CNN Wonders 'What If' Oil Hit $200 a Barrel
As if record-high gas prices werenâ€™t enough, CNNâ€™s â€śYour $$$$$â€ť speculated about â€śwhat ifâ€ť oil were to spike to $200 a barrel.
â€śWell, if you think it is bad now, it could get worse and it could get worse pretty fast. Fasten your seat belt; fill â€™er up, because as you say, it could get a lot worse,â€ť special correspondent Frank Sesno told host Ali Velshi on the May 10 show.
Yes, $200 a barrel, Sesno said: â€śHard to imagine? Think again.â€ť
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 CNBCâ€™s â€śThe Callâ€ť 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. Venezuelaâ€™s Hugo Chavez â€śhas threatened it,â€ť he said, while â€śprominent Wall Street analystsâ€ť think â€śthere is a high likelihood oil could go to $200 a barrel and beyond.â€ť And were prices to reach this level, food, heating oil, transportation and refrigeration would all experience accelerating price increases.
Sesno conceded that â€śa lot of people dispute this $200 a barrel scenario,â€ť but didnâ€™t include any of those people in his report. On the contrary â€“ he featured industry analyst Matthew Simmons, famous for his â€śpeak oilâ€ť view that world oil supply has already reached its highest point.
â€śA lot of people dispute this $200-a-barrel scenario. They say thereâ€™s plenty of oil,â€ť Sesno said. â€śBut $200, even $300-a-barrel oil is a what-if scenario people ignore at their peril, argues Matthew Simmonsâ€¦â€ť
Simmons told viewers, â€śThis is the biggest threat to sustainability of the 21st century and itâ€™s right on our doorstep. Itâ€™s not two years away, itâ€™s here, and itâ€™s in our front room.â€ť
Sesno concluded: â€śCheap oilâ€™s done. $100 a barrel may end up looking like a bargain in a very short time.â€ť
As has become so common in media coverage of rising gas prices, Sesno brought up oil company profits. â€śSome will make money,â€ť Sesno said of the oil price rise. Simmons continued, â€śOil company profits, like it or not, are gonna go through the roof.â€ť
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 â€śpolling extensively to see where our viewers think gasoline prices are going.â€ť
â€śOur viewers think weâ€™ll hit $5 a gallon this year.â€ť No wonder.
Amy Menefee contributed to this report.