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Off-Balance Sheet: Corporate Spin, Spinning Out of Control


Every company wants to paint the rosiest picture possible of what they sell.


Relax, it's only money.

Yesterday, Rex W. Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil (XOM), warned governments against fast-tracking new policies in order to limit carbon emissions after a report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated they were 90 percent certain that global warming is due to human activity.

Mr. Tillerson, who admitted he had not read the report, said, "My understanding is there's not a clear 100 percent conclusion drawn."

He then referred to cleaner-burning ethanol as "moonshine."

If your company made $39 billion in profit last year, you wouldn't want anyone sticking their greedy little do-gooder hands in your cookie jar, either.

Every product has some inherent risk, with the exception of, perhaps #2 pencils. Wait, actually, #2 pencils could be very dangerous if someone were to stick one in your eye. Is anything we buy, use, eat, or do totally safe?

Videogames trigger epileptic seizures.

Sex can kill you.

French fries lead to heart attacks.

Overeating causes obesity.

Nutrasweet will give you tumors.

Every company wants to paint the rosiest picture possible of what they sell. But sometimes the corporate spin starts to, well, spin out of control.

ExxonMobil's Tillerson isn't the first to baldly ignore factual data in trying to protect his brand. I dug up a few other instances of similar public statements by bottom line-focused executives.

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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