Speaking to a meeting of the Television Critics Association on Saturday, Lee said journalists should expose what he called the real story.
He argued that it's unlikely that "abracadabra, presto chango" the vast majority of the oil has vanished from Gulf of Mexico waters and coastal wetlands.
Federal scientists said last week that nearly three-quarters of the oil has been removed by various artificial or natural means, but that the spill's effect on wildlife will long continue.
Lee was promoting his new documentary about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. "If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise," a follow-up to his 2006 film about the hurricane, debuts Aug. 23 and 24 on HBO.
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