CNN’s Obsession With ‘Big Oil’ Profits and Windfall Profit Taxes

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterCNN continued to harp about "big oil’s" record profits and the Democrats’ proposed windfall taxes on companies like ExxonMobil on Wednesday. In an interview of Kansas Senator Sam Brownback on "American Morning," co-host John Roberts was amazed over the Republican’s opposition to the tax proposal. "There were a couple of other provisions in this bill. One of them were to roll back the $17 billion in annual tax breaks so that these five biggest oil companies get. Together, they made... $36 billion in profits in the first quarter this year. Why do they need $17 billion in tax breaks?" Later, during "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer returned to his laser-beam focus on ExxonMobil as a particularly "guilty" part of "big oil." He asked former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, "Explain why it's appropriate at this time of rising gas prices, for ExxonMobil, for example, to get additional tax cuts."

Roberts asked a series of questions which reflected the liberal viewpoint on "big oil" during his interview of Brownback, which began 26 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of "American Morning." After the Senator explained why he opposed the Democrats’ windfall tax proposal in the Senate, that it was a "partisan shot at the oil companies that's going to raise the price of gasoline, not cut it," Roberts asked for a further explanation: "Why do you say it would raise the price of gasoline and not cut it?" Brownback replied, "Whenever we put a tax on things, things go up in price. They don't get -- become more available, and we tried this before with Jimmy Carter." Roberts, however, wasn’t satisfied by this answer: "But you're putting a tax on their profits above a certain point, so the money has already been spent. This is just money that they're taking out of the system."

Later, Roberts brought up the "$36 billion in profits in the first quarter this year" for the five largest oil companies and asked Brownback why they needed the "$17 billion in tax breaks," as quoted above.

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterUnlike Roberts, who didn’t name any specific oil company in his segment with Brownback, Blitzer continued his obsession with ExxonMobil on "The Situation Room." He named the corporation five times during his interview of Romney, the same number of times he named them during his segment with McCain adviser Carly Fiorina on Tuesday. The CNN host brought up the issue of taxes during the second half of the interview, at the 19 minute mark of the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program: "Obama makes the point that under the new tax cuts that Senator McCain is proposing -- cut corporate tax rates out there, ExxonMobil and some of the other big oil companies, they'd reap a bonanza of additional tax breaks right now. Explain why it's appropriate at this time of rising gas prices, for ExxonMobil, for example, to get additional tax cuts."

After Romney gave the conventional Republican/conservative argument, that "[l]owering taxes adds jobs; it adds businesses; it adds employment," Blitzer brought up how Barack Obama "says there should be a windfall profits tax on ExxonMobil and some of these other big oil companies." He then asked the former Massachusetts governor, "But would it be appropriate, do you think, that Senator McCain should have an exemption for ExxonMobil and other oil companies so they won't benefit from a reduction in overall corporate tax rates?" Romney answered by bringing up how "the people making the big money are Russia and Iran and Venezuela -- the people that have the oil." Blitzer then countered, "But ExxonMobil had huge record profits every quarter in recent years."

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center