Monday, August 07, 2006

Safety First or Make 'Em Thirst?

In the 1915 edition of his Fakes in American Journalism Max Sherover adverted to the widespread mass communication practice of

Preparing Us for Higher Prices.

How often have we read articles, editorials and news items on the growing scarcity of beef in America. These articles are usually illustrated with charts, diagrams and photographs and accompanied by confusing statistics These stories are published broadcast. The people who read the news get accustomed to the idea of scarcity of beef. And when a few days later they are informed by the butcher that the price of beef has gone up they take it as a matter of course. They will pay the price or cut down their supply. The press agents have accomplished the desired result. The same is true of the lumber supply, the coal supply, the oil supply and all other necessities controlled by the flimflammers.

Why only today, Monday, August 7th, 2006, we hear that British Petroleum has been ". . . working today to shut down the huge Prudhoe Bay oil field in northern Alaska," reducing US oil production by 8 percent.

Apparently inspectors had found

. . .pipeline walls in more than one location that had been made too thin by corrosion to meet the company’s safety standards. In one area [. . .] the equivalent of four to five barrels of oil had already leaked out of the pipeline and spilled on the tundra [emphasis supplied from sheer scandal].

On Thursday March 20th 2003, the start of the present and ongoing war against Iraq, Brent oil closed on the London Market at $ 28.00. Since then, one bomb has led to another until today, as a consequence of the “unexpectedly severe corrosion, which BP of America, according to its president, “will not commit to a date” for repair, the per barrel-price today exploded by nearly 3% to a corking $78.30.

Taking Sherover’s observations to heart, one might wonder about the possible existence of opportunists in the present energy industry, quietly enriching themselves behind public apology. Hopelessly implausible, I realize. Who would take advantage of an already shell-shocked market (if the pun be at all forgivable) by diddling with the supply coming onto the market?

One does wonder... Is this timely-righted environmental slip and its attendant price chart blip merely a rung on the slippery ladder to the big one: Save the Tundra or Crude? One hundred!


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