Dan Gainor

What do you do if your country is too incompetent to drill for oil effectively? Drill an oil company instead.

That’s exactly what tiny Ecuador is trying to do to oil giant Chevron – with the help of brain-dead American celebs, left-wing front groups and American lawyers – including one of Obama’s law school buddies. That select group is trying to rob Chevron and its shareholders of $27 billion.

Yes, that’s Billion with a “B” – the middle letter of the SeeBS network. SeeBS was the latest in a string of media outlets – like The Washington Post – giving a biased view of the issue, instead of actual journalism.

The May 3 episode of “60 Minutes” was a typical example of the media misinformation. Correspondent Scott Pelley, who already has a reputation as a biased environmental reporter, only pretended to give both sides of a lawsuit that spans 16 years and two countries.

It’s the classic green battle – not green for Mother Earth, green for the cold, hard cash Ecuador is trying to steal. Chevron calls this case a “fraud” and they are being kind. And SeeBS’s version of history waited nearly six minutes to show the only person they allowed on to back Chevron. She was up against six different spokespeople for the other side – from the plaintiff’s lawyer to natives living in the area to the technical expert for the plaintiff.

Buried in the 13-minute segment were softball questions for the plaintiffs and curveballs for the one Chevron speaker. Pelley never addressed some of the most basic points of the story like PetroEcuador’s patethic environmental record – more than 1,000 oil spills since 2000 – or how plaintiffs paid $200,000 to the supposedly neutral court expert to write his report. Pelley also left out the corruption in the Ecuadoran judicial system – so bad that a report by the U.S. State Department gives the Ecuadoran judiciary very low marks.

“Systematic weakness and susceptibility to political or economic pressures in the rule of law constitute the most important problems faced by U.S. companies investing in or trading with Ecuador,” the State Department report said. No kidding. Our own government says Ecuador uses judicial intimidation against foreign firms. The International Bar Association and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights have also criticized Ecuador’s concept of law.

SeeBS didn’t bring up any of that. Pelley called the judge “serious and thoughtful.” Perhaps he can teach those qualities to Pelley.

Dan Gainor

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and director of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute.