As Al Gore and his band of not so merry global warming alarmists in buses and in the press try to convince Americans that they need to alter behaviors in order to save the planet, an inconvenient truth is being cynically withheld: this is going to cost a lot of money.
Of course, one of the delicious hypocrisies is that these are the same people who decry the current economic boom as only helping the rich, and state regularly and fervently that the poor and middle-class are being left behind.
At the same time, such mid- to lower-level wage earners should be saddled with exorbitant additional expenses to shelter them from a wolf that might never come knocking at their doors.
Makes sense, right?
With that in mind, the Chicago Tribune’s Laurie Goering wrote a fabulous piece recently exposing some of the potential costs of this exercise that most media don’t want you to know (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):
There was a summit between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the leaders of the European Union on Friday that yielded as little results as it did attention from America’s media.
One of the issues on the table was whether Russia is going to provide more energy resources to EU nations starved for such.
Didn’t hear about this?
Well, that’s not surprising, for in the midst of the media’s ongoing attempts to create global warming hysteria while pushing the U.S. to participate in the Kyoto Protocol, our press have little interest in reporting how energy politics across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are threatening economies around the globe.
Contrary to most American media that ignored this dicey subject, the BBC covered the following Associated Press article Friday (emphasis added):
As gas prices are on a springtime upswing and the summer driving season is upon us, NewsBusters and the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute have documented the media's persistent hype about gas prices.
Did you hear about the nineteen Democrats that sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) expressing concern that a global warming bill being discussed in the House could reduce energy supplies and raise prices?
You didn’t? Want to know why?
Well, because other than Environment & Energy Daily, nobody reported it.
*****Critical Update: Complete text of letter follows.
Regardless, the short piece by Ben Geman was rather extraordinary (h/t Benny Peiser, subscription required, emphasis added throughout):
Those are not exactly words you'd expect to hear an American journalist use to refer to a Latin American dictator who has been seizing American-owned property this month. Yet Barbara Walters used all three to describe Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, in various ABC broadcasts on March 16.
Even though Chavez has recently assumed "control" of oil fields that were run by Chevron, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, ABC, NBC and CBS haven't even reported it. Chavez also plans to takeover private Venezuelan media soon. That hasn't been reported either, let alone criticized.
Despite the fact that Chavez seized power and shut down his opposition in Venezuela, the media rarely portray him as a dictator, preferring kinder words like “controversial” and “populist.” Walters even talked about how "beloved" he is.
“President Hugo Chavez is so beloved by some of his supporters that they hang pictures of him in their living rooms in the poor barrios that ring the city,” Barbara Walters gushed on ABC’s “Nightline” March 16.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer and reporter Claire Shipman hyperbolically investigated "soaring" gas prices. After noting that oil companies have been publically presenting their explanations, she wondered, "But are they true? We put them to the truth test."
Apparently, it's ABC that needs the "truth test." Diane Sawyer’s intro included this comment from Gulf Oil President Joe Petrowski’s May 14 interview with CNN:
As another summer driving season approaches, media outlets cannot resist again hyping dire stories about the supposed “record high” price of a gallon of gas when, adjusted for inflation, the current $3.10 average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is still lower than in 1981. ABC was out front Monday night with the fallacious reporting. World News anchor Charles Gibson teased up top, “Record prices: Gasoline across the nation hits an all-time high, a record price, before the summer even begins.” With “Record High” on screen, Gibson relied on new numbers from the Energy Information Administration as he introduced the subsequent story by asserting that “a gallon of gas has never been more expensive than right now. The government announced this afternoon that the average price of regular gas is $3.10 a gallon.” Reporter John Berman also cited the “record high” price before marveling at how demand is rising: “Despite the agony, for the most part, we haven't changed our actions. Demand for gas is actually up one percent from this time last year...”
The headline over a Monday afternoon article on USA Today's Web site, which matched stories all over the Web from wire services and television news sites, declared: “Gasoline prices top post-Katrina record.” But USA Today reporter Barbara Hagenbaugh at least noted that “prices are still below the all-time high when adjusted for inflation, $3.223 in today's dollars set March 1981, according to the Energy Department.”
Interviewing Shell Oil's president on this morning's Today show, NBC's Meredith Vieira cited Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer's "Big Oil" conspiracy theory, worried America's "addiction to oil" was "dangerous," and altogether added fuel to the fire that oil company execs, "were a bunch of thieves." Appearing in the 7am half-hour, Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, for the most part, explained the basic economics of the oil business to viewers but that didn't stop Vieira from throwing out conspiratorial charges from left-field.
After asking if Hofmeister thought the price of gas was "reasonable," Vieira launched into the conspiracy theories:
Vieira: "Let's talk about the refineries for a minute because there's been a lot of controversy about them. Maintenance problems at refineries around the country. There are some people, consumer activists, some analysts and even some politicians like Senator Schumer here in New York, who believe that the oil companies are basically holding back the production of gas, they're slow on repairs of their refineries, to keep the price of gas high. Senator Schumer has not gone so far as to say that the oil companies are in collusion but he did say, quote, 'that they wink at each other and do the same thing.' First I'd like your response to that."
Have you seen the picture on the right showing a Shell station in San Francisco with gas prices in excess of $4 per gallon?
Well, there’s only one problem with it: this isn’t close to indicative of what gas prices are in the Bay Area. Not even close.
Yet, the following was captioned next to this Associated Press picture at Yahoo Thursday (h/t NB reader Brian Mortimer, emphasis added):
High gas prices are posted at a Shell gas station in San Francisco, Thursday, May 10, 2007. With gasoline prices poised to break records at the pump, energy futures prices jumped Thursday as traders noticed a gas supply imbalance in the fine print of Wednesday's government inventory report.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Sadly, the caption didn’t make clear that the prices at this station are high as a form of protest by the owner. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle Thursday (emphasis added):
A cartoon in the May 13 "Sunday Briefing" on page F2 of the Washington Post furthered a left-wing talking point against "Big Oil" that a comprehensive study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) debunked last year: that oil companies artificially manipulate gas prices by squeezing supply.
A cartoon from the Newark Star-Ledger's Drew Sheneman depicts a man fueling his car asking a cigar-smoking "Oil Co." representative, "Why do gas prices always go up right before the summer vacation season?" "Coincidence," replies the oil executive, as he stands atop the fuel line, bottlenecking the gas on its way to the motorist's car. The price atop the pump reads $3.50.
The implication, of course, is that the petroleum industry artificially bottlenecks supply to jack up fuel costs.
But that's not true, previous probes into allegations of price gouging have determined, including a May 22, 2006 FTC study of post-Hurricane Katrina gas prices.
Among the major conclusions, the FTC post-Katrina found:
Last night, CBS "Evening News" and ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" hyped rising gas prices, saying that the national average price was "just two cents short of the record."
Too bad they were both wrong because they didn't factor in inflation. The national average on May 7 was actually 17 cents below the inflation adjusted record high price from March 1981: $3.22 per gallon.
Anthony Mason's CBS report also proved he needs a calculator and possibly a math tutor.
Mason interviewed Mike Gorgia of Staten Island who regularly tracks his area's gas prices for GasBuddy.com. Mason said Gorgia saves a whopping $500 a year by shopping around for his gasoline.
Hold on -- $500? That doesn't exactly sound like a representative example.
The average American uses 500 gallons of gas each year, according to the Energy Information Administration. So if Gorgia is an "average American" he must be saving a full dollar on every gallon of gasoline.
With gasoline prices going up, Diane Sawyer worries they will continue to rise. With stock prices going up, the same Sawyer worries they will experience a crash of historic proportions.
Sawyer's guest on Good Morning America today at 7:15 AM EDT was Mellody Hobson, a GMA financial contributor. Here's how Sawyer kicked things off.
GMA CO-HOST DIANE SAWYER: Will runaway gas prices keep soaring, and did you know that the stock market has hit a milestone reminiscent of what happened before the big Crash? Let's start with gasoline prices. On Monday the average price of gasoline hit $3.05 per gallon, just two cents less than the record. . . Is this going to keep happening, keep going up?
For several years as oil and gas prices have exploded, a frequent media commentary has been to blame the problem on President Bush.
Either he didn’t do enough to stop a hurricane from hitting New Orleans, or it’s due to the war in Iraq, or he should talk to Iran, or it’s due to Cheney’s having run Halliburton – whatever the specious connection, the White House has been routinely at fault.
Yet, along comes Reuters on Wednesday cautioning drivers about upcoming record-high gas prices with a cause that, mysteriously and quite remarkably, had nothing to do with President Bush.
On April 25, 2007 the Dow soared to another record close, this time above 13,000. As Newsbusters reported here, here and here, the networks did anything but cheer. In fact, network broadcast reporting of the Dow's recovery since 2003 has been marked by pessimism.
Katie Couric introduced the April 25, 2007 CBS "Evening News" report with this dismal statement:
"Even as investors are making money in the market, Anthony Mason reports there are concerns tonight about the rest of the U.S. economy."
Mason made good on Couric's tease, with a class warfare remark that "Wall Street and Main Street appear to be headed in different directions" because of housing and gas prices.
Geopolitical instability and inefficient allocation of resources from state-run oil enterprises in Venezuela and other oil-producing countries are one factor in the rising cost of petroleum products. Unfortunately the way Chavez's May Day oil grab is being reported, it's little more than a footnote.
"Because when you saw us flirting with $3, all the sudden we got a burst in hybrid production, we got a burst in ethanol production," Wastler explained to the "In the Money" crowd.
But the CNNMoney managing editor did not explain the burst in government mandates and regulations that helped fuel those alternatives.
The "In the Money" team including Ali Velshi and Christine Romans not only urged higher gas prices (with taxation), but hyped the threat of $4-a-gallon gasoline, though the national average is still below $3-a-gallon.
Despite being the lone Conservative on Friday’s “Real Time,” National Review contributor Lisa Schiffren might have had the best line of the evening when she accused comedian and actor Richard Belzer of emulating the “Rosie O’Donnell School of Foreign Policy.”
As the discussion moved to Iraq, Belzer advanced the common liberal meme that the war was all about oil:
And now the Democrats are stealthfully working with the Republicans to take all the oil from Iraq and give, like a little bit to the Iraqi people. You know about that? Did you hear about that? This is an oil war.
Here’s an extraordinarily inconvenient truth the press will likely not report: a “cap-and-trade” program designed to curb carbon emissions in order to "solve" global warming will negatively impact the poor the most.
Think Charlie, Brian, and Katie will do a story on this tonight?
Regardless of the answer, the reality is that as folks like soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore and his sycophant devotees recommend solutions to a conceivably nonexistent problem, few care to address the negative economic impact of such strategies.
Towards that goal, the Congressional Budget Office released a study on Wednesday that didn’t paint a very pretty picture of the financial ramifications of a cap-and-trade program proposed by Democrats (emphasis added throughout):
The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared past the 13,000 level on Wednesday, but the CBS and ABC evening newscasts reported the good news in the media's all-too-frequent “yes, but” framework. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric fretted that “even as investors are making money in the market, Anthony Mason reports there are concerns tonight about the rest of the U.S. economy.” Mason talked with a celebrating stock trader before turning downbeat: “But Wall Street and Main Street appear to be headed in different directions. While the stock market's been racing ahead, the economy has been slowing down. Housing is mired in a slump.” Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab confirmed bad news for the overall economy, citing how “we have seen economic growth get cut in about half in the last year, so clearly the economy is not as strong as it was a year ago.” Mason ominously warned: “Rising gas prices, up 70 cents already this year, could slow the economy even more.”
ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased World News: “Tonight, the Dow moves into uncharted territory, zooming past 13,000 for the first time. But is the economy as hot as the market?” Gibson set up his lead story by contrasting how “the rise in recent months has been steep, despite less-than-inspiring news on the economy overall.” Betsy Stark featured pleased investors before cautioning how “there were fresh signs today of trouble in the housing market” and “oil prices shot up another dollar today, which will only add to consumers' woes at the pump.” Gibson stayed on the negative, proposing to Stark: “We've had four years of a straight bull market. Doesn't just the timing of this suggest that there might be a correction?” Stark agreed: “By historical standards, Charlie, we're actually overdue for a correction.”
Is The Ford Motor Company committing an Old-Media-assisted suicide?
On Wednesday, One News Now had a story about how the Formerly Mainstream Media has largely ignored the negative impact the the American Family Association's boycott of Ford has had on the company (an audio version of the report is also at the link):
News media ignoring Ford boycott, media analyst says
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman was at it again, pushing his peace in the Middle East through environmentalism strategy. Invited on this morning's Today show to promote his upcoming Discovery Channel documentary called Green: The New Red, White and Blue, Friedman claimed one of the best ways to promote democracy in Iraq was to bring down the price of oil through energy saving green technology. Friedman also repeated his clarion call to retake the meaning of the word green from conservatives when NBC's Matt Lauer tossed the following softball to him:
Lauer: "Yeah and you say it's time to stop thinking about the green movement as tree-huggers and sissies. This is tough domestic and foreign policy."
Mainstream media anchors occasionally do some explicit cheerleading for a liberal politician. That's exactly what CNN host Miles O'Brien did on Wednesday's "American Morning." He reported that dark horse Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich "flexes his muscle with big oil over the skyrocketing price of gas, and we say go to it."
Kucinich flexing his muscle? Now, that's a mental image that doesn't immediately come to mind.
O'Brien's remark was made during a lead-in to a segment by CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi. Velshi's report gave some details of the ultra-liberal congressman's efforts.
ALI VELSHI: Dennis Kucinich, he's the chairman of the domestic policy subcommittee, has written letters to seven major oil companies, asking them a question we would like an answer to - explaining the high price of gas....
Something rather extraordinary occurred last December which had extremely ominous implications for stock investors around the world, but got totally ignored by the media.
In fact, if not for a recent video posting at YouTube, and a March 20 article in the New York Post, these spectacular revelations would still be well under the radar.
On December 22, CNBC’s James Cramer did a web interview for TheStreet.com TV. In it, he told TSC’s executive editor Aaron Task about how he used to manipulate stocks and the market when he was a hedge fund manager, and explained how such people today can’t “do anything remotely truthful” if they want to make money (video available here).
As TSC reported in a recap at its website the same day (emphasis added throughout):
“Sixty bucks! That’s ridiculous,” said one woman filling up her gas tank, on ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson” March 12.
Consumer complaints and frequent mentions of "the most expensive gasoline" in the country are used by the media to hype rising gas prices. And what state has the most expensive gasoline? California.
“Let me show you what is the most expensive gasoline location in the country. A gallon of unleaded in California right now going for $3.08 a gallon,” said NBC reporter Tom Costello during the March 12 “Nightly News.”
Costello's report, like many others on NBC, CBS and ABC left out the explanation for exorbitant prices at California pumps: higher taxes and excessive environmental regulation.
It was Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards trying to revive his ‘70s disco moves and he danced around every tough question CNN’s Miles O’Brien threw at him. Most notably, how much does it cost to pay for energy in the new 28,000-square-foot mansion Edwards calls home?
“It’s actually not bad.” And followed that up with talk of how energy efficient the home was.
“I’m not telling you. It’s actually, it’s actually not bad. It’s about three or four hundred dollars, the last one I saw.”
Following that claim, Edwards backed off a bit and said “the power bill is several hundred dollars a month.”
Edwards also claimed he and his family operate the house in a “carbon neutral way,” though he wants to put caps on how much carbon dioxide businesses operate. “We have committed to operate this house in a carbon neutral way which means in addition to using energy saving devices in the house itself, to the extent that doesn’t cover it, we’re going to purchase carbon credits on the market,” said Edwards.
On the March 19 edition of "The View," Barbara Walters returned from Venezuela where she conducted a puffy interview with President Hugo Chavez.
Walters insisted that "he is not crazy" and "he does not hate the United States" but "hates George Bush." The veteran ABC journalist, however, felt the discount oil Chavez provided to Hurricane Katrina victims is "a good thing to do."
Yet in 2001, ABC described American aid to the Afghan poor as merely "propaganda."
Although Barbara said he is a socialist and mentioned in passing that "he’s got a lot of things that are not so wonderful," there was not even a murmur about Chavez’s assault on the free press. Rosie O’Donnell, who rants against the PATRIOT Act’s alleged assault on civil liberties, did not bother to raise that concern. They even displayed some love for the Venezuelan dictator when Rosie coddled a talking Hugo Chavez doll. Ironically, on the next subject on patriotism, Rosie and Joy exclaimed that dissent is patriotic. The transcript is below.
As already noted on NewsBusters, "20/20" anchor Barbara Walters interviewed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for a segment airing on the March 16 edition of the program. And although she did occasionally challenge authoritarian leader, Walters spent much of the interview discussing important topics such as whether Chavez likes coffee, marriage, and generally regurgitating the Venezuelan President’s propaganda.
Walters, appearing on the Friday edition of "Good Morning America" to plug the interview, even touted a Chavez run for political office in the U.S.:
Robin Roberts: "Did he think he would do very well if he ran for office here in this country?"
Barbara Walters: "He said, ‘You know, if I came to this country, I would run, I could run an election if I changed my name to Nicky Chavez because I am for humanity. I am for disseminating the wealth. I am for helping people.’ He says, ‘I would win.’ So put his name down on the list."
While viewers were told that the interview with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez “pulled no punches,” you sure could have fooled anyone watching. ABC’s March 16 “Good Morning America” treated Chavez as a man who “does like this country.”
She actually meant the United States.
Flashback to the same network in 2005. Reporter Dan Harris of ABC’s “World News Tonight” was more up front about Chavez in a Nov. 6, 2005, report: “Venezuelan leftist leader Hugo Chavez, who led an anti-American rally while talks for free trade were taking place.”