Wash. Post Notes Popularity of Gas Price Conspiracy Theories Among General Public
Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson devoted an October 6 Business section article to how ‚ÄúConspiracy Theories Abound as Oil Prices Fluctuate.‚ÄĚ Yet while Mufson gave credit to CNN‚Äôs Miles O‚ÄôBrien for dismissing conspiracy enthusiasts, he left out how O‚ÄôBrien‚Äôs colleague Jack Cafferty entertained the notion on the network.
‚ÄúYou know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away,‚ÄĚ Cafferty mused on the August 30 ‚ÄúSituation Room.‚ÄĚ Cafferty again raised his suspicions on the September 2 ‚ÄúIn the Money,‚ÄĚ a weekend business week-in-review program which he anchors as panel moderator.
‚ÄúCertainly the thought had crossed my mind. I mean, the oil companies have a vested interest in seeing that the Republicans remain in control of the federal government,‚ÄĚ Cafferty told fellow panelist and CNN reporter Jennifer Westhoven before quipping, ‚ÄúThey wouldn't pull prices down before the mid-terms now, would they?‚ÄĚ
While Mufson credited O‚ÄôBrien for dismissing conspiracy theory-peddling bloggers as a ‚Äúgrassy knoll group,‚ÄĚ the Post reporter failed to mention career journalist Cafferty‚Äôs toying with the price-fixing theory.
What‚Äôs more, while O‚ÄôBrien may not believe that oil companies are artificially driving prices down in order to help political allies in the November elections, he has previously hinted that a run-up in prices was not merely a matter of supply and demand.
As the Business & Media Institute reported on Oct. 28, 2005, O‚ÄôBrien slammed petroleum firms for their profit margins, accusing them of ‚Äúprofiteering‚ÄĚ while asking if they had violated ‚Äúsome law‚ÄĚ and insisting that prices were set higher than should have been when adjusted for the rising price of oil.
Among the findings, the FTC found ‚Äúno evidence to suggest that refiners,‚ÄĚ ‚Äúpetroleum pipeline companies‚ÄĚ or oil companies acted in a concerted effort to spike prices. What‚Äôs more, the FTC concluded, it was practically impossible for ‚Äúone firm ‚Äď or a small collusive group ‚Äď to manipulate gasoline futures prices.‚ÄĚ