MSNBC's token conservative Pat Buchanan has really been having a lot of fun lately taking on the liberals at the so-called news network he contributes to.
On Monday's "MSNBC Live," Buchanan in the middle of a discussion about oil prices and subsidies told the host, "You’ve got to learn a little bit about supply and demand as Barack Obama never did when he was out there in that Saul Alinsky outfit in Chicago" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday described the country's "gas gripes" over rising fuel costs, adding, "Soaring prices lead to new pain for the President as big oil gets ready to report record profits." (MP3 audiohere.)
The former Democratic operative turned journalist tried to put the best spin on Barack Obama's growing problems: "And, Jake, these gas prices are also knocking down President Obama's poll numbers, which is why he's out there nearly every day addressing this problem."
Reporter Jake Tapper, on the other hand, provided a more balanced look, pointing out, "When President Obama was sworn in, gas averaged $1.84 a gallon. Today, it's $3.86. And as prices have spiked since January, the President's approval ratings have sunk."
The average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline hit $3.86 on April 25, more than $1-a-gallon higher than a year earlier and less than 25 cents away from the record high price of gasoline set in July 2008.
In fact, per gallon prices are more than $2 higher than when Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009. Yet the president has been nearly exempt from criticism on the issue of rising prices, despite a six-month drilling moratorium and more regulatory hurdles for industry.
The Business & Media Institute found that out of the 280 oil price stories the network evening shows have aired since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, only 1 percent (3 stories) mentioned Obama’s drilling ban or other anti-oil actions in connection with gasoline prices.
The establishment press's lack of interest in associating President Obama with the sharp run-up in energy costs has been thoroughly documented by several folks at the Media Research Center, including but not limited to Julia Seymour when gasoline hit the $3 mark, and more recently Brent Bozell.
Saturday, the Associated Press's Mark S. Smith took the gas-price propaganda to the next level. As anyone would predict, he failed to assign any blame for the energy cost run-up to specific Obama administration policies such as the Gulf drilling moratorium and other barriers to production, and paid relative lip service to the pain it is causing average Americans. To Smith, those are apparently mere trifles.
While the morning show hosts on NBC and CBS showcased the looming political threat of high gas prices for Barack Obama, ABC, Friday, simply repeated White House talking points and explained how the President will try and blame Republicans.
Reporter Bianna Golodryga noted that Obama "wasted no time" in going after the GOP. She parroted, "During his speech in Reno, President Obama argued that budget cuts proposed by Republicans would keep the country from making critical investments in new alternative technologies that could wean our dependence on foreign oil."
Golodryga offered no hint of political danger for the President, instead highlighting his claim to expose "speculators." She touted, "President Obama told a crowd here he's going to go after anybody who gouges." CBS, on the other hand, painted a different picture.
On April 20, 2010, a horrific oil spill took place in the Gulf of Mexico on British Petroleum's (BP) Deepwater Horizon rig. Since that day, gas prices have risen nearly $1-a-gallon to $3.83 per gallon. President Barack Obama's anti-oil policies, including a drilling moratorium are at least part of the reason for that dramatic spike. But you will rarely hear that from the mainstream media.
It certainly isn't the story the network evening news shows have told their viewers since the oil spill. Out of 280 oil price stories since the disastrous pill, just 1 percent (3 out of 280) mentioned any connection between Obama's anti-oil efforts, such as the drilling moratorium, and rapidly rising gas prices.
When Democrat presidential candidate Walter Mondale announced in his October 1984 debate with former President Reagan that he would raise taxes if elected, his campaign was over, and he ended up losing one of the biggest election routs in American history.
As Barack Obama prepares to offer the nation his deficit reduction plan Wednesday, it is widely believed he is going to recommend tax hikes on at least the upper wage earners in this nation.
If this is true, is he repeating Mondale's mistake less than nineteen months before Election Day? Are Americans hungrier for tax increases now than they were 27 years ago?
Reasonably astute readers will catch the falsehoods and fallacies inherent in the following statement made by President Obama last Wednesday at the town hall meeting held in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania:
But here’s the thing about oil. We have about 2, maybe 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves;  we use 25 percent of the world’s oil.  So think about it. Even if we doubled the amount of oil that we produce, we’d still be short by a factor of five. 
The average Associated Press or other establishment media apparatchik following Obama around as he embarks on his 19-month reelection campaign has apparently given these statements little if any thought, simply assuming that they're "obviosuly" true. Each of the President's three key number-tagged assertions is either demonstrably false or seriously misleading. Each is badly in need of a specific refutation.
Back in mid-2008, as gas prices approached $4 a gallon and the first inklings that a real recession would soon be under way were appearing, George W. Bush told a town hall audience questioner who wondered when gas prices might start coming down that it might be time for owners of gas-guzzling SUVs like the questioner to "think about a trade-in." He also laughed at the questioner's indication that he had ten children and told him that "you definitely need a hybrid van."
... Well, of course George W. Bush didn't say these things. Readers here and anyone else who understands the establishment press know that if Bush or any other well-known Republican or conservative had said these kinds of things, the nation would have been alerted to it quickly and repeatedly. Reporters would have solicited comments from Democratic Party officials, who would have dutifully told the world that such remarks were proof of how uncaring and out of touch the person who made them must be.
President Barack Obama said the exact things mythologically portrayed in the opening paragraph above at a town hall meeting in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
On Wednesday's All Things Considered, NPR's Ari Shapiro acted as a stenographer for the Obama administration's energy proposals. Shapiro played four clips from the President's recent speech on the issue, and another from a sympathetic environmentalist. Even the lone clip from an oil industry representative came from someone who "supports the move to invest in biofuels and clean energy."
At the beginning of his report, the correspondent noted that "the White House described this event as a pivot away from speeches about Libya and Japan. But President Obama acknowledged that those crises make it important to talk about energy now." After playing his first clip from the chief executive, who stated that "the situation in the Middle East implicates our energy security," Shapiro stayed within the perspective set by the Democrat: "America's past is strewn with moments when a global crisis has driven up the price of gas or scared people about the risks of nuclear energy."
On Thursday at Reuters, Andrew Quinn, with the help of Caren Bohan, cobbled together a pathetic "analysis" full of sympathy for a "struggling" Barack Obama and recognition of the need to keep oil flowing from Saudi Arabia. It also contained a false jab at George W. Bush and the War in Iraq.
First, let's look at Quinn's Bush jab:
Obama is committed to partnering with other countries rather than going it alone as did his predecessor George W. Bush, which both broadens and complicates the decision-making process.
This got the attention of Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic (HT Instapundit), who linked to the identical but unbylined Reuters item at the New York Times. Goldberg's response:
Former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich wrote a truly nonsensical piece for the Huffington Post Tuesday ironically called "The Republicans' Big Lies About Jobs."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews must have loved this tripe and its sophomoric title for he invited the Berkeley professor on Wednesday's "Hardball" so that the pair could put on a clinic in liberal economic fantasy (video follows with partial transcript and oodles of commentary):
After two years of practicing unrepentant contempt for science, jobs, law and truth, why should Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's words mean anything anymore? While President Obama promotes offshore drilling overseas thousands of miles away in Brazil, Salazar now promises to revitalize America's oil and gas industry. It's like Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian promoting himself as a lifesaving CPR specialist.
This week, Salazar announced that the administration has just approved the first deepwater oil and gas exploration plan since last spring's BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Mind you: This is not a granting of permits, but a green light for Shell Offshore to seek drilling permits for three new exploratory wells off the Louisiana coast. Shell first submitted and received approval for its original exploration plan in 1985 — 26 red tape-wrapped years ago.
It was likely not a surprise to "Inside Washington" viewers that most of the usual suspects on the panel Friday saw the crisis in Japan as not being good for the future of nuclear powered electrical plants in this country.
What certainly must have raised a couple of eyebrows though was the strongest opposition to any further construction of such facilities coming from lone conservative Charles Krauthammer (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A prominent GOP senator on energy issues accused President Barack Obama Thursday morning of having set an “explicit policy goal” of making energy prices more costly for Americans.
“My message today is simply this: higher gas prices - indeed, higher prices for the energy we use - are an explicit policy goal of the Obama administration,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Let me put it another way: the Obama administration is attacking affordable energy.”
The increase in energy prices is beginning to resemble the rise in 2008. But this time, the American economy may be better prepared for higher fuel costs.
Gasoline prices have risen by nearly a third in the last year, and oil costs more than $100 a barrel for the first time in more than two years, driven by fears of extended Middle East supply disruptions and increased demand from an improving global economy.
While the latest surge in energy prices is likely to cause some pain and slow the recovery from the recession, economists say the spike is unlikely to derail the rebound unless prices rise a lot further.
On MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" today, Steve Liesman robustly defended raising gasoline taxes as a way to address rising oil prices.
The CNBC senior economics reporter minced no words to show his support for hiking the unpopular consumption tax in the midst of a sluggish economic recovery: "I want to offer that one of the real solutions here is a gas tax."
After positing that the problem with oil prices "is not that they're high, it's how they oscillate," Liesman claimed higher gas taxes "would accomplish two things: one, it would create incentives to use less of it and two, create a little more certainty around the price, which by the way is one of the things making gasoline a bad fuel for the economy."
In an interview with former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill wondered if higher gas prices in the wake of Mideast unrest were the result of some sort of fraud: "We've seen prices skyrocket....Is the public right to feel taken advantage of in some ways here, or even scammed?"
Even the liberal Reich didn't accept the premise: "Well look, a lot of this is supply and demand. The country can feel a certain sense of taken advantage of. But some of this is the demand that's coming from China. I mean, you have developing nations all over the world....And their oil needs are very high. And so they are also putting pressure on oil prices. It's not just the Middle East."
On Sunday's Face the Nation, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman denounced the proposed White House plan to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to curb rising gas prices: "That would rank in my top five worst ideas of 2011 so far....one thing we should finally be doing is using this opportunity to have a credible energy policy that begins to reduce our addiction to oil."
Friedman's idea of "credible energy policy" was to force Americans to continue to pay higher gas prices: "Gasoline is almost $4 a gallon. We know that's a red line where people really start to change their behavior. At a minimum, I'd be talking about a tax that basically says we're going to keep it at $4. If it goes below we'll true it up, if it goes above that we're not going to touch it."
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."
Philip Elliott at the Obama White House's state-compliant wire service reports, and distorts (bolds are mine):
Barbour says Obama cheers for higher gas prices
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential presidential contender, accused the Obama administration Wednesday of favoring a run-up in gas prices to prod consumers to buy more fuel-efficient cars.
Barbour cited 2008 comments from Steven Chu, now President Barack Obama's energy secretary, that a gradual increase in gasoline taxes could coax consumers into dumping their gas-guzzlers and finding homes closer to where they work.