Newsmax takes the early lead in fearmongering about the effect of Middle East turmoil on oil prices with a Feb. 22 interview with former Washington Times editor Arnaud de Borchgrave, which featured the screaming front-page-worthy headline "$400 Oil Imminent with Mideast Upheaval."
De Borchgrave was actually a little more circumspect than Newsmax's screaming headline suggests, tying that dire price spike to the unlikely event of a nuclear attack on Iran:
Events in Iran, which has also recently been rocked by popular unrest, could in fact “drive oil up to $300 or $400 a barrel very quickly because we’re dealing with the Straits of Hormuz through which about 28 percent of the world’s oil passes every day,” de Borchgrave tells Newsmax.
If the United States or Israel launched an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, he adds, “it wouldn’t be difficult for the Iranians to sow a few mines, and the Iranians today have the capability of landing a missile on the deck of an aircraft carrier.”
According to the Newsmax article accompanying the interview, de Borchgrave falsely claimed that "Libya supplies around 74 percent of Europe’s oil." In fact, while most of Libya's oil goes to Europe, no single European country's percentage of oil from Libya tops 23 percent, with several countries below 10 percent.