Aug
24
2012

Pointing Out How the Magician Does His Tricks Would Just Be Rude

Buddy the Bunny in a Top-Hat

In a New York Times story (8/24/12) about Mitt Romney's energy proposals, reporters Eric Lipton and Clifford Krauss make this observation: With gasoline prices again approaching $4 a gallon, Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, is also trying to merge energy and economic policy in a way that will make voters see increased energy production as a pocketbook issue. Note that Lipton and Krauss don't say that increased U.S. energy production will actually affect the $4-a-gallon price of gas and hence the voters' pocketbooks; that would be inaccurate, since oil is a global commodity and it's impossible for the U.S. […]

May
11
2012

Oily Propaganda on ABC World News

If you watch TV news you're bound to see a lot of commercials for oil companies. As Miranda Spencer reported in Extra! (2/12), there are far more commercials about energy companies and natural gas than there are actual news reports about controversial industry practices like hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." But then there are the news segments that might as well be commercials. Last night's ABC World News broadcast (5/10/12) featured a report on the oil boom in the Midwest that looked more like an ad than anything else. "A rising number of Americans are finding a windfall right where they […]

Aug
05
2011

Myth Informing Readers on Offshore Drilling

If the White House encouraged Americans to prevent colds by wearing sweaters, one would hope that media outlets would point out that there's no evidence that being chilly has anything to do with catching a cold. Likewise, if the Interior Department green-lights a plan to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean in order to demonstrate "a willingness by President Obama to approve expanded domestic oil and gas exploration in response to high gasoline prices," as John Broder and Clifford Krauss wrote in the New York Times today (8/5/11), then reporters really ought to point out that expanded offshore drilling […]

Aug
02
2011

PBS in the UK?

There was an interesting piece in the New York Times yesterday (8/1/11) by Elizabeth Jensen about plans to ship PBS programming across the pond. It's a hard concept to get your head around, especially if you're under the impression that Britain's public broadcasting system is superior to our own. That might not be the strangest part, though: W. David Lyons, chairman and chief executive of the Orca Exploration Group, which operates a Tanzanian natural gas field, is backing the PBS UK project financially. PBS described him as "a Canadian-born entrepreneur and venture philanthropist" who "grew up on PBS programming and […]

May
04
2011

Passing Gas at the Washington Post

Calling for more drilling for domestic oil to do something about rising gas prices makes little sense. This should be a simple matter of economics or math–there's not enough oil to recover from U.S. territory to affect global supply, and since oil is a commodity traded on a global market, only an increase in the global supply can affect the price. Nonetheless, one major political party in this country holds out more drilling as the solution to high prices, and thus that point of view is treated with respect. Take the Washington Post piece today (5/4/11) by Juliet Eilperin, headlined […]

Jun
02
2009

From Africa to the Amazon — Big Oil Gets a Pass

Veteran actor and activist Peter Coyote (SFChronicle.com, 5/30/09) writes about big media's overriding response to the "Largest Environmental Lawsuit in History–Silence." Taking a look at "the practices that are going on behind Chevron's carefully cultivated 'green' image" as they "drill for oil in the jungles of the Ecuadorian Amazon," Coyote does give credit to the Washington Post reporting of "several damning letters" like "an internal 1972 memo…instructing Texaco [now Chevron] officials in Ecuador to report only spills that attracted the attention of the news media." Nonetheless: This is a case of epic proportions, where our commons, the lungs of the […]

May
18
2009

MSM Blind to Energy Factor in U.S. Wars

In his introduction (TomDispatch, 5/12/09) to Pepe Escobar analyzing the current politics of the Aghanistan/Pakistan region, Tom Engelhardt describes how "there, the skies are filled with planes and unmanned aerial drones, and civilians as well as combatants die every day in increasing numbers as ever more frequent attacks and expanding conflicts make daily headlines." But there's more to the story: Those are, of course, the front-page stories. Energy, especially in the form of oil and natural gas, fuels everything from civilization to its various discontents and means of destruction, and yet it remains largely on the business pages of our […]