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Big Oil’s Dirty Little Secret

3 August 2008

What’s wrong with the media? Lack of journalistic curiosity and integrity, that’s what!

Today’s Sunday talk shows, Meet the Press, Washington Week and This Week with George Stephanopolous, still couldn’t bring themselves to let go of Paris and Britney, and since it’s Sunday, let’s include Moses – Moses for God’s sake! Are you kidding me? But to be fair, they didn’t waste their entire broadcasts on the silliness that the McCain campaign plunged the race into this past week.

On Meet the Press, Joe Leiberman, the Senator from Jerusalem – I mean Connecticut – in response to a swipe at John McCain on raising taxes to pay for Social Security, the said swipe calling McCain’s statement not a flip-flop but a sex change operation – gave his personal assurance that McCain was all man. This lends credence to my suspicions that Cindi McCain must climb over the top of Senator Leiberman in order to share a moment of intimacy with her husband, John, in bed at night. All I’m saying is that Joe and John look like boyfriends to me. They’re ALWAYS together!

However, I digress. Both Meet the Press and This Week with George Stephanopolous delved into the new Republican trick/tantrum: offshore drilling. Stephanopolous waged a full-frontal assault on Nancy Pelosi for not allowing what the Republicans wanted: a straight up-or-down vote on offshore drilling. He kept on punching her in the face with the Republican line, and she kept fending him off with calls for serious discussions and compromise with the Republicans on a comprehensive energy policy. For many who live down here in Oil Country USA it was better than an Abbot and Costello routine.

Here’s why. The snickering conversation that is going on behind the closed doors of living rooms in the Houston area is that the oil companies and the Republicans are getting away with murder on this issue. Remember, this is Big Red Republican country in a state that prefers bare-knuckle political brawls to discourse around issues. Here’s the deal, and everybody who works in any part of the oil industry knows it: our refineries are working at capacity now, and nobody is planning to build any more refineries. So even if we got hold of billions of barrels of oil tomorrow, it wouldn’t translate to one more gallon of gasoline at America’s pumps. Isn’t that hilarious? A lot of people down here think it is. It’s the new-century’s version of a favorite Texas bumper sticker from the early ‘80s: Drive 90 miles an hour and freeze a Yankee butt this winter.

Yee-haw! Ain’t that funny? Not really, fellow Texans. The last time we played this little game and plunged the rest of the country into a deep recession with our oil greed, the whole thing came back around to bite us in the ass during Daddy Bush’s term. I still remember seeing families with children living under bridges in the Dallas area in the early ‘90s when we got our comeuppance. All of Texas suffered during the oil-bust recession of that period. People lost their jobs, then their homes as the greedy Savings and Loans of Texas faltered and fell.

Now, it must be noted that Big Oil is playing nicer by lowering the price at the pump just as the Republicans face annihilation. Don’t be deceived, America. They’re just trying to help their Republican buddies out and get their hands on those deep-water offshore leases they have coveted since they put Bush and Cheney on the inside.

And that brings us back full circle to the media’s role in all of this. They have not done one thing to dig into this issue and explore the facts. Instead they just repeat the points put forth by big oil and big Republicans: Bush/McCain. They reward a cynical attack from the right aimed at voters in states without beaches or oil and pat themselves on the back for a journalistic job well done. Baloney! If I were your boss, I’d take a broom and sweep out the whole place!

Unfortunately, I am not the boss at any news agency, so I think I’ll take the rest of this very hot summer day and head for the beach. I can hardly wait to dodge my way through the tar balls in the sand and take a dip in the sparkling brown waters of Galveston Island, Texas. Our beaches are beautiful down here in Oil Country USA. Y’all bring your tar remover and come on down on your next vacation, you hear?

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