Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
Latest posts by Jim Lakely (see all)
- Yes, New York Times Commenter Maggie Mae, ‘The Heartland’ Matters - January 9, 2017
- The Year in Climate Realism: A Review of 2016 - January 6, 2017
- Dear President-elect Trump: Don’t Listen to Ben Santer - December 28, 2016
Earlier this month, sometime Democratic Party activist and topless Facebook model Lee Fang (rhymes with “bong”), claimed to be a reporter and approached Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast after a speech about climate change in Colorado. He proceeded to ask a series of questions about an essay titled Five Lies About Tobacco that Joe wrote back in 1998. Joe stands by it, and rightly maintains it gets better with age.
Fang, who was wearing a shirt while interviewing Bast, has now released a video of his attempted ambush at something called “Republic Report.” I’m not linking to it, because Fang is a fake journalist.
From a July 31, 2012 piece at the Washington Free Beacon by Adam Kredo:
One of the Nation magazine’s newest hires, Lee Fang, is a far-left Democratic operative with a history of publishing error-riddled and misleading reports.
As Fang begins his stint at the historic left-wing publication, questions still surround a series of half-baked reports that were filed during his time as a writer for the Center For American Progress Action Fund’s Think Progress blog, and for the Republic Report. Both organizations advocate for greater transparency in politics, even as neither fully discloses its donors….
As an investigative blogger for CAPAF’s Think Progress blog, Fang took a hit for secretly coordinating his coverage with Democrat-aligned special interest groups. Fang continued his questionable reporting methods after joining the Republic Report alongside convicted felon Jack Abramoff soon after his release from prison.
Fang is laughably incompetent, producing the dumbest story about Koch Industries ever written. (And that’s a fierce competition!) When still at Think Progress, Fang wrote “How Koch Industries Manipulates the Oil Market for Profit.” You can read the story for yourself, but you really only need to read one of the funniest breakdowns of journalistic incompetence I’ve ever read: “Contango Confusion” by Powerline’s John Hinderaker.
Unfortunately, young Mr. Fang has neither the business experience nor the intelligence to understand the issues about which he writes. The result is that nearly every sentence is a howler. Among other things, while a contango market is the main subject of Fang’s post, he doesn’t know what the phrase means.
Fang labels Koch Industries as “oil speculators.” But, explains Hinderaker, Koch Industries is not really in the oil speculation business.
“Koch buys and sells physical oil; it transports oil; it refines oil. It does some unhedged trading too, but in that field it is a minor player compared to, say, Goldman Sachs. If Think Progress wants to attack petroleum speculators, Goldman Sachs should be in the dock–except that Goldman Sachs is a top contributor to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.”
Koch has little business in the extraction process. Instead, Koch focuses on shipping crude oil, refining it, distributing it to retailers — then speculating on the future price. With control of every part of the market, Koch is able to bet on future prices with superior information.
Huh? Koch sells oil to retailers, and “then” speculates on the future price? Isn’t that a little late? One wonders whether these people even read what they write before publishing it.
And what is this about “control of every part of the market”? Fang just made that up. The oil business is highly competitive, and Koch Industries is, in international terms, a small player. Let’s take refining: the U.S. Energy Information Administration publishes data on America’s biggest refineries. Koch owns three of the 141 largest refineries in the United States; its biggest weighs in at number twelve. So how, exactly, does Koch “control every part of the market”?
Young Mr. Fang continues:
In 2008, Koch called attention to itself for “contango” oil market manipulation. A commodity market is said to be in contango when future prices are expected to rise, that is, when demand is expected to outstrip supply.
This is incorrect. “Contango” is not “market manipulation.” On the contrary, it is the natural state of most markets. It simply means that at a given time, the price of a forward or futures contract is trading above the present spot price. This is what you would expect, given the time value of money. Occasionally, for various reasons, this usual condition may not hold; then we have what is called “backwardation.” A contango market has nothing to do with any expectation; rather, if the futures price is higher than the spot price, as is normally the case, it is a contango market. It is quite remarkable, really, that anyone would try to write a blog post about a contango market without even knowing what the term means.
Hinderaker goes on and on about Fang’s economic incompetence, and it’s worth reading every word of that post – and discounting every word Fang has ever written.