Ran across this bit of media hilarity the other day in the Financial Post. The Post, which is very much pro-oil sands, ran the following article on OPEC’s decision not to rein in production:
The article is syndicated from Bloomberg from which the Post these days seems to source 50% or more of its homepage business content (I’d guess as a result of the never-ending cutbacks at the Post). Quite the testy header, huh? Well, here’s how the article appeared in its original form on Bloomberg:
The content is identical with no apparent edits made by the Post, but the header is … different. Which isn’t unusual in the world of syndication, but that Post header is LOL, not least of all because the OPEC it denigrates as a bully is the same OPEC it has been praying for over a year now would go back to its historic role of cartel price-fixer—which is to say, a bully. What the Post perhaps hopes readers will miss is that Canada’s oil sands depend for their profitability on the same artificially high price enforced by, you guessed it, OPEC. Every non-OPEC producer has until now been what is called in economics a “free rider”—in this case benefiting from OPEC’s “bullying” without having to be a member of the unseemly gang. Now that OPEC has effectively dissolved itself and true market forces are at play, it turns out that Canadian oil sands aren’t economical or profitable at all.
So what the Post is effectively saying with its petulant headline writing (which should have been confined to the opinion pages, but whatever) is that it’s against free markets. Oops.