"Beck Falsely States The U.S. Bought Alaska In The ’1950s’ So We Could Drill"
While appearing on Fox & Friends this morning, Glenn Beck managed to make a trio of mistakes when he attacked the Waxman-Markey clean energy bill passed by the House last week. The Fox News pundit falsely asserted the legislation’s effect on our oil dependency would be “none.” Beck then pointed out, incorrectly, that the U.S. purchased Alaska in the “1950s” and that we did so because of our interest in its “resources,” a subtle way of advocating for more drilling in Alaska:
CARLSON: But nowhere in that bill is anything about reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
BECK: None. […]
You know Donald Trump, I want to talk to this guy. When he was on the show just a few minutes ago I was thinking how can you not be laughing at us? How can the world not be laughing at us? We have all these resources. Why did we buy Alaska in the 1950s? We bought Alaska for the resources. And now we say no!
During his weekly address on Saturday, President Obama specifically focused on how the legislation would help lift “our dependence on foreign oil.” Obama said the bill would “spur the development of low carbon sources of energy,” which includes wind, solar, and geothermal power. He added the bill would result in “new energy savings like the efficient windows,” thereby reducing “heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer.”
Beck’s attempt to rewrite history to fit his talking point is also troubling. For clarification, Alaska was purchased in 1867 for $7.2 million and soon became known as “Seward’s Folly,” named for Secretary of State William H. Seward, because at the time it was widely regarded as foolish to spend so much money on remote tundra. (Perhaps Beck was thinking of Alaska becoming the 49th state in 1959.) The resources the U.S. was after in 1867 weren’t oil, but fish, furs, and the prospect of closer proximity to Russia from the North American continent.