On Friday morning, NBC's Tom Costello couldn't close his Today show report on high gas prices without airing the proverbial soundbite from an angry gas station customer accusing oil companies of gouging the consumer. Costello even managed to taint Big Oil with the Watergate scandal, in his set-up for the perturbed gas pumper, as he pointed out one of the highest prices he found in Washington D.C. was "right in the shadow of the Watergate" adding, "customers across the country are increasingly suspicious of the oil companies."
(video and transcript after the jump)
The following Costello close was aired on the March 4 Today show:
TOM COSTELLO: Back east, you know the expression, "Location, location, location?"
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Today I made a bad decision about where to stop.
COSTELLO: That $4.55 gas is right in the shadow of the Watergate and customers across the country are increasingly suspicious of the oil companies.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They just use the, the opportunity, I think, to make more money.
COSTELLO: Well the oil companies insist that all these prices are being bid higher in the global markets because of the global demand. The United States consumes 20 million barrels of oil every single day. Half of that is imported. Matt, I've done a half a dozen of these stories this week and I get e-mails every single day, "You missed our neighborhood! The highest in the nation!" Okay, we're hearing $4.99 in Northern California. Back to you.
To read more about the media's bias on gas price coverage please check out the Business and Media Institute's latest study by Julia Seymour here.
—Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here