Former liberal talk radio host Jim Hightower emerged from his present-day obscurity to spew venom at wealthy oil executives on national television Tuesday night. Hightower appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes to comment on the news that Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson has joined a lawsuit to block construction of a 160-foot water tower near his property in Texas. The tower would supply water for, among other purposes, hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking.
This was notable to MSNBC because Tillerson, whose company engages in fracking, cited concerns about fracking-related noise and traffic in the lawsuit. So, naturally, the hypocrisy alarm went off in the Lean Forward network’s newsroom. But for Hightower, it wasn’t enough to call Tillerson a hypocrite. He had to go further. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
In an interview with Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson aired on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer pushed the oil company executive to reject a plan by Newt Gingrich to lower the price of gas: "Newt Gingrich is promising Americans that he can deliver gasoline at $2.50 a gallon. Is he being truthful with the American public, in your opinion?"
Tillerson responded: "Well, I haven't seen his specific plan for doing that. I guess the thing that might concern me would be, would you be taking some short-term action simply to achieve a short-term result that could, in fact, be very detrimental to the longer term security of energy, moderate pricing of energy for the country?"
Maybe it was a stab by Charles Gibson to provide a national group therapy session for his 8 million viewers, but the ABC "World News" anchor aggressively questioned ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson on the August 14 broadcast for "obscene" profits and asked him to "justify" the company's success.
"As we said earlier, Rex Tillerson - who is the board chair and CEO of ExxonMobil, doesn't talk often to the press," Gibson said. "His company has reported remarkable profits in the first half of this year. The high price of gas brought ExxonMobil close to $22 billion in profit - in profit - for the first half of this year. I asked him how he justifies that amount, that some see as obscene."
But Tillerson explained to Gibson it was the nature of a large business that performs an incredible amount of transactions.
"Gas prices hit yet another record high this morning and as you suffer, the oil giants are making billions," co-host Meredith Vieira teased at the top of the "Today" show. Well, with an introduction like that, viewers should expect a fair interview, right?