Friday, May 29, 2009

The Humor in Private Businesses Establishing "News" Sources to "Accurately" Report What's Going On Today

While looking for mor info for the story on the conressional inquiry into Petrobras, I tried to use Google news after getting everything I could from Brazilian media. The pickings were surprisingly slim, so I clicked on a story whose headline was, "In a Hamstrung Oil Industry, Petrobras Will Rule." I was curious where an article like that was headed, so I clicked on it. This is as far as I read:

While the US under President Barack Obama is performing a self-castration in its energy prowess and posture, Brazil, under Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a firebrand socialist and not a particular friend of the US, is poised to emerge as an energy superpower.
Obama and many of his core supporters have a mystifying aversion to energy, perhaps the most important commodity in the modern world and arguably the one that closely equates to power.

Well, that certainly was not the tack I thought such a headline might take, and I quit reading right there. I haven't seen a "news" story be so wrong in a long-time. Obama as castrator? Riiiight - if, by "castration," we mean "taking small steps to reduce dependency on oil that are meaningful but not enough." And Lula as a "firebrand socialist?" Only if Obama is a "moderate socialist." And as for the whole "friend" thing, well, Lula has criticized the U.S., yes, but that has not stopped him from working with the U.S. on issues like energy policy, even under Bush. Lula has always been a diplomat, a gentleman, and a "friend" to the U.S. So, to summarize: wrong, wrong, and wrong.

And the best part was, in case you didn't get the message, the image at the top of the story? That's right - Lula and the Petrobras president on their recent trip to Cuba, looking off into the distance while a giant image of Che hovers ominously behind them. Even though they aren't in Cuba now, and I'm fairly sure they could have access to a lot of other photos of either Lula or the Petrobras president. But why bother, when a communist specter who has been dead for over 40 years can be used?

I tried to find out more about exactly who the "Energy Tribune" worked for. A quick google search (and I mean quick) didn't come up with much, but really, I just had to look at the "jobs" link at the ET's own site, where member sites included "Global Oil Watch" and "Pipeline & Gas Journal" (really?) were listed to learn all I needed to know. I was actually grateful, though - no pretending at objectivity, no Orwellianism - the editors and author just laid it all out there in the first two sentences for anyone to see where they stood, saving me (and others) a lot of time of having to read further. Plus, it offered me what ended up being my biggest laugh of the day yesterday.