Wash. Post Notes Popularity of Gas Price Conspiracy Theories Among General Public
Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson devoted an October 6 Business section article to how â€śConspiracy Theories Abound as Oil Prices Fluctuate.â€ť Yet while Mufson gave credit to CNNâ€™s Miles Oâ€™Brien for dismissing conspiracy enthusiasts, he left out how Oâ€™Brienâ€™s colleague Jack Cafferty entertained the notion on the network.
â€śYou know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away,â€ť Cafferty mused on the August 30 â€śSituation Room.â€ť Cafferty again raised his suspicions on the September 2 â€śIn the Money,â€ť a weekend business week-in-review program which he anchors as panel moderator.
â€śCertainly the thought had crossed my mind. I mean, the oil companies have a vested interest in seeing that the Republicans remain in control of the federal government,â€ť Cafferty told fellow panelist and CNN reporter Jennifer Westhoven before quipping, â€śThey wouldn't pull prices down before the mid-terms now, would they?â€ť
While Mufson credited Oâ€™Brien for dismissing conspiracy theory-peddling bloggers as a â€śgrassy knoll group,â€ť the Post reporter failed to mention career journalist Caffertyâ€™s toying with the price-fixing theory.
Whatâ€™s more, while Oâ€™Brien may not believe that oil companies are artificially driving prices down in order to help political allies in the November elections, he has previously hinted that a run-up in prices was not merely a matter of supply and demand.
As the Business & Media Institute reported on Oct. 28, 2005, Oâ€™Brien slammed petroleum firms for their profit margins, accusing them of â€śprofiteeringâ€ť while asking if they had violated â€śsome lawâ€ť and insisting that prices were set higher than should have been when adjusted for the rising price of oil.
Among the findings, the FTC found â€śno evidence to suggest that refiners,â€ť â€śpetroleum pipeline companiesâ€ť or oil companies acted in a concerted effort to spike prices. Whatâ€™s more, the FTC concluded, it was practically impossible for â€śone firm â€“ or a small collusive group â€“ to manipulate gasoline futures prices.â€ť