June 29, 2009

Attack on your wallet

With the news dominated by Wacko Jacko and Bernie Made-off-with-your-money, I was pleased to have a lead story for today's OBJ Market Wrap radio report -- thanks to my colleague Steven E.F. Brown in San Francisco -- that hadn't already reached the saturation point: Oil over $71 a barrel after Nigerian attacks.

But then I started to wonder: Why, with the SEC filing charges against even more Ponzi scheme operators and troop movements in Iraq and Nigerians blowing up oil rigs, did our local daily devote a large portion of page A1 to a story about a woman whose car has 600,000 miles on it?

I'll admit this is mildly interesting. And it is local. And an attempt was made to make it relevant to the reader by including a list of tips on how to keep a car running for a long time. It surely would have made a better inside feature than another of the one-size-fits-all Tribune features packaged in Chicago for distrubution to every market in the country. (You can spot these because the writers are identified as being with "Tribune Media Services" instead of as staff writers for the local paper.) But local or not, a person driving the same gas-guzzler since the Johnson administration is not A1 news.

The destruction of oil rigs in Nigeria is. Need I explain why?

I don't know at what hour the local daily is printed, but Bloomberg had the Nigerian oil story at 3 a.m. EDT. At that time, it said "Crude oil for August delivery rose … to $69.41 a barrel."

By the time I did the OBJ Market Wrap for WLOQ-FM this afternoon, crude was up to $71.50, a 3 percent increase from yesterday's close. In after-hours trading, it's up further still, at $71.87. This means all of us will be paying more for gas, no matter how old our cars are.

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