ABC's Latest Gas Price Victim Can 'No Longer Take Joy Rides'

Six days after ABC's World News fretted over a New Jersey woman who said she must skip breakfast to put $4 a day toward gas, Monday's newscast featured an even more hapless woman, a Massachusetts resident who to afford gas sacrifices a “much needed” $45 prescription, says she can “no longer take joy rides on my days off” and, horror of horrors, has been forced into “buying store brands instead of name brands.” Now, Rosaria Giamei complained in a soundbite: “I don't get out and enjoy things anymore. I just kind of sit at home and only go to and from work and, like, grocery shopping and that's it.” How about taking a walk or riding a bike?

“Tonight, gas and diesel hit another record,” anchor Charles Gibson teased his lead story, “people tell us they're sacrificing food, health, and their lifestyle just to fill the tank.” Dan Harris reported:
The pain is being felt all over the country. We here at ABC News are getting flooded with messages from people like Rosaria Giamei, who says, "I even stopped filling a much needed monthly prescription that costs $45 so I will have more money for gas." We found Rosaria in Massachusetts today fuming at the oil companies and bemoaning the changes she's had to make in her personal life.
Of course, from the view of the left, aren't “joy rides” a wasteful, carbon-producing abuse of the planet?

As Harris outlined Giamei's lifestyle changes, ABC displayed on screen an e-mail from her to ABC News in which she rued:
I no longer take joy rides on my days off. I have switched to buying store brands instead of name brands when possible. I even stopped filling a much needed monthly prescription that costs $45 so I will have more money for gas.
My May 13 NewsBusters item, “ABC Showcases Hapless Woman Who Skips Breakfast to Afford Gas,” recounted:
A week after ABC focused a story on two pitiable Minnesota families living in the dark because higher energy and food prices mean they "can no longer afford to pay for electricity," Tuesday's World News highlighted the replies from sad case stories solicited on ABCNews.com, starting with a woman who says she must skip breakfast to put $4 a day toward gas. ABC displayed "FEELING THE PAIN" on screen as Charles Gibson set up the story that David Muir started by fretting about "the price of a gallon of gas jumping more than a dime in just the last week" -- which is a piddling $2 more to fill a 20-gallon tank. Nonetheless, he asserted "the e-mails we've received show the pain is being felt far and wide. Single mother Caroline Saunders wrote to us from New Jersey." He read aloud from her e-mail with her quote on screen: "I now skip breakfast to save the extra $4 per day. That gives me an extra $20 added to my gas budget."
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the top story on the Monday, May 19 World News on ABC:
CHARLES GIBSON, IN OPENING TEASER: Welcome to World News. Tonight, gas and diesel hit another record. People tell us they're sacrificing food, health, and their lifestyle just to fill the tank.

...

GIBSON: Good evening. Another week, another record price for gas. The average price of a gallon went up seven cents in just the past week. The average price of a gallon, $3.79. And you've heard the outrage from drivers.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: I feel powerless, I feel helpless.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: I'm really pissed off.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: It's insane.

GIBSON: Now, those are comments from drivers three years ago when we began this broadcast with a report the average price of a gallon had just reached $2.35. Since then, what Americans pay for gas has gone up $4 billion a week. ABC's Dan Harris is here with more. Dan?

DAN HARRIS: Charlie, good evening. You can blame this latest gas price record on the rise in oil prices. In fact, oil hit another record today -- $127 a barrel. And this situation may get worse before it gets better. According to today's numbers, gas is now officially over $4 a gallon in Chicago, and it's pretty darn close in Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco, Cleveland, and New York City. The angst and anger over these prices has the politicians in Washington on high alert, hauling big oil executives before the judiciary committee this Wednesday. Today the oil industry was playing defense.

JOHN FELMY, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: There's no question it's a burden on consumers, and what the industry is doing is working very hard to find more energy, working very hard to supply energy as cheaply as possible.

HARRIS: Also today, the White House criticized Congress for not doing enough to ease the pain.

SCOTT STANZEL, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Going from band aid to band aid that they think will have an impact but really won't.

HARRIS: The pain is being felt all over the country. We here at ABC News are getting flooded with messages from people like Rosaria Giamei, who says, "I even stopped filling a much needed monthly prescription that costs $45 so I will have more money for gas." We found Rosaria in Massachusetts today fuming at the oil companies and bemoaning the changes she's had to make in her personal life.

ROSARIA GIAMEI: I don't get out and enjoy things anymore. I just kind of sit at home and only go to and from work and, like, grocery shopping and that's it.

HARRIS: In this email, Brenda Hensley told us the price of diesel fuel is putting her husband's excavating business in peril. "We can't raise our hourly rates enough to break even," she says, "and realizing a profit is no longer an option." When we tracked her down in Indiana today, she said they may simply close up shop after 32 years in business.

BRENDA HENSLEY: If things continue as they are, it means that we're not going to have a business much longer.

HARRIS: So, when will the price of gas come down? Well, one analyst told me today, maybe July or August, toward the end of the summer driving season, but the price will probably never go back down to the $2.35 that made so many people so angry three years ago, as we saw at the top of the broadcast. Many of those people would probably celebrate that price now.

GIBSON: And angrier today, they are. All right, Dan Harris, thanks.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center