Earlier this week we noted that Center for American Progress Action Fund (an arm of the Center for American Progress, a think tank closely associated with President Barack Obama’s administration and left-wing financier George Soros) was launching an “ideologically driven news organization.” Its implementation would be through the ThinkProgress blog, which has been active for some time, including a role as a vocal — and often highly misinformed — critic of Charles and David Koch.
This bit of background is important because ThinkProgress has shown to be an unreliable source of information. Case in point: Yesterday John H. Hinderaker of Powerline examined a recent post on ThinkProgress that is critical of Koch Industries and found it and its author Lee Fang to be highly lacking in a number of areas, such as facts, knowledge, and understanding of economics. One comment left to the article included: “Based on 25 years of scholarly research and market experience, I can say that Fang the Farcical knows not the first thing about either manipulation or commodities pricing. You would think that Soros could have found a junior assistant trader to teach Fang the basics. But then there wouldn’t have been a story, would there?”
Here’s just a small example: One of the most telling parts of Fang’s article is this: “Big banks and companies like Koch employ a contango strategy by buying up oil and storing it in massive containers both on land and offshore to lock in the oil for sale later at a set price.”
Here Fang is criticizing Koch Industries for speculation in oil markets. Hinderaker notes that unlike banks — which aren’t in the oil business — Koch Industries is actually in the oil business: “Koch certainly does buy oil and store it; it is in the oil business. However, I would be curious to know what ‘big banks’ ‘buy up oil and stor[e] it in massive containers both on land and offshore.’”
Buying something when the price is low and storing it for later use seems a rather innocent act. I wonder if Fang has ever done like I have: When I notice the grocery store has Diet Pepsi on sale, I buy extra and store it for later use when I expect the price will be higher.
By John H. Hinderaker
The Think Progress web site is a Soros-funded mouthpiece for the Obama administration. Someone at Think Progress or its parent, the Center for American Progress, has instructed cub reporter Lee Fang to devote full time to attacking Charles and David Koch and their company, Koch Industries. (It would be interesting to know who gave that instruction, and why.) We have deconstructed several of Mr. Fang’s attacks, all of which have been juvenile. But his latest effort is perhaps his most pitiful yet.
In “The Contango Game,” Fang tries to show that Koch Industries “manipulates the oil market for profit.” Unfortunately, young Mr. Fang has neither the business experience nor the intelligence to understand the issues about which he writes. The result is that nearly every sentence is a howler. Among other things, while a contango market is the main subject of Fang’s post, he doesn’t know what the phrase means.
Fang begins with the claim that oil prices are high these days because of speculation. Whether it is even possible for “speculators” — some call them investors — to have a material impact on the price of oil over time is dubious. While partisans like to blame speculators for rising oil prices–never, however, for falling prices–objective studies, like this one by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 2008, have failed to document any such influence.