COMMENTS: Big Oil

NBC's lead on the high prices of oil focused on what Tom Costello called "a nationwide day of protest" as independent truckers parked their rigs to register dismay at the skyrocketing cost of diesel fuel. A tank full of fuel now costs $1,189, which is a $352 increase in just twelve months. The plight of the trucking industry had already been covered last week by Chris Bury (embargoed link) on ABC and Nancy Cordes on CBS. Costello showed us clips of stalled semis from New Jersey to Tampa, from Chicago to Connecticut.

ABC and CBS focused on Capitol Hill, where a House committee called in executives of the five major multinational oil corporations--ExxonMobil, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, Shell, BP--to ask about their prices, their profits and their tax breaks. When one congressman inquired whether they had thought about cutting into their record high profits in order to reduce retail prices, CBS' Chip Reid heard "an awkward pause" followed by "an aggressive defense of market economics." To paraphrase the executives: "Their profits are so big because their companies are so big."

ABC's Lisa Stark (embargoed link) heard the executives "fighting to retain" a tax break that Democrats wanted to redirect to research into alternate energy. Yet the decade-long tax break amounts to just $18bn in full while the five firms made $123bn in profits in a single year. CBS' Reid played the soundbite from ExxonMobil: annual profits--$40bn; annual investment in renewable energy--$100m.


You must be logged in to this website to leave a comment. Please click here to log in so you can participate in the discussion.