What's a Billion Between Adversaries? CBS Overreports Exxon Profits In Piece Slamming Oil Companies
Jumping the gun on the other networks, "CBS Evening News" reported on the April 26 broadcast that ExxonMobil would report a $9.4 billion profit for the first quarter of 2006. The actual figure, released the morning of April 27, is an $8.4 billion profit, a $1,000,000,000 difference. This isn't CBS News's first time being sloppy with numbers.
The Free Market Project previously reported how CBS exaggerated the rise in natural gas prices heading into the winter of 2005-6:
While [CBS report Jim] Axelrod correctly blamed rising natural gas and oil prices on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaging oil and gas facilities in the Gulf Coast, the CBS reporter known for hyping $6-a-gallon gas in Atlanta just after Katrina devastated New Orleans, exaggerated the cost of natural gas, saying “natural gas prices alone could spike by as much as 50 percent.” But in its latest “Short-Term Energy Outlook” released six days before Axelrod’s report, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated natural gas prices will go up only an average of 37.8 percent. Axelrod overstated the cost by about a third. The EIA also found that overall average heating costs would rise 25.7 percent.
The erroneous $9.4 billion projection came in a Byron Pitts piece on oil company profits. Pitts derided the American Petroleum Institute as "an industry trade group spending millions in newspaper and TV ads to convince Americans their profits have nothing to do with your pain."
The sloppy, biased reporting continued as Pitts went on to share the complaint of Citgo gas station owner Sal Sarra railing against oil companies for profit-making. The only problem: Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez is the fat cat who ultimately owns Citgo, a wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the state-owned oil company of the Fidel Castro-friendly regime.