Dallas Morning News Story on Exxon's Charity Work in Africa Forgets to Mention the Free Oil Exxon Spilled Into the Niger Delta

Get your tissues ready: Exxon Mobil gives some of its money to charities in Africa, according to a lengthy report in Sunday's Dallas Morning News.

The DMN politely explains that Exxon has a "complicated" relationship with Africa. On the one hand, critics say that Exxon isn't transparent about where its money from African drilling goes. On the other hand, the Irving-based oil giant has given millions of dollars to programs in Africa promoting health, education and female empowerment. Pretty generous for the the world's most valuable company.

And former President George W. Bush, a world-renowned judge of which corporations are nice, tells the DMN that Exxon is a "company with a conscience."

However, DMN reporter Tom Benning made a glaring omission: He forgot to mention all of the free oil that Exxon has given to Africa's fish.

That's a major error, because the fish that swim in the Niger Delta have been getting lots of yummy free oil from Exxon and other corporations for the past 50 years. A 2010 investigation by The New York Times found that there are so many oil spills in the Niger Delta that "the oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless."

In November, a leak from an Exxon Mobil facility offshore from the Niger Delta caused "the worst spill in this community since Exxon started its operations in the area," one not-very-grateful local told Reuters.

And last year, a West African radio station reported that Nigerian leaders were suing Exxon for allegedly spilling tons of oil over an 11-year-period.

Of course, there are many oil companies responsible for horrible spills, not just Exxon. And, to be fair, Exxon more recently sponsored an awesome-sounding panel for female entrepreneurs that The Dallas Morning News embedded itself at. (Some key details: "there were lots of Exxon Mobil logos").

On the other hand, that New York Times story out of Nigeria said that "soldiers guarding an Exxon Mobil site beat women who were demonstrating." Like we said, it's a complicated relationship.

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Amy Martyn
Contact: Amy Martyn