Factually Incorrect With Bill Maher

Posted on Tue 05/04/2010 by


Todd ThurmanBy Todd Thurman

(If you consider yourself a respected commentator, social critic, TV Host and stand up comic, then sometimes, before opening your mouth and placing your foot directly inside, it just might be worthwhile checking your facts first. Things like this really do have a way of coming back and biting you on the fundament…..TonyfromOz)

During the weekly round table discussion on ABC’s This Week, Bill Maher made an astonishing claim. He claimed that Brazil has “gone off oil” in the last 30 years. He said:

So, you know, I could certainly criticize oil companies, and I could criticize America in general for not attacking this problem in the ’70s. I mean, Brazil got off oil in the last 30 years. We certainly could have.

Well, Mr. Maher certainly has an odd view of what constitutes “getting off oil” because according to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Brazil is the 13th largest producer of oil in the world, pumping out 2.4 million barrels a day. A lot of Brazil’s oil comes from offshore drilling sites. Since the discovery of the offshore oil in 2008, Brazil has aggressively tried to extract that oil.

While Maher correctly stated that Brazil does use sugar cane ethanol, but it does not account for their entire energy needs. Brazil still gets most of their energy from crude oil and diesel reserves. More damaging is the fact that planting sugar cane is causing more deforestation and more carbon emissions in Brazil. Not exactly what those fighting for ethanol mandates are hoping for, but this is the reality in Brazil. In fact, the left-leaning Grist magazine noted that there was much to worry about Brazil’s ethanol “miracle” and the U.S. should think twice before following the same plight.

It would behoove Mr. Maher to actually check his facts before he spews them out on national television. Thankfully, George Will was there to counter his ridiculous claim.

Todd Thurman is the Online Marketing Manager for The Heritage Foundation’s Strategic Initiatives, and he contributes posts at The Foundry.

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