Niall Ferguson Smacks Down Bill Maher’s Claim Fracking Supporters Defend Contaminated Water

June 15th, 2013 12:35 PM

HBO’s Bill Maher once again made a fool of himself on national television Friday.

After making the truly absurd comment during a discussion about hydraulic fracturing, "How anyone with children defends contaminated water I’ll never know,” the Real Time host was thoroughly smacked down by economist Niall Ferguson (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):

As one of his special guests, Maher brought on schlockumentary filmmaker Josh Fox to once again spread widely discredited falsehoods about fracking offered in his pathetic film “Gasland.”

Fox and Ferguson got into numerous tiffs during the segment, with Maher finally wanting to move on to another subject.

Before he did, Maher mentioned that fracking isn’t just happening in North Dakota. There are wells being built in California.

Fox agreed, and mentioned that they’re fracking “directly on top of the Newport-Inglewood fault line."

“You’re exaggerating the environmental costs,” interjected Ferguson, “and you’re totally understating the economic benefits. And the only people cheering you on are the Russians, Gazprom, who share your views by the way.”

“Who are the beneficiaries of this?” Fox asked.

“The beneficiaries are your documentary,” smartly responded Ferguson.

Enter Maher to make an astonishingly stupid statement: “How anyone with children defends contaminated water I’ll never know.”

Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway struck back, “I have four of them, I don’t like contaminated, excuse me, I have four of them.”

“Nobody’s defending contaminated water,” Ferguson said pointing at Maher. “That’s a cheap shot. Nobody is making that case. That’s a completely cheap shot.”

Pointing at Fox now, Ferguson continued, “We are arguing here about the science. We are arguing here about the contamination which is exaggerated in your film.”

Fox hit back saying, “There's a very wide distance between people talking about this issue in the media and what it feels like to be out there as Americans who are facing down multinational oil companies who will do the classic exploitation model.”

“What you are doing is scare mongering,” correctly countered Ferguson. “You’re doing scare mongering. 25 years from now you will have been shown to be wrong.”

“I don’t believe that’s the case,” Fox replied.

“I don’t think so either,” Maher agreed.

“We’ll see,” said Ferguson.

That led Maher to make another absurd comment: “We shouldn’t be using fossil fuels anymore. We should be moving on to the next generation.”

Of course, Maher’s clueless crowd applauded this without realizing that natural gas INDEED IS the next generation and represents America’s best chance of becoming energy independent.

But that wasn’t the most absurd thing said in this segment, for the schlockumentarian added, “I’ have news for you though. We have renewable technology right now. We don't need a bridge. We don't need another 50 years.”

It’s amazing that people so clueless are taken seriously.

What we have undeniably learned in recent years – especially with all the money the Obama administration has thrown at unsuccessful green energy companies – is that we don’t yet have a renewable energy technology that can compete financially with fossil fuels. They’re just too expensive and can’t exist on their own without government subsidies.

Ferguson tried to make this point, but Fox continually interrupted him saying, “I don’t think I’ve been able to talk once without you coming in.”

“You’ve said far more,” Ferguson struck back. “You know what? You had vastly more air time than you deserve.”


Fox much like Al Gore is a charlatan; even the New York Times published a piece in 2011 exposing the many errors in Fox’s pathetic film. For a more detailed debunking of "Gasland," go here.

With all that said, despite the fireworks - or maybe because of them - this was probably the best panel Maher has had on in quite some time. The other guest was Jonathan Alter.

Having two real conservatives on - instead of the RINO's Maher usual invites - made for a lively exchange that was both entertaining and informative.

As I've noted in the past, Maher should make it a "New Rule" to always have at least two "real" conservatives on the panel rather than the faux ones who just agree with him.

Makes for far better television.