Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Chavez Worse than Bin Laden?

Reported by Judy - December 9, 2006 -

Fox News pushed the line on Saturday (December 9, 2006) that Hugo Chavez is an enemy of the United States and that consumers should be willing to pay $5 a gallon for gas in order to bring him down.

Neil Cavuto, host of "Cavuto on Business," made the unsubstantiated claim that, "Hugo Chavez hates America and calls our enemies its friends. Yet we do a lot of business with him, to the tune of more than $170 millon a day in oil that we buy, so should we get our fuel elsewhere even if it means that gas could cost a lot more?"

The apparent instigator of this segment was a right wing pundit, Frank Gaffney, former assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan and neo-con with the Center for Security Policy, who claimed that the U.S. is transferring "enormous amounts of wealth" to Venezuela and called Chavez "despotic."

Jim Rogers, author of "Hot Commodities," dismissed Gaffney's concerns, saying Chavez might be "nuts," but if the U.S. stopped buying Venezuelan oil, he would merely sell it elsewhere. Rogers and Gregg Hymowitz, of Entrust Capital, quibbled with each other about whether ending purchases of Venezuelan oil would have a long term impact on U.S. gas prices, but Hymowitz agreed not buying Venezuelan oil was pointless.

As Joe Piscopo, an actor, a Democrat, and founder of Positive Impact Foundation, said, "It’s better to get it from the Chavezs then it is from the bin Ladens," a point that apparently had not occurred to Gaffney.

Michael Farr, of Farr, Miller, and Washington, also slammed Chavez, calling him a "bum," but adding, "You can’t have it both ways. He was democratically elected," another fact that Gaffney did not want to deal with.

In the end, Gaffney proved to be too extreme in his fear-mongering for even a Fox News panel. That probably won't keep him from showing up again on Fox News, unfortunately.

The worst part of the segment is that Cavuto never told his audience who pays Gaffney's salary. Gaffney's employer, the Center for Security Policy, is largely funded by the family foundations of oil and banking billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. And according to mediatransparency.org, those foundation holdings were in Gulf Oil, which tried to take over Citgo, or Cities Services as it was known, in the 1980s, before Venezuela acquired it.

Gaffney just might have a little conflict of interest here, as an oil-funded think-tank employee attacking another oil company.

(Correction: As a reader pointed out, Gaffney works for the Center for Security Policy, not the Center for Security Studies. Both are funded by the Scaife foundations.)