Bill O’Reilly is Pinhead – So are Oil Execs

February 22, 2012spOILed11 Comments

Why does the public hate oil companies? If you’ve watched cable news the last two days you have your answer. With gasoline prices now more than $3.50 per gallon and more than $4.00 a gallon in some cities the national press has rediscovered the importance of transportation fuel. Who’s to blame for these high prices? “Greedy oil companies, of course!”

As usual, most of the national news coverage of the rising price of gasoline has been woefully incomplete, somewhat inaccurate or event completely unhinged. In the worst category is FOX News’s Bill O’Reilly. The last two nights on “The O’Reilly Factor” he’s ripped oil companies for obscene profits. His reporting on this issue is unconscionable, and it’s been that way for years. Those of you who have watched spOILed know that we featured him in the film. Mr. O’Reilly claims to be a thoughtful journalist, and I think most of the time he is. But when it comes to the price of a gallon of gas, O’Reilly willfully ignores the facts so he can pander to “the folks.” What a pinhead.

I think Bill O’Reilly should have his chain yanked, and I’m just the man to do it. Bill, invite me onto your show—if you dare. However, while I am particularly put out with the unconscionably poor reporting of Mr. O’Reilly, I’m even more disappointed with the response of the major oil companies… again. We’ve been down this road before so many times, and yet the response from the majors is the same. They sit on their hands and let the Bill O’Reilly’s of this world demonize them. Then they privately complain about how badly they are treated in the press.

Hey Exxon, Conoco, BP, Shell, put your mouthpieces out there and defend your business! Call up that pinhead O’Reilly and tell him you want to refute the untruths he is spouting. Then go on every other major network and do the same. For all of you out there who are waiting for this kind of aggressive approach, don’t hold your breath. It’s not going to happen.

For the record, I’m not interested in defending or promoting the major oil companies or even the oil and gas industry. Everyone in the industry needs to do a much better job communicating with the public and they need to get a LOT more proactive. My interest is in awakening the public to the vital interest WE ALL have in oil and most importantly transportation fuel. The quality of our lives, and even our very survival, is directly tied to this resource.

Allowing cable TV hosts like Mr. O’Reilly to demonize the industry that produces oil is extremely dangerous. The gross mischaracterization of petroleum companies creates an environment where government leaders feel free to make decisions that run counter to the interests of the American public. Right now Dennis Kucinich is proposing legislation for a “windfall profits tax” on oil companies. Representative Maxine Waters wants to nationalize the oil and gas industry. Count on hearing more of this kind of rhetoric so long as gas prices are well above $3.00 a gallon. What will the oil and gas industry do—publicly—as their industry is demonized? If history is our guide, not much.

About author:

“spOILed” is the latest venture for Mark Mathis, who has spent most of his adult life challenging conventional thinking. Mathis’s resume includes a 10-year career as a TV news reporter/anchor, two stints as a talk radio host, owner of a media training business, founder of an energy-education non-profit (CARE), author (“Feeding the Media Beast ”), speaker, actor (“The Astronaut Farmer”) and documentary film producer (“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”). In “spOILed” Mathis seeks to expose the many deceptions surrounding oil while calling attention to the biggest problem ever faced by humanity.

11 Responses to “Bill O’Reilly is Pinhead – So are Oil Execs”

  1. Wendy E says:

    I am so disappointed. Just a few weeks ago Apple released its quarterly earnings, the second highest Q earnings of any US company ever (following XOM). Their profit margins are double Exxon’s yet there was no call for a windfall profit tax on Apple, there was no outrage, just smiles and high fives. It makes me sick.

  2. JC says:

    Let’s see…the Hovensa refinery in the Virgin Islands, one of the 10 largest in the world, just closed down. Refineries all over the Carribean are closing or curtailing production. Venezuela is decimating its own refining capacity. Bill can’t imagine that there are any real market forces that may be weighing in on why US oil companies are exporting more barrels of gasoline and distillates?

    I wonder if he thinks the “folks” in the Virgin Islands should be paying $15 per gallon of gas instead of the $7.50 per gallon they already pay while we curtail our exports and hoard gasoline here. I wonder if he thinks the recent closure of two refineries on the East Coast have anything to do with gas prices.

    O’Reilly is an absolute pinhead when it comes to the oil business precisely because he does not think. And, yes, you need to get onto his program. Ask him if he is biased or just stupid.

    Or better yet, just lay the facts in front of him and ask him point blank, “As a journalist how can you miss all of these facts and then go on the air with such an irresponsible analysis?”

    He’s sure to blow a gasket.

    • Mark Mathis says:

      No matter how you look at it, O’Reilly has greatly damaged his credibility as an informed purveyor of information (he’s not really a journalist anymore, he’s a cable talk host). There’s no way he doesn’t know the truth about gasoline prices and oil companies, even if he has not done his research as he should. Plenty of people have pointed out the truth, but he is willfully ignoring the facts. It’s sad. I used to watch him. I generally like him. I’ve even read a few of his books. But his propaganda on oil, fuel prices and oil companies is reprehensible. Will he have me on? I doubt it. He has his favorites that don’t challenge him too much. The situation is very unfortunate. And shame on his regular guests for not calling him out on his pandering to the “folks” on oil companies and gasoline prices.

      Mark Mathis

      • JJinCO says:

        I work for (not so) Big (as it used to be) Oil. Been in the oil bidness for prit near 30 years. Watched spOILed and I was informed and entertained. Talk about inconvenient truths! I am also an O’Reilly viewer, but am trying to ween myself off that addiction. His “reporting” on oil prices made me question suspect his “no spin” zone may be misnamed. Even if you were invited on the show, the guy barely allows an opponent to get a word in edge wise. Laura Ingraham is the same. Juan Williams is actually a better host than Bill (and better host than guest) IMHO.

  3. Zane Gordon says:

    Bill is a favorite of mine, and I love to watch him. On this subject, however, he is WAY off base, and he clearly does not fully understand the oil industry.

    Great post Mark.

  4. BP says:

    Bill O’Reilly is an idiot. I saw his segment with Lou Dobbs the other night, where he had suggested that the U.S. Government shouldn’t allow companies to export petroleum products. His reasoning was that oil extracted from U.S. soil belongs to all Americans and thus should be sold here in America. Aside from the idiotic notion that companies have pricing power and thus the ability to “set” the price of oil and gasoline (it is the largest market in the world, and to even think that’s possible is nonsensical), O’Reilly clearly has no regard for private property rights or free markets. He fails to recognize the fact that capital is needed in order to bring these resources to the market, and the rewards for doing so should rightfully go to the owners of the capital. Using O’Reilly’s logic, since he broadcasts his show on American soil, wouldn’t that entitle Americans to a portion of the income Bill O’Reilly receives? I reckon he wouldn’t go as far as to make that suggestion. Moreover, his belief that it is speculators driving up the prices of oil and gas has absolutely no basis at all. O’Reilly forgets that there are two sides to every contract, and that any “speculator” that buys a futures contract must subsequently sell the contract in order to close out the position.

    It’s amazing to me that the media continues to question why prices are rising. Given that central banks have printed $10 trillion in the last 2 years ($2 trillion in the last 3 months), is it really that surprising? Considering that prices are simply ratios that express the value of two different goods relative to each other, it isn’t necessarily that prices of oil and gas are increasing, but rather that the value of the dollar (and other currencies for that matter) is decreasing.

    • Mark Mathis says:

      Now you’ve done it! You’ve inserted logic, reason and reliable data into the equation. These things are simply NOT allowed when discussion the price of oil or a gallon of gas!

      Stay in the fight. Ultimately the truth will win out.

      Mark Mathis

  5. John Rhoads, P E says:

    Great post. I received the gift of “Killing Lincoln” just before Bill O’Reilly lost his marbles on the export issue. I responded forcefully and directly to his show regarding the export of refined products, to no avail of course. My point is and was that refineries in the US have been put through the “environmental wringer” for years with lavish and extravagant expenditures required simply to satisfy EPA’s increasingly stringent regulations. And now the refiners have the ability to recover some of those environmental costs via the free market sale of product and Bill O goes “brain-dead Commie” on us. I haven’t read his book; I may even send it back in protest because he has no way of knowing that I no longer watch his program. He really missed the boat on this issue.

    • Mark Mathis says:


      Nothing would delight me more than to have a fight with the Pinhead on his own show over his dishonest pandering to the public holding up oil companies as Darth Vaders. How is this helpful? Mr. O’Reilly makes much of the fact that he is a “regular guy” who flies in coach in spite of his great wealth. So what? Does he suppose those airplanes that he uses so often to make speeches and do shows with Beck and Miller fly on his gaseous rhetoric?

  6. Bill Roth says:

    O’Reilly continues to be willfully ignorant on the mechanics and realities of industry. Its as if he doesn’t understand global trade or something.

    But I think equal culpability resides with industry itself and appreciate you calling it out Mark. Oil and gas is easy to demonize because we don’t speak up. We ‘brand’ – but we rarely educate. It’s a bunch of ‘so what?’ content.

    A few commercials during the Masters or Olympics doesn’t *inform people of where their energy comes from – or why we can no longer take it for granted.

    For example, with the rise of fracing, many Americans want to know where to land on the issue. Unfortunately, most gravitate to more hyperbolic, and admittedly more entertaining psuedo-science content from the green lobby.

    While green lobbyists light up social media with their sound-bite messaging, much of industry sits on its hands waiting for all this to ‘blow over’. Not going to happen.

    This isn’t the tobacco industry. We actually have TRUTH on our side. Oil is NOT an addiction. It’s the only viable solution if we like things like heat, food on the shelves, and economic prosperity.

    Better, more informative, more engaging content – FROM INDUSTRY – can change minds and move the industry’s posture from a heads-down aloofness to alert and engaged purveyors of world prosperity.

  7. Mark: Just saw spoiled and asked you several questions after the movie. We think exactly alike on how to gradually decrease demand with an economically viable gradual consumption tax, as long as the government uses this money to pay national debt and not grow government. Part of that it seems you agree with. Also, you acknowledged that the US is highly sensitive to transportation based energy costs due to the sparse nature of the country and the fact that it builds outward as opposed to many European countries that have already been built and are more densely populated.

    Just giving you kudos for your views and also encouraging you to continue with this message since the other side effect of decreasing consumption of oil with a gradual tax is that this might and should push infrastructure to favor natural gas as a fuel source for transportation and create a buffer to an oil shock as long as the consumption tax isn’t immediately allocated to fund some growth in government and simply used to pay down national debt and perhaps create a surplus buffer.

    First we must fix the intelligence failure in America and encourage people to stay home and read more.

    Thanks for the movie and the clear talk and keep learning and perhaps run for office since you already have my vote if you want to run.

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