CNN's Velshi Misstates Exxon Earnings

     Even when ExxonMobil misses their own earnings estimates, some in the media still express indignation it posts any earnings.


     “Maybe not a record, but nobody’s crying poverty,” said “American Morning” anchor John Roberts about the ExxonMobil numbers.


     CNN business reporter Ali Velshi also got in on the profit bashing shortly before the company’s earnings were released.


     “In about a half an hour I’ll come back and tell you how much money they made and all the happiness will be gone,” said Velshi in his “Minding Your Business” segment near the end of the 6 a.m. hour.


     In order to make the point that ExxonMobil was earning too much, Velshi compared an investment in the Standard & Poor’s 500 to an investment in Exxon.


     “Nothing wrong with a 90 percent increase over ten years [referring to the performance of the S&P 500],” Velshi said on July 26. “But, ExxonMobil has more than doubled its money and it’s almost doubled twice in ten years. So just a—a note that while the rest of us have been fueling these profits, as it were, for the last many, many years, some folks have actually been doing okay by it.”


     But Velshi’s own eagerness to dramatize ExxonMobil’s (NYSE:XOM) earnings may have caused him to commit a gaffe immediately after the ExxonMobil’s quarterly earnings were announced.


     “ExxonMobil reporting quarterly earnings of $10.26 billion a share, John. We’re on this and we’re going to continue to find out where that money is being made,” said Velshi during the 8 a.m. hour.


     Velshi misspoke. ExxonMobil actually showed a second quarter earning of $10.26 billon, or $1.83 a share. That’s down a $100 million from this time a year ago.


     Maligning the oil and gas industry was a theme for “American Morning” on July 26. Like other journalists have tried to scare viewers with $4 a gallon gasoline predictions, Roberts hyped the threat of higher prices.


     “And some people predicting that we’re not far away from $100-a-barrel oil,” Roberts said.


     Oil was trading near $77 a barrel on July 26 according to Associated Press. In July 2006, the media were also worried about $100-a-barrel oil as evidenced by a BusinessWeek story. However, after a late summer spike in 2006, oil tumbled and fell to nearly $50 a barrel in early 2007.  


     ExxonMobil has been one of the media’s favorite targets anytime gasoline prices increase to meet market demands.