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Stealing Greenwald's thunder part II - more "war profiteering" on O'Reilly (not)

Reported by Chrish - August 25, 2006 -

John Kasich sat in for Bill O'Reilly tonight 8/24/06 on The Factor, but as they've done on previous shows, there were a number of pre-taped interviews with O'Reilly that were merely introduced by Kasich. Is it mere coincidence that the segment they dug out of the archives was headlined "war profiteering?"? This News Hound thinks it's part of an orchestrated plan to diminish the impact of Robert Greenwald's upcoming expose, "Iraq for Sale: the War Profiteers."

(Plug: Order it now in time for October screenings; click the link. The film promises to be a devastating look at the huge corporations, connected to this administration, who are profiting obscenely from the war in Iraq.)

The segment was an argument between O'Reilly and Jonathan Hoenig of capitalistpig.com, a FOX weekend regular, about the record-breaking profits that the big oil companies are racking up as gas prices soar.

They argued apples and oranges. (Actually, oil and gasoline.)

O'Reilly wanted to know why, if consumption in the US was flat from 2005 to 2006, the oil companies were posting these enormous profits. Hoenig reminded him that oil is a global commodity and demand is exploding in China, which has everything to do with the price of oil; Exxon doesn't set the price of il.

O'Reilly related that his gas station guy, Rudy, told him that he gets a call from his distributor telling him what price to set; when Rudy asked who told the distributor, he says "Exxon did." So, O'Reilly insists, Hoenig is wrong to say that Exxon is not setting the price of its own gasoline.

Hoenig said that he was surprised that O'Reilly didn't learn anything about Economics 101 at Harvard and of course, O'Reilly raised his voice in indignation and said "I'm just telling you what Rudy said!" Hoenig interjected "ask him what his profit margin is" and O'Reilly said he didn't care, it's none of his business. (LOL) Hoenig, who was talking about the price per barrel of oil, insisted that 1. Exxon doesn't set the price of oil and 2. the profit margin is one of the lowest of any industry; the profits are so huge because their sales are so huge.

O'Reilly misquoted him in real time: "You just said, you just said, you just said on this program, in front of millions of people all over the world, 'Exxon doesn't set the price of its gasoline." Hoenig replied "They don't, they don't set the price of oil!" Gaaaa!

O'Reilly replied (both fingers blazing) "I just told you that they do. And now you're off into profit margins!"

Hoenig asks and answers, could they set the price at twenty dollars a gallon? (O'Reilly, in the background, says with utter certainty "they'd be arrested.") No, Hoenig says, it's a highly competitive market, and if Rudy sets his price at $2.15, the guy around the corner is going to set his at $2.13. O'Reilly retorts that it's not competitive, there are six companies, it's a cabal, and profits are profits. Oil companies are making more money than in the history of civilization, "in the middle of a war." Each time Hoenig tries to explain the reason for the profits , O'Reilly repeated "in the middle of a war" while shaking his finger at Hoenig; very effective way to make HIS point and not let Hoenig make his.

Hoenig did get to mention the instability in the Middle East as a factor in the rising prices, and suggested that if O'Reilly wants to get mad at gouging why doesn't he go after Starbucks? $2.50 for a cup of coffee! O'Reilly says that nobody has to buy it ( oh, yeah?) but everybody has to buy oil. He is mixing oil and gas like they're the same thing, which makes him unqualified to even have this discussion. AND, he says,

"oil can only work in cooperation with the United States government. It's a partnership. And they're screwing us, their partners."

Well, that was entertaining. It definitely fell into that 60% crap category that David Letterman identified. O'Reilly may have voiced Joe Chevy's exasperation with high gas prices and outrage at record oil industry profits, but he totally didn't make a case that the oil companies were "profiteering."

In a now familiar tactic FOX is taking a charge leveled at the Bush administration (fascists, systemic election fraud and now, finally, war profiteering) and re-directing it elsewhere. They've upped the ante from an $18 tee shirt to oil company profits, but compared to what's going on in Iraq, well, apples and oranges. Make that molehills and mountains. Iraq for Sale must have them very worried.