The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

April/30/2008 21:21PM
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Let’s discuss public relations or influence peddling as some call the practice. First, the Good. Archer Daniels Midland wins the prize. This company spends all of it’s marketing dollars working government offices. Nobody does it better. ADM virtually invented ethanol. They pushed it first as a replacement for lead to boost octane. Then, the first embargo hit, and they saw it as an extender for gasoline. Introduced in Iowa it was fraught with problems. It ate all the rubber hoses in the cars. ADM soldiered on. The embargo was over so gasoline went down and ethanol didn’t, so tax forgiveness was needed. No problem. ADM went to work and got it. Billions of your tax dollars have gone into keeping ethanol competitive with gasoline while letting ADM make obscene profits. $8.4 billion of them in 2007 alone.  Then they got a new idea. Let’s push aromatic limits in the US. Only two solutions. Ethanol and MTBE. Force ethanol into the market through mandate. Got it. Now we’re rolling. Keep the subsidy too. Why not? Still not enough. Let’s get ethanol percentage minimums put into the new energy plan. Mandate percentages of ethanol every year for the next several years. Got it. Keep the subsidy. Drive up food prices. That’s even better since that is a bigger part of ADM’s business. Also, let’s get a 54 cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol so no Brazilian ethanol can come in to compete. Result, a 42% increase in profit for the fiscal third quarter. Last, have your CEO Patricia Woertz rail against what she called "misguided attacks on biofuels". All of this for a product that takes more fossil fuels to produce than the energy gain it offsets. Does it get better than this? You have demonstrated total control over all levels of government in all parties. You get 100% of what you want. It’s a case study.

Next, the bad. Big Oil. No one does it worse. With all of the resources at their disposal the oil companies have botched all of the chances to tell the people in this country their story. They have been like a boxer trapped in a corner and getting pummeled. They have been like this since 1911. The API, the oil trade association has to win the prize for being the worst PR organization in the history of PR. If you read blogs on gas prices you will see that most people still believe the increase in gas prices is due to Big Oil. Hillary reads them. She blasted them again in Indiana and says she knows there is collusion and can prove it. Plus, she will pay for the summer gasoline tax hiatus through windfall profits taxes on Big Oil. Bam, bam, bam, more punches no response. Looks like another round of congressional hearings. No response. Why not spend some of those obscene profits telling the supply demand story? Why not offset what the media does every day to make the public believe they are the problem? Why not learn from ADM?

Lastly, the ugly. The fact that we have elected officials who can be manipulated by ADM. Where is our misplaced trust? Why do we let Hillary and others keep banging on Big Oil and make us  feel like they are helping us? Who is uglier, elected officials or those of us who elect them? Anyone who votes for anyone who plays the same old tune for us that was being played in 1974 is getting what they deserve. Stroked.

Are you mad yet? If not, stay with me, I promise to keep feeding the fire.

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Comments (2)

  1. Ken Dozier says:

    You are correct; Big Oil has a major PR problem and can’t seem to figure it out. Perhaps if you look at how many folks they have in their PR department, vs. the number of attorney’s they have, you’ll find they are spending way too much time and money defending themselves over frivolous lawsuits, Congressional hearings and the never ending environmentalist who continue to try and make their life and business more difficult.

    The Oil Companies are flush with cash, but unfortunately, they are not allowed or encouraged to spend it in a way that will increase production and the alternative fuels we need to secure our supply.

    Hillary will make sure Big Oil profits are reduced by having them spend more money trying to defend her windfall profit taxes, which will not work and will only pass on those costs to the consumer and will continue to limit production.

    She does not have a clue and was very clear about her intentions on Bill O’Riley’s show yesterday.

  2. Bill Robertson says:

    She knows the facts. The facts just don’t work as well as the alternative. O’Reilly on the other hand is truly clueless. He really shows his ignorance on this subject. If he is one of the brightest and most fair minded journalists, what are the rest? The media and the elected officials have convinced the public that we are entitled to cheap gasoline. They can’t get out of the trap they have built.


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