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Raymond J. Learsy Headshot

With Oil at Plus $90 Highs Where is the Outrage of the Press!?

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It is quite incredible to me, with the price of oil at $90 a barrel plus, how benign the media has been in determining the cause of these vertiginous levels. Banalities abound. Its China and India (this even though China's oil imports have been the lowest in 20 months), it's the dollar, its production constraints, its peak oil, its lack of refining capacity (the interlocutor never being asked to explain why if refining capacity is constrained, thereby limiting the consumption of its feedstock-crude oil- that the price of crude should go up-Ecomomics 101?). And on.

I would like to share with you a comment message I received to my post "A Short Tutorial on the High Price of Oil and the Falling Dollar", 10.19.07. not for self congratulation but simply to highlight this incredible dilemma of comatose engagement:

Dear Raymond,
Thank you for your enlightened posts on the oil industry. As a former energy editor of Business Week, I understand only too well why you are nearly alone in pointing to the immense culpability of the oil industry when it comes to the skyrocketing price of oil. The industry has deftly avoided any responsibility for $90-a-barrel oil prices, thanks partly to our corporate-run media, and thanks partly to our oil-run executive branch of government. Please keep up the good work!
Log in | posted 11:33 am on 10/19/2007

I have not watched every discussion on the price of oil choking the airwaves these past days and weeks, but enough to get a sense of the game. Let me give you but one example.
On a CNBC segment just yesterday morning aptly entitled "Over a Barrel" a group of talking heads were asked to hold forth on the current oil market and its impact. With heart rending pathos we were enlightened to the current plight of OPEC. OPEC we were told, is in a difficult situation. They are tapped out. They are producing all they can. Even if they would like to help, they can't. Without going deeply into the patent nonsense of these observations here ( I have done so in numerous previous posts) one simple question could have been asked. "Why can not OPEC at the very least , reinstitute the total 1.7 million barrels of daily output they cut from their production quota earlier this year? How far beyond $90/bbl does their greed extend?" That question was not asked here nor have I heard it asked elsewhere, when and where I have had an opportunity to listen. What I have heard over and over again is how much OPEC is doing to try to accommodate the world's market needs with nary a hard question in rebuttal.

It is time the press and our government wake up to the grim realities of this issue.

Raymond J. Learsy is the author of "Over a Barrel - Breaking Oil's Grip on Our Future"