Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Major Oil Field in Brazil and Idiotic, Biased Media Responses

On Friday, Brazil announced that it had discovered a major deep-sea oil field off its coast. The field may hold up to 8 billion barrels, which would be a huge windfall for Brazil. Previously the 24th leading oil producer in the world, this discovery alone now makes Brazil the 9th largest petroleum producer globally. This discovery is due in no small part to the fact that Brazil, lacking any major land-based oil fields, has become one of the leaders of deep-sea drilling in the world, and to the fact that the state-owned oil company, Petrobras, has wisely spent money on both alternate fuels and R&D.

Not surprisingly, as soon as the news was announced, biases already began. Randy does a great job condemning the idiotic "journalistic" treatment that the Wall Street Journal gave. However, idiotic responses did not exist just in the U.S. On Friday morning, on the program "Bom Dia, Brasil" on O Globo (a slightly more news-based "Good Morning America"-type program), the discovery dominated the discussion. However, in true Globo fashion, it immediately followed up what is nothing but good news for Brazil with the "bad news" part that Globo always does with the Lula administration (cynicism towards the government is chronic inBrazil, but Globo has really ratcheted it up since 2002). Alexandre Garcia, ever the harbinger of doom on Bom Dia, Brasil", followed up this story by immediately saying, "But the government has just been sitting on this discovery so it could boost its approval ratings. O Globo reported in 2006 that this field exists".

Already idiotic, his support didn't make his case any stronger. They put up a graphic showing the "news" from 2006 that O Globo originally had before the government (because, of course, the government only has its own oil company - what could it possibly know before O Globo knew?). The headline said (and I paraphrase), "there may be an oil field off of the coastal city of Santos [in São Paulo]." The fact that it didn't say either that there was a field, nor how big it was, didn't exactly strengthen Garcia's case. And then there's the issue of how O Globo got this information in 2006, which Garcia did not mention but which most likely (as is almost always the case) came from Petrobras officials themselves. But none of these "details" mattered - the only thing O GLobo could do was try to smear the government even further while making itself a righteous pariah that knew all this a year ago. Absolutely pathetic.