Friday, December 19th, 2014

On 'This Week,' Bill Maher calls for a fact-checker

The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico dominated the discussion in the Roundtable segment on ABC's 'This Week.'
The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico dominated the discussion in the Roundtable segment on ABC's 'This Week.'

A major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico prompted talk of offshore drilling and energy policy on ABC News' This Week.

As we fact-check some of the statements we heard on Sunday, we'll update this page.

To start out, we couldn't resist fact-checking a claim from liberal commentator Bill Maher, who sparred with conservative George Will on Brazil's energy sustainability.

"Can we have judges factcheck this on Brazil?" Maher asked.

Maher said, "I could certainly criticize oil companies and I could criticize America in general for not attacking this problem in the '70s. Brazil got off oil in the last 30 years; we certainly could have."

We checked into whether Brazil "got off oil in the last 30 years." We found Brazil still consumes a great deal of oil, ranking No. 7 for countries that consume the most oil in 2008. We rated Maher's statement False.

We're looked at the comments of Lamar McKay, the chairman and president of BP America, the oil company that operated the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Host Jake Tapper asked him about a letter the company wrote in 2009 in opposition to increased regulation from the federal government.

"The rest of the letter actually recommends improvements and specific recommendations around safety regulations should they choose to change them," McKay said. "So we're not fighting anything about safety."

While it's true the letter proposed changes to the regulations, most of BP's suggestions were to minimize or restrict the regulations. So we rated McKay's statement Barely True.

We'll be updating this story on Monday with additional fact-checks.