WashPost Reporter Tosses Jon Stewart Into Oil Profit Story

I dont' know about you, but when I think petroleum industry expert, I think Comedy Central's Jon Stewart.

Okay, I don't, and The Washington Post's Tomoeh Murakami Tse probably doesn't either. But that didn't stop the Post reporter from tossing the liberal comedian into her story on oil profits:

The big numbers have become a popular target of politicians in an election year and fodder for late-night comedians.

Wednesday, Jon Stewart told his "Daily Show" audience that BP PLC's
$7.27 billion profit meant that the British oil giant made $55,000 a
minute during the quarter.

"How did they do it? It's not just
unmitigated greed. BP's secret is they drill into banks," Stewart said,
as the image of a drill boring through a ceiling into a vault popped up
on the screen.

Even I got a bit of a chuckle out of that, but it doesn't help Post readers understand the economics of the oil industry, including how the "terror premium" factors heavily into the price of oil given political unrest in Nigeria, Iran's sabre-rattling, Hugo Chavez's anti-American rhetoric, and of course the uncertainty in Iraq.

Aside from repeating Stewart's laugh line, Tse focused her story on the criticisms of a left-wing group. Of course Tse omitted any reference to the group's ideology:

"Once again we see Exxon competing with itself for record profits,"
said Shawnee Hoover, campaign director of Exxpose Exxon, a group made
up of environmental and public interest advocacy organizations that was
formed last year.

Exxpose Exxon's member organizations include such sensible middle-of-the road organizations as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and MoveOn.org.

Exxpose Exxon also supports a windfall profits tax that most economists, including a former Clinton adviser, warn would harm consumers and oil company investors, particularly millions of investors who hold oil stocks in their retirement funds..

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.