Ten days or so ago, I posted the graph above under the headline "Sharp Uptick in Iraqi Production". I chose my words carefully - "uptick" to indicate that this was a movement upward of the same general order of magnitude as other recent movements in the time series, and "sharp" to emphasize that, as upticks in Iraqi production go, this was a somewhat larger and faster one than has been typical (but not, in my judgement, so great as to make the use of "uptick" misleading).
Yesterday, the New York Times decided to report on the same development under the headline "Oil Output Soars as Iraq Retools":
BAGHDAD — Despite sectarian bombings and political gridlock, Iraq’s crude oil production is soaring, providing a singular bright spot for the nation’s future and relief for global oil markets as the West tightens sanctions on Iranian exports.Their version of the graphic is this:
covering this for a long time).
But I do really question whether the sober grey-lady paper-of-record should refer to an increase of about 300kbd above the level of last fall as "soaring" in the present tense. I don't think so. I think "soaring" carries a strong connotation of already being way up in the air, or ascending very materially and rapidly. I don't think 300kbd merits that term. I think, if we wanted to use a flight metaphor, we might reasonably say "has begun to take off" or even "looks set to soar". But I think the use of "soaring" in the present tense is an exaggeration. I think this fits in a long-standing pattern at the New York Times of distorted coverage in which positive oil market developments are over-hyped while negative ones are minimized.