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Neil Cavuto Shows His Contempt for the Poor

Reported by Marie Therese - March 9, 2007 -

Neil Cavuto is FOX News Channel's Vice President of Business News. As such he is one of their major power players. In May 2003 in a FOXNews.com letter addressed to economist Paul Krugman he proudly proclaimed that "no one - no one - tells me what to say. I say it. And I write it. And no one lectures me on it." Therefore, when he acts in a manner that is calculated to demean and invalidate a guest, we can safely assume that the nastiness arises from within his own warped soul and is not the result of his fear that he will lose his cushy job. During Tuesday's edition of Your World (3-6-07), Neil Cavuto's behavior towards Rafael Gomez, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for CITGO, was shameful.

After airing portions of a CITGO advertising campaign featuring poor Americans thanking CITGO for providing affordable heating oil, Cavuto set the tone for the segment when he said "Meanwhile America is bad. Hugo Chavez is good. Is that the message that Venezuela CITGO is trying to send with its new ad campaign? ... Well, poor Americans outside in the cold praising Venezuela, a nation run by a dictator who routinely bashes the United States and its President every chance he gets."

One could see that Cavuto was itching to give the hapless Mr. Gomez a rough time. Nothing new in that. FOX News has long savaged Venezuela and its President (who is an elected leader, not a dictator). Chavez recently nationalized the oil industry and drew down upon himself the even more wrath from Neil "Boobs, Boobs & More Boobs" Cavuto and most of the rest of his FOX financial crew.

Maybe they're ticked off because CITGO is not listed on the stock exchange. Maybe FOX News' management just woke up one morning and said "We need a new Hispanic scapegoat." Then again, maybe FOX News really, really doesn't like the idea of an oil-rich country creating a charity to offer reduced-price heating oil to poor people. Or maybe it's all about driving down the price of Venezuelan oil, even though CITGO employs thousands of Americans. But, most probably Cavuto was rude to Mr. Gomez because he is not an American executive. Hugo Chavez removed all of the American execs - or they left of their own accord - and replaced them with Venezuelans, many of whom have no experience in the oil industry. This has left a bad taste in the mouth of the American business establishment ad Mr. Gomez got the brunt of it on Tuesday from pious Neil Cavuto, who daily sits before the great god "Video Camera", beats his breast and thanks God that he is a good Christian and not like other men. Each day he dispenses his syrupy, simplistic brand of self-centered capitalism which always conveniently mirrors the very message that the Bush White House is sending.

Certainly Rafael Gomez must have known that he was entering the lion's den when he agreed to be interviewed on FOX, although from his demeanor I am not quite sure. He seemed an earnest man who made some telling points against Cavuto's snide comments, rude questions, distorted facts and dismissive facial expressions.

Gomez summed up the CITGO program this way: "The only purpose of the ads is to recognize the beneficiaries that are participating in this program. [indecipherable] had to be with this crazy winter, you know, where this cold rain, the snow, freezing temperatures made the people in need suffer more and then we offered that relief to the people. We are offering almost $100 million for 40% discount to attend 1.2 million people. And really we have to hope that, in the future, we - some other companies, some other entities, public or private, can join us for this campaign because it's not enough what we are doing. It's important, but it's not enough."

Cavuto asked the same question that FOX News ran in the chryon, namely, has CITGO been using poor people "to bash America"?

Gomez pointed out that CITGO is an almost 100-year-old American company that employs 4,000 Americans and services 10,000 privately owned gas stations. However, Cavuto would not let him finish, cut him off saying "Stop! You're being a little disingenuous there. It's not an American company. It's a Venezuelan-dominated company. And right now you're concerned, I would think, about the bad press your country gets routinely and a lot of the negative things associated with Hugo Chavez, your leader, so I'm wondering if this is an attempt to address that."

COMMENT: Cavuto himself was being "disingenuous" here. Every corporation that has gone through a bumpy period hires PR and advertising firms to try to reinvent itself. Tobacco companies tout their stop smoking programs. Polluting companies run ads showing clean water and happy kids. Shaky financial institutions create ads populated by craggy-faced impressive men who give the illusion of being rock solid. So why would Cavuto make such a silly argument?

Gomez attempted to answer but Cavuto was so anxious to get to his flag-waving "gotcha" argument, he couldn't wait for his guest to finish, shutting him down by saying "Alright. You're gonna have ta' get off the pitch that you're a great country."

He then launched into a story of "more than a dozen Alaskan villages that teamed up" - even though facing bitter cold and high fuel bills - and refused to accept the Venezuelan offer.

Gomez answered "One hundred and seventy-one tribes from Alaska received the benefits of this program. ... Remember 2005? You have to remember that twelve Senators from the Senate asking all the oil energy companies to give some support, to share in the profit that we are receiving this year ... to support the low income people.

Not willing to concede that his "gotcha" fell flat, Cavuto ended the segment by thanking Mr. Gomez then noting that he had said "some incredible things."

COMMENT

On the contrary, Mr. Cavuto. It was you who made the "incredible" remarks.


You can watch the video at FOXNews.com.

Scroll down the page until you see the FOX MEANS BUSINESS tab. The interview is labeled "Potshots from CITGO?"