Saturday, August 23, 2008

How Would You Like Your News? Filtered Or Non-Filtered?

I've been pretty interested in oil prices recently and the way oil refining companies have been charging whatever they want for gasoline, but when I came across a story about an abundance of oil in Iraq I was intrigued. I found the article on, but I noticed that it had originally been reported by Reuters. So, with my ever-curious spirit, I looked up the article over on and found something interesting.

The article on Forbes reads like this:

The Reuters article reads like this:

What you will find in comparing the two articles is that the Forbes article takes some creative licensing, and cuts out the last section of the original article. In the last part of the Reuters' article an oil deal with China is discussed, and then it states:

Foreign oil companies are keen to get access to Iraq's vast and largely untapped oil reserves, but high world prices are allowing Baghdad to drive a hard bargain.

It is almost as if the Forbes article purposely leaves this fact out of the supposed reprint of the article. Why would this information be left out? What agenda is Forbes trying to push? Personally, I do not think it was a mistake, and my gut instinct tells me that Forbes doesn't want the fact that a deal with China is being made and the fact that the Iraqi oversupply will give Iraq (and I am thinking most likely the US) an upperhand in the market.

As Seth Godin states, the news is not written to inform the public, it is written to sell newspapers or create controversy. This seems true in this case, as Forbes does not provide the whole truth and the real story is provided through a filter which is imposed on the public.

The point of this story is not to defame Forbes, but to warn people about sources of information. You must always be critical of where you get your facts. There is always some sort of filter which is imposed on information, and it is imperative that the person knows how to pick out what is relevant and what is not (Also, more importantly you should be able to pick out if the information is credible, like in the Forbes-Reuters example I mention in this article).

Be Critical. Be Aware. These are two ideas to live by.


The Commentator said...

You should check out the Oil Drum.

DC said...

Yes, the oil drum is a very good site. I have visited it to gather some background info. I also find that the Energy Tribune is very good as well.