In a tweet on Thursday President Trump condemned OPEC, stating that the “monopoly must get prices down.” He slammed the organization, saying that oil prices continue to rise though the U.S. spends billions to protect countries in the Middle East that are producing oil.
“We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember,” Trump tweeted.
Media outlets criticized Trump, many citing the burdens that countries part of OPEC are already facing that will be further worsened by the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.
The New York Post described how OPEC member Saudi Arabia “is caught between a rock and a hard place” as they try to keep prices from going up ahead of congressional elections and overcome those who doubt the country’s ability to compensate for the decrease in Iran’s supply.
CNBC said that Trump “incorrectly referred to OPEC as a monopoly in his tweet” and that “the group of 15 producer nations together account for about one-third of the world’s oil supply.” The outlet stressed the importance of the organization that Trump seems to overlook when rallying against them.
Business Insider and The Washington Post added to the reviews, each with articles that described the harmful effects of fluctuating cartel prices for OPEC members and how Trump has threatened removal of U.S. military resources as an added pressure.
On the other hand, Fox News spun the statement positively spotlighting the lowering of Brent and U.S. light crude oil prices just after the tweet. In the article, Trump’s tweet was not introduced as the initial aggressor,as it had been by other outlets,but instead as Trump having “weighed in to the debate.”
Even while discussing the oil-producing Middle Eastern countries, the focus on both sides of the media lies heavily on Trump’s tweet rather than the effects of oil price fluctuation and how heavily the impact would be on the OPEC nations. The burden on the U.S. would be even worse due to the over 10.1 million barrels of oil the U.S. imports a day, according to data from 2017.
By shifting focus to changing public policy, OPEC will not face losses for the sake of the already piled high U.S debt. Furthermore, U.S. import rates will be more controlled without the risk of over or underspending. The media should be highlighting these pressing facts instead of only Trump’s statement, whether putting it in a positive or negative light, to convey the truth of the matter at hand for now and for the future of the foreign economy.