A Classic Case of the “Shaggy Defense”

A Classic Case of the “Shaggy Defense”

A Classic Case of the “Shaggy Defense”

BP, Transocean and Halliburton elude blame one after the other when asked about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.


Nation DC Editor Chris Hayes guest-hosts the Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday and reports on the recent BP oil spill which has left those in charge—BP, Transocean and Halliburton—employing the Shaggy Defense. What is the Shaggy defense? In a 2000 hit song, “It Wasn’t Me,” from singer Shaggy, a man finds himself caught red handed in an affair. Yet with each interrogation, he responds with an excuse and a catchy refrain: “It wasn’t me.”

Likewise, the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill has those in charge using the Shaggy Defense non-stop. In a circular blame game, BP pinned the blame on Transocean, Transocean returned the blame to BP. Transocean added that the blame also falls on Halliburton—the company responsible for the cement job on the oil well.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey joins Hayes to discuss his new bill that would ensure that those responsible for the spill will be liable for all damages. Currently, BP’s liability stands at $75 million, which he believes is about $9 billion short. “When commercial fishermen are harmed, when shrimp fishermen are harmed, when seafood processing plants are harmed, when those coastal communities lose tourism and on and on and on, their liability is $75 million,” says Menendez. “That’s ridiculous. So, we want to raise that to $10 billion.”

—Clarissa León

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