CNN Wonders 'What If' Oil Hit $200 a Barrel
As if record-high gas prices werenât enough, CNNâs âYour $$$$$â speculated about âwhat ifâ oil were to spike to $200 a barrel.
âWell, if you think it is bad now, it could get worse and it could get worse pretty fast. Fasten your seat belt; fill âer up, because as you say, it could get a lot worse,â special correspondent Frank Sesno told host Ali Velshi on the May 10 show.
Yes, $200 a barrel, Sesno said: âHard to imagine? Think again.â
Sesno said with oil at that level, prices at the pump would reach $6 per gallon. Other analysts have concluded that prices will settle far before we reach that extreme prediction.
The $200 mark is the new media fantasy. A recent NBC News report insinuated CNBC contributor John Kilduff was predicting that price, though on CNBCâs âThe Callâ the same day he suggested oil would top out in the $130s per barrel.
Though his numbers were merely figments, Sesno worried viewers with the ripple effects of such pricey oil. Venezuelaâs Hugo Chavez âhas threatened it,â he said, while âprominent Wall Street analystsâ think âthere is a high likelihood oil could go to $200 a barrel and beyond.â And were prices to reach this level, food, heating oil, transportation and refrigeration would all experience accelerating price increases.
Sesno conceded that âa lot of people dispute this $200 a barrel scenario,â but didnât include any of those people in his report. On the contrary â he featured industry analyst Matthew Simmons, famous for his âpeak oilâ view that world oil supply has already reached its highest point.
âA lot of people dispute this $200-a-barrel scenario. They say thereâs plenty of oil,â Sesno said. âBut $200, even $300-a-barrel oil is a what-if scenario people ignore at their peril, argues Matthew SimmonsâŚâ
Simmons told viewers, âThis is the biggest threat to sustainability of the 21st century and itâs right on our doorstep. Itâs not two years away, itâs here, and itâs in our front room.â
Sesno concluded: âCheap oilâs done. $100 a barrel may end up looking like a bargain in a very short time.â
As has become so common in media coverage of rising gas prices, Sesno brought up oil company profits. âSome will make money,â Sesno said of the oil price rise. Simmons continued, âOil company profits, like it or not, are gonna go through the roof.â
The Business & Media Institute has found that network reporters covered oil companiesâ profits 14 times as often as they covered the profits of OPEC â an actual cartel that controls supply and directly affects prices.
Velshi said CNN had been âpolling extensively to see where our viewers think gasoline prices are going.â
âOur viewers think weâll hit $5 a gallon this year.â No wonder.
Amy Menefee contributed to this report.