News & Politics

Maddow Discusses How Shell's Arctic Drilling Sh*tshow Keeps Getting More Ridiculous

Shell accidentally revealed info to journalists via a hot mic, then media outlets quoted a spoof Shell site as real.

On last night's episode of her MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow discussed the latest developments in the grounding of a Shell artic drilling rig off the coast of Alaska.

Taking a situation from bad to ridiculous, Shell officialls accidentally revealed some new information to reporters, when a conference call line was accidentally opened up, allowing journalists to hear practice remarks from Capt. Paul Mehler. From those rehearsal remarks, journalists learned that Shell had been able to land some experts on the rig, which had lost control and subsequently been evacuated recently. The experts found that there may in fact be some damage to the rig, which contains 150,000 gallons of fuel and oil. The fuel tanks were reportedly "mainly intact," but "they did see one that was sucking and blowing a little bit." (As you might've guessed, that's bad.)

So that's how we have to get information from Shell, apparently: on accident.

But wait, there's more: then news outlets accidentally picked up a report from a spoof Shell arctic drilling website set up in part by the Yes Men. You know it's good satire when it's  "so close to reality it ends up fooling people," as Maddow notes. It's like a three-ring circus, the whole thing!

Watch the Maddow segment below.

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Lauren Kelley is the activism and gender editor at AlterNet and a freelance journalist based in New York City. Her work has appeared in Salon, Time Out New York, the L Magazine, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter.