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.”
Just as they did last Spring, the broadcast networks, particularly ABC and NBC, have begun hyperventilating about gas prices, specifically a 30 cent price increases per gallon which they characterized as “shooting up” and “soaring.” On Saturday, NBC Nightly News anchor John Seigenthaler teased: "Pain at the Pump: Gas prices going up more than 30 cents in a month. How high will they go?" Referring to an increase in a month from $2.20 to $2.53 a gallon, he soon insisted: "Gas prices are soaring again."
ABC anchor Charles Gibson made gas prices his lead story on Monday night, teasing: “Gas prices are not just creeping up again, they're shooting up.” Reporter Dean Reynolds listed the higher prices around the nation, complete with a woman at a gas pump whining about the “ridiculous” price, before acknowledging prices are “in concert with the annual switch from winter grade to summer grade fuel” and that “unforeseen problems at refineries and pipelines, together with record demand for gasoline in January and February, have combined to push prices higher and higher." In other words, supply and demand. Nonetheless, Reynolds asserted: “All of which leads to questions about oil company profiteering."
The media adore hybrid automobiles for the gas mileage and the green factor, but changes in fuel-economy beginning in 2008 will hit hybrids hard.
“Toyota’s Prius, best-known and best-selling gas-electric car in the USA, drops to 48 miles per gallon in the city under the ’08 testing procedure, from a 60 mpg rating under the current system – a 20% decline. Its highway mileage rating falls about 12%, to 45 mpg,” USA Today reported on its front page February 23.
You can read the entire Business & Media Institute article here.
Tom Friedman is at it again. Whenever a reporter asks him how to fix the Middle East, Friedman's response is increasingly the same - increase taxes! On this morning's Today show NBC's Meredith Vieira brought on the New York Times columnist to discuss the Iraq debate on Capitol Hill. Setting up Friedman with his own premise, Viera asked: "Well you've said, 'We need to reshape the game board.' What do you mean by that?" Friedman then gave a long-winded response that eventually revealed his solution: "Oil tax." Below is the conversation as it occurred in the 7am half hour of the February 6 Today show:
Meredith Vieira: "Well you've said, 'We need to reshape the game board. What do you mean by that?'"
Hillary has let her sticky fingers show again. Will the MSM pay attention?
We're all familiar with her statement from 2004: "the tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
Speaking today at the DNC's winter meeting, she let that same Hillary-knows-best side show:
"The other day the oil companies recorded the highest profits in the history of the world. I want to take those profits. And I want to put them into a strategic energy fund that will begin to fund alternative smart energy, alternatives and technologies that will actually begin to move us in the direction of independence.
The nation’s gross domestic product grew at a much faster than expected rate in the fourth quarter as wages increased and inflationary pressures decreased. Will the media care, or figure out a way to tie consumer enthusiasm to the Democrats taking back Congress?
Before you place your bets, let’s look at the facts as reported by Bloomberg (emphasis mine throughout):
The U.S. economy grew at a faster- than-forecast annual pace of 3.5 percent last quarter, propelled by a rebound in consumer spending as gasoline prices fell and wages grew.
The growth rate was the strongest since the first three months of 2006 and followed a 2 percent third-quarter pace, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. A measure of inflation watched by the Federal Reserve rose at a slower pace.
Hmmm. Strong growth. Lower inflation. Strong wages. Doesn’t sound like what the media have been reporting, does it? Well, the details are even better:
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer and reporter Jake Tapper highlighted the Democrats’ strategy to "get tough on the White House." The ABC correspondent discussed plans to begin hearings on holding the Bush administration accountable for issues such as global warming, Hurricane Katrina, Darfur, and Iraq. Tapper indicated that the President would soon be assailed from all sides. A sampling of the report’s phrasing seems to indicate approval for these hard-nosed Democrats:
Diane Sawyer: "Well, global warming. We said that the Democrats had promised to get tough on the White House. They're doing it with hearings on all fronts. But up first, global warming, and the charge that scientists who warned about global warming were muzzled by the Bush administration."
Next, Jake Tapper apparently found a phrase that he enjoyed:
Jake Tapper: "It's just one of many Democratic investigations where they hope to hold the White House's feet to any number of fires. The White House is under attack from every angle. From global warming, to the rebuilding of New Orleans, to Darfur, to Iraq."
Later in the report, he discussed hearings on Hurricane Katrina and returned to the fire analogy:
Tapper: "This week, a Senate committee went to New Orleans to hold the President's feet to the fire on Katrina recovery."
CORRECTION: An earlier post incorrectly said none of the
evening newscasts carried a mention of the falling gas prices. I apologize for
Gasoline costs nearly 20 cents less than it did the same
time last year, but the good news merited only a passing mention on the night
before President Bush’s State of the Union address. By contrast, the networks
spent more than 10 minutes combined interviewing 2008 presidential candidate
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).
"The price of gasoline fell by 6 cents last week to an
average of about $2.16 a gallon nationwide – a 14-cent decline over three
weeks,” the Associated Press reported January 22. AAA's Fuelgaugereport.com,
which displays data from the Oil Price Information Service, shows similar data.
"Retail gasoline prices have fallen 17 cents from this time
last year," and the price of crude oil has also been on a downward track, "down 86 cents at $51.13 a barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile
Exchange," the AP reported.
ABC's Charles Gibson mentioned the drop in a 15-second bit
on "World News," while CBS and NBC had no time for that good news. Each
network, however, gave the junior senator considerable air time on its January
ABC anchor Gibson gave the former first lady the most face
time with 5 minutes and 9 seconds in a satellite interview on "World News." NBC’s Brian Williams and CBS’s Katie Couric gave Clinton about the same time as a full-length
news report. Clinton’s
taped sit-down with Couric lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds, while Williams’
taped in-studio chat was 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
Another Democratic presidential candidate, another chance for ABC's George Stephanopoulos to push for higher taxes on energy. On Sunday's This Week, when just-announced candidate Bill Richardson outlined how his energy policy would be based on conservation and improved technology, listing how “it's going to take more efficient air conditioning, it's going to take green buildings, it's going to take fuel-efficient vehicles,” Stephanopoulos jumped in: “Higher gas taxes?” The Governor of New Mexico rejected the plea from Stephanopoulos: “No, you don't have to do it with taxes. You need a conservation effort that every American participates in, inspired by the President.” Stephanopoulos remained unpersuaded, proposing: “But aren't higher energy taxes the best way to get people to conserve?”
On the December 3 This Week, as recounted in my NewsBusters item, Stephanopoulos told Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a then just-announced Democratic candidate for President, that "just about every expert on energy says the best way to become energy independent is to raise the price of oil and gas, to have a serious energy tax. Why not call for it?" Stephanopoulos followed up by pointing to Europe as a model to emulate: "Couldn't we become independent much more quickly if we had the kind of energy tax you see in Europe?"
Some times, real surprises arrive in your e-mail, such as: Newsweek's International Edition welcomed the New Year with an article titled "Iraq's Economy Is Booming." Nobody noticed this "mother of all surprises" in America, since the article wasn't placed in front of domestic customers (it is online). Why not? Liberal, Bush-hating politics, perhaps? Despite the often-reported violence and terrorism, Newsweek's Silvia Spring asserted "there's a vibrancy at the grass roots that is invisible in most international coverage of Iraq."
Canadian columnist Neil Reynolds noticed Spring's piece in Toronto's Globe and Mail:
OTTAWA -- More than U.S. troops are surging in Iraq. As the international edition of Newsweek magazine reported at year-end, the Iraqi economy is expanding at a rapid rate: "Civil war or not," writer Silvia Spring says, "Iraq has an economy and - mother of all surprises - it's doing remarkably well." Amid anarchy and savage violence, Iraq's construction industry is booming.
Exactly two weeks after ABC anchor Charles Gibson trumpeted how video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the House floor holding a baby while she talked to colleagues demonstrated “the ultimate in multitasking: Taking care of the children and the country” (my NewsBusters item with video of his January 4 oozing), he celebrated how House Democrats “completed their scheduled hundred hours of work in just about 42 hours, so they can put the other 58 in the bank.” In stark contrast to how ABC's evening newscast scrutinized the Republican agenda in 1995, on Thursday's World News Gibson triumphantly listed the liberal policy accomplishments, naturally without any such ideological label, and didn't paint any as controversial or cite any criticisms of them.
“A short while ago, the Democratic-led House passed the final measure of its self-declared first one hundred hours in office,” Gibson touted as he listed how the energy bill “would encourage investment in alternative energy sources and lower oil industry subsidies.” Gibson listed how the House passed “an increase in the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, a bill that would expand stem cell research and overturn President Bush's restrictions, a measure requiring the government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices on behalf of Medicare patients. And they agreed to cut interest rates on student loans.”