Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Crude, Oily, Executives

So now we find out that big oil executives are no better than tobacco executives. According to documents leaked to the Washington Post, oil executives lied to Senators last week when they said their companies did not speak to the Vice-President’s energy task force. These guys give new meaning to the term “crude oil.” When you say Conoco, put the emphasis on CON. Shell game? BP - Big Prevaricaters. EXXON, Exhonest.

I guess the oil executives thought they were safe since the Vice-President’s Office has refused to tell who was interviewed by the energy task force. Why the secrecy? Could it be that the Vice-President doesn’t want to show how much input oil executives had on administration policy? Maybe they were embarrassed by having sent a bill to Congress that gave huge tax benefits to oil companies at a time they are making huge profits. Maybe they realize that while they can see the big picture, we can't. And even if we might be able to understand, it is just too much aggravation to try.

And now the Republican refusal to ask oil executives to be sworn in before testifying to the Senate committee sounds more sinister. Did someone know these guys might need to lie?

I am more outraged by these shenanigans after reading yesterday about the internal investigation at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that showed that its former chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, broke federal law in his attempts to politicize PBS. This Republican, Bush appointee believed PBS, the Public Broadcasting System, (and the show "Now" in particular) was too liberal, even though polls show that Americans rate the public network as the most fair in its coverage. I don't think that it is just Republicans who are arrogant enough to believe only they can see the truth. But now that they are in power, they certainly believe that any action taken to serve these truths is justified.

By the way, even before Tomlinson tried to gut "Now", that program and its host, Bill Moyers, were my examples of how a news/commentary show should be run. Even when Moyers interviewed people he admitted on air he didn't agree with, he did so with respect and civility. He didn't try to shout them down, humiliate them or embarass them. He even asked questions, believe it or not, that were intended to help him understand the issue from the other person's point of view. Given today's TV climate, it was very refreshing.

I believe this administration is using a new twist on the old philosophical debate, “If a tree fell in the forest and no one heard it, did it actually make a sound?” Their new version is, “If you tell a lie and no one can prove it, is it really a lie?”

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