while trying to increase the oil profits of companies whose barrels of output would in any event go onlhy into the world market to be repurchased by america in ten years.

Posted by: dsa | July 3, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

How much oil would be saved by the most extreme conservation methods? Air has to compressed to run a car. Where is the energy supposed to come from to compress the air?
Electricity is required for electric cars? Where does the energy come from to provide the electricity? I do not believe it would take 10 or 15 years to drill, build the refineries and get the gasoline on the market from new drilling.
Nay sayers don't want to drill, don't want to refine, don't want nuclear, don't want wind (it will kill birds and spoil the view from second homes in scenic areas), don't want solar (it will disrupt the environment), don't want hydroelectric (it will destroy the habitat for some small creature).
Do they want cap and trade so that more control can be put on people's lives?

Posted by: Donald W. Bales | July 3, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

If supplies are so tight and we must import our oil, why are we diverting more than half the oil pumped from our Alaskan pipeline to the Japanese? Why are we still pouring millions of gallons of crude in The Strategic Oil Reserves?

Our military is largest consumer of oil in the world. Want to save millions of gallons of fuel? Bring our guys home from Iraq and Afghanistan and while were at it make Israel find and pay for their own oil.
The Israelis are now demanding that we (taxpayers)pay for an enormous pipeline from central Iraq to Haifa.
Well, keep up the good work Cpngress.......Not!

Posted by: jsbar | July 3, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Hitler was right. Tell a lie long enough and people will believe it. People that is who belived all the hear and read by the media. False hoods are becoming the main trend in our political world. The old saying goes as such, "the first liar is usually the best one and idiots retell the lie over and over"

Posted by: | July 4, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Lets shed some light on the elected. Lets see if we can put this trouble we're having in or government under a light. We are at fault, as the voters. You look at the past, we say we want change, but in return we take the same crooks, or inapt people and place them back in or appoint them to another elected office. So who are the fools, we are. If you have gang-green you don't just put a bandaid on it, you get rid of that part. As you can see, by the way you live things are getting out of control due to our inapt actions. KK in Detroit, GRAN-HO and him work together in the past, his mom and dad are both in or have been in office. So the apple dosen't fall far from the tree. Look at the hole Detroit is in. M.C. her hubby, elected person in our Government, I'm sure he is no better then her, just not cought, will the FBI start looking in to him as well, I trully hope so. But, lets go on, Gran-Ho, has been in goverment for who knows how many years, and was working with them, and she followed the same path, empty promisees, and continued failing economy, with no change. We took that CLOWN and put him in the WHITE HOUSE twice, after he came from Texas, and WE elected another person from one office to another, our fault again. Gran-HO, Im sure has her EYES on another post in our GOVERNMENT and as stupid as we are we're going to put her in, so she can screw us some more. How many favors has she done to ensure her that she'll get a spot in Congress, or House. We are just following that old saying, THE GOOD OLD BOY PATH.

Now we need to change the path we have been destroying ourselfs with. Lets get off the path by saying NO MORE, THIS IS NO LONGER EXCEPTED. You know how we change this, I can tell you.

First, No more then one elected spot, for anybody. This will stop the you vote for this and I'll vote for that. NO ONE holds office , ANY OFFICE IN OUR GOVERNMENT for more then 4 years. You keep the same person in the same spot for a long time he makes a lot of friends, and he owes them this and that, they owe him this and that, GOOD OLD BOY CRAP AGAIN. This will stop that crap cold. Along the same thought, if you keep electing the same people you never get any new ideas, as with most people once they think their idea is the only good they fight for that and never look beyond that thinking. No new ideas ever reach the forefront, and we keep following the same DESTRUCTIVE PATH.

You have several key indicators what this is happening to us in AMERICA today. 1. You have no one making any real changes over the last 20 years, they are wasting millions on stupid things, hearing on BASEBALL, how much did that cost us, OIL hears that did NOTHING but waste time and money. ECT.. 2. As the AMERICAN people are losing JOBS to other COUNTRIES you have people in office saying, MORE FREE TRADE, and as we are facing the prospect of more, or higher unempoyment then in the last 20 years they say allow more illegal immigrants in and let them become legal. Why would I let someone that broke the law to start with stay here, knowing he'll brake it again. Even if he doesn't brake it again we open the door for more of the same by condoning the actions of the last guy we said, it's OK our laws don't mean anything anyway. BRAIN-LESS BUSH on the 4th went to a really and said wecome to new AMERICANS. What are these JOKERS doing, and I might ask JUST WHO IS PAYING THEM, can't be the people that put them in office, they'ed be looking out for us,RIGHT. 3. For anyone to approve the change to NAFTA that our GOVERNMENT did allowing our AMERICAN COMPANIES to leave the UNITED STATES, and make there products with FOREIGN labor and SHIP them back for the AMERICAN people to BUY, JUST ISN"T AMERICAN, HOW MANY JOBS WHERE LOST FOR CORPORATE PROFIT. How much MONEY did these guys make of this CRAP, I might also ask how much money changed handes for this to pass through our government, and what will it cost to buy the politicians back to help the AMERICAN people that employ them, (remember they all have a price just more for some then others) 4. As I read lately, some state is trying to lease one of there bridges to some foreign company for 75 years, Detroit selling or leaseing the tunnel for 50 or 75 years. I was unaware that the infrastructure of the UNITED STATES was up for sale, for any amount of money, but really a foreign country, or company, nor did I know that these fools had the right to sale it, or even lease it out. I do beleive that is the property of THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES, there taxes paid for it, more money, because I might file a suite myself and ask for Detroit to pay for my LAWYERS. This is like me selling the city of Warren to Japan, even if I don't own it. Budwiser, turns down and offer to buy the company (there board) and this FOREIGN company is taking them to court, or asking them to be removed, what is this crap.

I could go on for weeks writing this kind of stuff, HOWEVER WE NEED TO STOP THIS TREACHERY NOW. We need to stop our government from killing off its own people. Their power has gone to there heads and pockets, these people feel they can do what ever they want and it's is KILLING US, they need to be kicked to the curb. We could really do as Detroit is. Go after these people in office for FAILURE TO FULFILL THEIR OATH IN OFFICE TO REPRESENT THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, MISREPRESENTATION, FRAUD AND A WHOLE HOST OF OTHER CHARGES. Because if we continue to wait we are going to be sold to the highest bidder, do to these clowns in office. We can know longer sit and wait to see what happens your, mine, our, GOVERNMENT is killing us off and selling of the AMERICAN way of life and dreams for whos best interest not ours, theirs and their pockets.



Posted by: Roger Fisher | July 7, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company