ABC Chafes Over 'Breathtaking Profits' for Exxon, the 'Enriching' of Its Shareholders
Reporter Betsy Stark asserted: "The earnings reported today are astounding. In three months, Exxon earned $114 million a day, $80,000 a minute. Or, look at it this way: In 30 seconds, the ExxonMobil corporation makes about what an average American family earns in an entire year." (ABC charges more for a prime time ad than many families make in a year, but it's an equally silly comparison. A better one: Charles Gibson earns more in a day than most make in a year.) Stark fretted that “Exxon said just $4 billion went to exploring for new sources of oil. But $6 billion went to buying back its stock, enriching its shareholders.” How awful. But those two expenditures match the total of Exxon's profit, a number Stark conveniently failed to report verbally or on screen. Stark concluded by noting how “Democrats denounced" the profits announced by oil companies. Well, Stark and ABC certainly advanced the Democratic agenda. (Transcript follows)
Gibson teased at the top of the ABC newscast: "Breathtaking profits: The company that's been making $80,000 profit every minute. And you paid for it at the pump." Before an ad break, Gibson plugged an upcoming look at "the oil giant making more in 30 seconds than many families earn in a year."
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams cited “jaw-dropping profits” and how for ExxonMobil that “translates to about $79,000 a minute in profit," but at least he informed viewers of the actual dollar figure:
“Second quarter earnings reports have been coming out all week and oil companies have been reporting more jaw-dropping profits. Today the big daddy of them all, ExxonMobil, reported a profit of ten billion, 360 million dollars. That is the second highest profit on record. First place, by the way, belongs to ExxonMobil's own profit from the last quarter of last year. By the way, that translates to about $79,000 a minute in profit.”
CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer refrained from such silly per-minute comparisons.
ExxonMobil's press release on its estimated second quarter (April-June) earnings.
Now, a full transcript of the July 27 story on ABC's World News with Charles Gibson:
Gibson, anchoring from Washington, DC, over “Mega Profits” graphic: “Oil companies this week are reporting their profits for the second quarter of 2006. And today, ExxonMobil reported a profit number so big, it was staggering, even by oil company standards. ABC's Betsy Stark takes a look at the numbers.”
Betsy Stark began: “The earnings reported today are astounding. In three months, Exxon earned $114 million a day, $80,000 a minute. Or, look at it this way: In 30 seconds, the ExxonMobil corporation makes about what an average American family earns in an entire year.”
Unidentified man: “They're clearly getting rich at the expense of their customers.”
Stark: “The profits of Exxon, BP, Shell and Chevron are up an average of 39 percent since last year. That's two-and-a-half times the average profit gain of the nation's biggest companies. And how did big oil spend its windfall? Exxon said just $4 billion went to exploring for new sources of oil. But $6 billion went to buying back its stock, enriching its shareholders. And today, Exxon said it will spend another $7 billion buying back more stock.”
John Felmy, American Petroleum Institute: “It's important to remember that the companies a not owned by space aliens. They're owned by millions of Americans who need dividends, who have invested their hard-earned savings in these companies. And they're the true owners.”
Stark concluded from the side of a Manhattan street: “The industry says its profits are not excessive. But once again today, Democrats denounced the companies' profits, calling for quick relief for consumers. Betsy Stark, ABC News, New York.”