Fox Rushes To Defend Oil Companies After Senate Hearing

Fox News has rushed to defend oil companies in the wake of a Senate hearing in which oil executives were questioned about whether their companies should continue to receive tax subsidies. This follows Fox's long history of defending oil companies from criticism.

Fox Rushes To Defend Oil Companies After Senate Hearing

Kilmeade On Hearing: “This Time, The Oil Execs Were Ready To Fight Back With This Thing Called Facts.” On the May 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade stated that the “average American” is “interested in why it costs $100 to fill up their SUV.” Kilmeade then said: “What do you do if you're a lawmaker? You haul up the high-priced CEOs of the major oil companies and you blame them. Only this time, the oil execs were ready to fight back with this thing called facts.” Fox & Friends then aired clips of comments from oil executives during the May 13 hearing. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/13/11]

Kilmeade Says Of Ending Tax Subsidies For Big Oil: “It's A Feel Good Move For People Who Think We're Spending Too Much.” Later on the May 13 Fox & Friends, Kilmeade stated that ending subsidies for oil companies is “a feel good move for people who think we're spending too much.” Co-host Steve Doocy replied, “Right. Exactly right.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/13/11]

Discussing Hearing, Barnes Falsely Suggests That Ending Tax Incentives Would “Drive” Gas Prices Up “If Anything.” Discussing the hearing during the May 12 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News contributor Fred Barnes stated: “Any increasing of the taxes on the oil companies, you know, the more you tax something, the less you get of it. So, that would drive the price up, if anything.” In fact, as Media Matters has noted, energy experts say that cutting the tax incentives will have little to no effect on prices at the pump. [Fox News, Special Report, 5/12/11; Media Matters, 5/10/11]

Cavuto Says That Some Senators Were “Barking Like Asses” During The Hearing Before Showing Clips Of Democratic Senators. On the May 12 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto opened the show by stating of the hearing:

CAVUTO: Well, talk about your dog-and-pony shows. At least someone had the good sense to bring a picture of a dog and pony, because, when it comes to parading out oil CEOs today to rip them over their tax subsidies, more than a few senators barking like asses.

Cavuto then aired clips of the hearing featuring Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez, and Jay Rockefeller criticizing oil company tax subsidies. Cavuto then hosted Chevron CEO John Watson to defend oil companies, asking him during the interview, “Did you feel that you were just part of a kangaroo court?” [Fox News, Your World, 5/12/11]

Fox Nation: “Oil Execs School Preening Senators.” A May 12 Fox Nation headline about the hearing stated:


[Fox Nation, 5/12/11]

Fox Has A Long History Of Defending Oil Companies, Including BP Following Gulf Oil Spill

Fox Uses Suspect Statistic To Downplay Oil Company Profits. During the Senate hearings with oil company executives, Fox News figures attempted to downplay the record profits by using a misleading comparison between industry profits and taxes placed on the gas that is sold to American consumers. Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano cited the statistic which suggests that while oil companies only make 7 cents for every gallon of gas sold, the government collects a full 88 cents per gallon. As Media Matters noted, that statistic is not only misleading and baseless, it appears to be calculated by ExxonMobil with no explanation of how the company reached the figure. [Media Matters, 5/12/11]

Fox Guest Ferguson Complains Obama Is “Making These Oil Companies Into Evil Companies.” During an appearance on Fox News, radio host Ben Ferguson argued against Democratic proposals to roll back tax breaks for the largest oil companies by declaring that ExxonMobil - which according to Fortune's 500 is “by far the most profitable” corporation in the country -- doesn't actually make that much money.

FERGUSON: [Obama] should also stop making these oil companies into evil companies. I mean, look at the profits the other day of Exxon. They posted $11 billion in profits. They paid 10 billion of those dollars in profits went to taxes.


FERGUSON: There's a lot of companies out there that deserve tax breaks so that they operate and employ people in the United States of America. And if we're getting $10 billion out of $11 billion in profit from Exxon, which is the facts, and they're making about 3 cents on every gallon of gas right now, I think they deserve to do business here just like every other business so we keep Americans employed. [Fox News, America Live, 5/10/11;, accessed 5/13/11]

Varney: The Federal Government Has “Demonized” And “Looted” BP. Appearing on Glenn Beck, Fox Business' Stuart Varney stated, regarding claims against BP, following the 2010 oil spill: “BP was prepared to meet all genuine claims, all viable claims. It said frequently it would pay legitimate claims. Not good enough for the government. They have successfully demonized and now looted BP.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 6/16/10]

Hoenig: Congressional Hearings Are “About Humiliating CEOs And Demonizing Big Oil.” Appearing on Fox Business' Cavuto, guest Jonathan Hoenig stated: “Well, this wasn't about solutions, Neil. This wasn't about cleaning up the oil spill. This is about humiliating CEOs and demonizing big oil, not unlike the Toyota hearings, not unlike the bank hearings. I mean, that was the purpose of today's hearings.” [Fox Business, Cavuto, 6/15/10

Varney: Obama's Response Is To "[D]emonize BP, Seize Its Assets, Raise Taxes On Energy." Appearing on Hannity, Varney stated: “The administration's response can be summed up as follows: Demonize BP, seize its assets, raise taxes on energy, and therefore raise prices, pile on regulation, appoint a commission, all to gloss over the failure to deal promptly with the oil spill. And then give us pipe dreams about a green future.” [Fox News, Hannity, 6/15/10]

Palin: "[W]e Can't Afford To Demonize" BP. On The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News' Sarah Palin complained that “we can't afford to demonize these energy producers to such an extent, though, that they go under. We do need to work with them, though, but we need to verify everything it is and hold them accountable for all that they have done in this situation.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 6/15/10]

Fox Has Also Defended Federal Subsidies To Oil And Gas Companies

Doocy: Pelosi Mentioned Oil Subsidies, But “Why Didn't She Mention The Big Subsidies To NPR Or Planned Parenthood ... While She Was At It?” On the April 20 edition of Fox & Friends, the co-hosts discussed some of Obama and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's recent comments on the GOP's budget priorities. From the show:

DOOCY (co-host): Welcome back. Are Democrats turning to scare tactics to attack the GOP's budget plan?

[start video clip]

OBAMA: I want to live in a society that's fair. [cut] It improves my life. If there are young people out there who are going to good schools and have opportunities -- if -- if I'm not, you know, driving by and seeing homeless folks on the streets --


PELOSI: They're voting to end Medicare as we know it while it gives big subsidies to big oil. Tens of billions of dollars to big oil while asking seniors to pay $6,000 or more than they do now.

[end video clip]

DOOCY: Why didn't she mention the big subsidies to NPR or Planned Parenthood there while she was at it? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/20/11]

WSJ's Moore Falsely Claimed “The Price Of Gasoline And Oil Is Going To Go Up,” If “You Raise The Taxes On Gasoline And Oil.” From the May 10 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Stephen Moore repeated the false claim that eliminating subsidies for the oil and gas industry would result in higher gas prices “at the pump.” From Happening Now:

STEPHEN MOORE: The problem I have with though, this circles back to the whole issue of when we pay for gasoline at the pump. If you raise the taxes on gasoline and oil, the price of gasoline and oil isn't going to go down. The price of gasoline and oil is going to go up. [Fox News, Happening Now, 5/10/11]