GOP House Revolt Over Oil Drilling Gets Ignored or Buried
On Friday, NewsBusters wondered how much attention media would pay to the Republican revolt that occurred after Speaker Pelosi adjourned the House for a five week vacation without allowing a vote on offshore oil drilling.
It turns out that if you rely on the evening news programs of the three broadcast networks, you didn't hear about this extraordinary event at all (photo courtesy AP).
And, if you're one of the few people that still reads newspapers, the one thrown on your driveway Saturday morning likely also ignored this story, or buried it well off the front page.
Conceivably the worst of the network offenders was the "NBC Nightly News" which actually addressed the fact that Congress adjourned without a vote on drilling, but completely ignored the GOP revolt that ensued afterwards (from closed captioning):
REHEMA ELLIS, NBC CORRESPONDENT Congress has left town for the August recess, but they did not go quietly as you're about to see. Democrats and Republicans couldn't agree on any approach to try to help lower gas prices, tempers boiled over today after each side blocked the other's attempts to vote.
UNKNOWN: I ask for a recorded vote.
ELLIS: At the end of the day, no energy legislation which will probably be a tough sell to the voters back home and now they're off for a month.
If you were going to bring this up, why not report the drama that played out on the floor of the House for several hours after Pelosi banged her gavel? Why not let Americans know that Republicans stayed behind, sometimes in the dark, to try to discuss this issue further?
I guess the good folks at NBC felt they didn't have time for that, as they needed to do a rather lengthy section about how people better start making their Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation plans now -- on the first day of August! -- if they want to get the best flights and the cheapest fares.
ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" ran a close second for most disgraceful when George Stephanopoulos was brought on to discuss presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama's flip-flop on oil drilling, but didn't bother bringing up what happened in the House (from closed captioning):
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It was necessary. As David Wright just pointed out, John McCain earlier shifted on this issue. And he was making headway on this issue of energy. The American people right now are on a try anything mood on energy. They want alternative energy. They're open to drilling, as well. And Senator Obama knew he couldn't be seen as standing in the way of anything that might bring down the cost of oil and gas.
Fabulous! So, why not bring up how Pelosi and the Democrats stood in the way of a drilling vote in the House Friday, and how the GOP revolted? As neither Obama nor McCain can do anything about this issue now, isn't what happened on Capitol Hill Friday MORE important?
I guess not. Yet, ABC did find time to inform its viewers about a new super jumbo jet, while also airing two personal interest segments with one about France's first lady and former supermodel Carla Bruni, and another about a sixteen-year-old spending his summer helping Iowa flood victims. I'm sure both were more important to Americans than saving money at the pump!
As for the "CBS Evening News," it also addressed Congress going on vacation, but rather than mention what happened on the House floor today, did a detailed segment about a Pennsylvania Congressman's earmarks as well as one about a bizarre race in Queens, New York. Amazing.
As for newspapers, the New York Times alloted 520 words to this issue Saturday...on page A16. The Washington Post gave it 402 words...on page A3.
The results of a LexisNexis search suggest the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle all ignored this revolt.
With gas and oil prices on the minds of Americans from coast to coast, how could any press outlet not cover this story?