Media Ignore OPEC's 'Toying' with Oil Output
An official within an international oil cartel recently suggested calling an â€śemergency meetingâ€ť to arrange for oil production cuts in an attempt to drive up the price of oil. Although the move follows a smaller production cutback by OPEC member states Venezuela and Nigeria in late September, the mainstream broadcast media have paid little if any attention to the development.
â€śWe are toying with the idea of an emergency meeting,â€ť Nigerian oil minister Edmund Daukoru was quoted in an October 5 BBC News article, adding that other OPEC members â€śagree that something needs to be doneâ€ť to bring up slipping oil prices.
Almost a week earlier, The New York Timesâ€™s Jad Mouawad reported in the September 30 paper about the â€śmodest moveâ€ť by Nigeria and Venezuela to curb oil output. Mouawad reported that oil traders â€śinitially shrugged offâ€ť the news but that â€ścontradictory statements from senior OPEC representatives have raised doubts about the oil cartelâ€™s strategy.â€ť
Yet From September 29 through October 5, none of the broadcast networks reported on OPECâ€™s oil production considerations, and CNN reported on OPEC only once, on the October 3 â€śAnderson Cooper 360,â€ť according to a Nexis search.
In contrast to its lack of coverage of the oil cartel â€“ of which Venezuelaâ€™s Hugo Chavez and Iranâ€™s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are members â€“ CNN toyed with the idea of a Republican conspiracy to lower gasoline prices at least three times recently.
As the Business & Media Institute reported, on the August 30 â€śSituation Roomâ€ť and the September 2 â€śIn the Money,â€ť anchor Jack Cafferty entertained the conspiracy theory that oil company executives were driving down gasoline prices to boost Republicans in the November elections.
â€śI mean, the oil companies have a vested interest in seeing that the Republicans remain in control of the federal government,â€ť Cafferty told â€śIn the Moneyâ€ť panelist Jennifer Westhoven.
In March, the Business & Media Institute published a study showing that while the media routinely criticize oil executives for alleged greed, Venezuelaâ€™s Chavez has gotten a pass from the media, with little critical coverage. For example, of 139 Chavez-related news stories from 1998 to early 2006, only four stories mentioned that Citgo is wholly owned by Venezuelaâ€™s state-owned oil company, and only 14 stories mentioned human rights abuses by the dictator.