Media Ignore OPEC's 'Toying' with Oil Output
An official within an international oil cartel recently suggested calling an âemergency meetingâ to arrange for oil production cuts in an attempt to drive up the price of oil. Although the move follows a smaller production cutback by OPEC member states Venezuela and Nigeria in late September, the mainstream broadcast media have paid little if any attention to the development.
âWe are toying with the idea of an emergency meeting,â Nigerian oil minister Edmund Daukoru was quoted in an October 5 BBC News article, adding that other OPEC members âagree that something needs to be doneâ to bring up slipping oil prices.
Almost a week earlier, The New York Timesâs Jad Mouawad reported in the September 30 paper about the âmodest moveâ by Nigeria and Venezuela to curb oil output. Mouawad reported that oil traders âinitially shrugged offâ the news but that âcontradictory statements from senior OPEC representatives have raised doubts about the oil cartelâs strategy.â
Yet From September 29 through October 5, none of the broadcast networks reported on OPECâs oil production considerations, and CNN reported on OPEC only once, on the October 3 âAnderson Cooper 360,â according to a Nexis search.
In contrast to its lack of coverage of the oil cartel â of which Venezuelaâs Hugo Chavez and Iranâs Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are members â CNN toyed with the idea of a Republican conspiracy to lower gasoline prices at least three times recently.
As the Business & Media Institute reported, on the August 30 âSituation Roomâ and the September 2 âIn the Money,â anchor Jack Cafferty entertained the conspiracy theory that oil company executives were driving down gasoline prices to boost Republicans in the November elections.
âI mean, the oil companies have a vested interest in seeing that the Republicans remain in control of the federal government,â Cafferty told âIn the Moneyâ panelist Jennifer Westhoven.
In March, the Business & Media Institute published a study showing that while the media routinely criticize oil executives for alleged greed, Venezuelaâs Chavez has gotten a pass from the media, with little critical coverage. For example, of 139 Chavez-related news stories from 1998 to early 2006, only four stories mentioned that Citgo is wholly owned by Venezuelaâs state-owned oil company, and only 14 stories mentioned human rights abuses by the dictator.