Times Scares Readers with the Crisis Ahead
Magazine story describes a Mad Max future based one the work of one author.
According to The New York Times Magazine, the world is reaching The
Breaking Point for oil production. The 7,400-word Aug. 21 piece by
Peter Maass was a gusher of scaremongering end-of-world predictions
claiming that a crisis is imminent.
The Times piece was the worst of the oil stories over the weekend and qualifies as one of the worst recently. Maass filled his story with comments and views from Matthew Simmons, author of a new book called Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. The story did its best to paint a great scary oil conspiracy as an inevitable crisis ahead, whether in a year or 2 or 10.
The Times piece was the worst specimen of recent gas reporting. Here are some of the latest high and low points:
record: Maass joined the growing journalism crowd calling
oil prices a record. Just as others before him, Maass ignored
basic math and didnt adjust the prices for inflation. John
Roberts called gas prices astronomical on the Aug. 19 broadcast
CBS Evening News. At least Roberts choice of terms is
subjective. Maass was flat out incorrect.
- Easy oil:
The Times story quoted a Chevron advertising slogan saying the
era of easy oil is over. Maass didnt bother to point out that
Chevron is promoting a non-oil renewable energy agenda and that
in 2004 Chevron launched an expanded strategy to integrate
renewable energy applications into the Chevron portfolio. Our
strategy is particularly focused on investing in and advancing
wind and geothermal energy projects, according to Chevrons Web
- Triple digit
levels: Maass cited a threat of oil hitting $100/barrel. But
then he quoted Simmons who said, I wasnt talking about low
triple digits. Yet the same story said that oil prices would drop
again. To quote Maass, So after a brief windfall for producers,
oil prices would slide as recession sets in. And that in turn
would boost economies once again, continuing the economic cycle.
- The sky is
falling: The Times piece did its best to paint a Mad Max
future for the world when oil maxes out soon. The suburban and
exurban lifestyles, hinged to two-car families and constant trips
to work, school and Wal-Mart, might become unaffordable or, if gas
rationing is imposed, impossible. Carpools would be the least
imposing of many inconveniences; the cost of home heating would
soar assuming, of course, that climate-controlled habitats do
not become just a fond memory. Gas rationing and even the
possibility that we might not have climate control? And this was
worthy of a Times magazine cover story?
- Be alert:
The Media Research Centers
Aug. 22 CyberAlert pointed out that George Will on Sunday
scolded the media for its incessant, false reporting about record
high gas prices. According to the CyberAlert, Will pointed out
during the roundtable segment on ABC's This Week, (gas) is less
than it was in 1981, less than it was in 1935.