Remember That Three Quarters Of The Oil That Has Disappeared?

Yeah, it turns out that study the White House put out there wasn’t exactly peer-reviewed. Human Events has the story

Met with much skepticism nationwide, the White House touted a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report out the first week of August stating nearly three-quarters of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico by BP had been cleaned up or dispersed.

One NOAA scientist told Congressional investigators yesterday that the White House released the report — not NOAA — and the report was not peer reviewed as the administration claimed.

According to a release by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a NOAA scientist, Dr. Bill Lehr, yesterday told a group of Congressional staff investigators on a conference call that a NOAA report claiming that nearly three-quarters of the oil from the Gulf oil spill has already been addressed was released by White House officials and not scientists at NOAA. The NOAA scientist told congressional investigators that the data backing up the assertions made in the report is still unavailable and that peer review of the report is still not complete. Officials at an August 4 White House press briefing had said that the report had been thoroughly peer reviewed.

“This is yet another in a long line of examples where the White House’s pre-occupation with the public relations of the oil spill has superseded the realities on the ground. It is deeply troubling that White House officials apparently preempted the completion and review of a scientific study on the oil spill by NOAA scientists in order to tout conclusions that many experts believe may be deeply flawed,” Issa said.

It’s not a particular surprise that we would get propaganda from the federal government. After all, that study was used to generate a media narrative that the spill wasn’t so bad after all (which remains true to an extent, but only because of the irresponsible prior media narrative that it would eventually soil every beach on the Atlantic and coat the Gulf a foot thick with oil) and thus the Obama administration’s response to it wasn’t so bad. Even the Times-Picayune bought into that one earlier this week with an inexplicable piece touting Obama’s spill response.

Except while there are lots of areas within the state where fisheries are not ruined by the spill – and Louisiana shrimp are perfectly fine to eat if they make it to market, there’s still a whole lot of oil out there. And while we’re all grateful that the threat from BP’s oil is gradually receding now that the well has been capped for a month, the effort to push the spill off the front page by use of the same kinds of BS studies and propaganda that have accompanied much of the rest of the administration’s agenda and self-description is becoming a threat in and of itself.

Already the economic effects of the moratorium are beginning to hit like a hurricane in South Louisiana, with no relief in sight, and already the handoff to Kenneth Feinberg’s office of BP’s claims process has caused a bottleneck for those affected by the spill. But the narrative that things weren’t so bad, that Obama did fine, that the Gulf is unaffected is the one which has prevailed at long last.

Would that were true. It’s what we all wish were truth. But it lacks basis in reality. And it undermines the credibility of those who require it to function.



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