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.
As gas prices rose in 2008, network reporters mentioned President Bush in 15 times as many stories than they brought up President Obama in a similar period in 2011.
Bush drew gallons of coverage in 2008. Comparing a 20-day span of rising gas prices in 2008 to 24 days of rising prices in February 2011, the Business & Media Institute found the networks did more than 2 ½ times as many stories during the Bush years versus Obama.
Good Morning America news anchor Juju Chang on Thursday made a goof that could surprise her morning show audience. Discussing instability in the Middle East, the reporter claimed that oil prices have been pushed above "$100 per gallon."
Obviously, Chang meant that oil prices are now over $100 per barrel. The current national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.22. (See below for video of the hilarious gaffe. MP3 audio here.)
Ed Schultz on Tuesday spent a great deal of time blaming the crisis in Egypt on rising food prices tying commodity inflation to former President George H.W. Bush and Wall Street speculators.
Not once in over fifteen minutes of air time were the name Bill Clinton or the two bills he signed into law that deregulated the financial services and commodity futures industries mentioned (videos follow with partial transcripts and commentary):
You've probably noticed that those prices at the pump have risen considerably over the last month or so. But don't worry! It's not that big a deal! Well, according to Yahoo! Finance's Daniel Gross, that is. Why? Well, Americans are consuming less gas per capita than a few years ago, cars are more fuel efficient, and people are just plain getting weary of more and more traffic (and, hence, are driving less):
There's also evidence that Americans' long-running love affair with the road is beginning to wane a bit. Driving is less fun when you're always stuck in traffic. These statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation show the number of miles driven by buses, trucks, and cars from 1957 to 2008. From 1990 to 2000, total miles driven rose from 2.17 trillion to 2.75 trillion, up about 26 percent. But between 2000 and 2008, total mileage rose less than seven percent, from 2.75 trillion to 2.94 trillion. Miles driven fell in 2008.
Gas prices are "soaring" again, crossing the $3-a-gallon threshold on Dec. 23 for the first time since Oct. 17, 2008. Back then the benchmark was a relief as prices plunged from the highest price ever of $4.11.
Pump prices have been climbing all month, yet network reports downplayed the pain and suffering of consumers. Jim Axelrod of CBS called it "bad news" after reporting some positive economic news on Dec. 28, but concluded "The economy's not great, says economist Dan Greenhaus, but not terrible either."
Compare that to past media exaggeration of gas prices. NBC's Anne Thompson said that "no matter what kind of gas is sold, today it's now unbelievably expensive" on Aug. 31, 2005. That day the national average for gasoline was $2.62 - but the gas price signs shown in Thompson's report were much higher at $3.49.
Chris Matthews on Wednesday called Republicans that are skeptical of man's role in global warming Luddites, referring to the 19th century movement in Great Britain that was opposed to changes associated with the Industrial Revolution.
Clearly missing the absurdity in his analogy, the "Hardball" host arrogantly stated (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Displaying a clear conflict of interest during Friday's 12PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer did a story promoting electric car charging stations but did not disclose to viewers that the channel's parent company, General Electric, was selling the very same product. GE commercials for the charging stations have frequently aired on MSNBC in recent weeks.
Brewer began the segment, a part of NBC-Universal's "Green is Progress" week, by declaring: "Houston, the city known for gas pumps and oil gushers, is getting the nation's largest network of electric car charging stations." The company providing the charging stations was not General Electric, but rather NRG Energy. Brewer interviewed the company's president and CEO, David Crane.
If you needed any more evidence that the entire theory of manmade global warming was a scheme to redistribute wealth you got it Sunday when a leading member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change told a German news outlet, "[W]e redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy."
Such was originally published by Germany's NZZ Online Sunday, and reprinted in English by the Global Warming Policy Foundation moments ago:
With a 9.6 percent unemployment rate overall in the United States and unemployment rates showing an uptick in states on the Gulf of Mexico that allow offshore oil drilling, one has to wonder what the Obama administration is thinking its Draconian wide-sweeping moratorium halting deepwater drilling in the Gulf after the BP oil spill.
While environmentalists are using today's explosion on a oil production platform in the Gulf to support a drilling moratorium, critics like CNBC's "Fast Money" panelist Jon Najarian have questioned the wisdom of the Obama administration's decision to put up to 75,000 in limbo.
"As far as what was going on in the Gulf, it shows a tone-deafness from this administration," Najarian said on the Sept. 2 broadcast of "Fast Money." "I mean, I'll pound the table for that because I'm not running for office. But I mean, this guy is tone deaf that 75,000 jobs in the Gulf of Mexico that have been idled for no good reason. It's costing all of us and it costs all the places where they would normally spend money as well."
At the top of CBS's Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood proclaimed: "From sky-high air-conditioning bills to gasoline-fueled vacations in the car, there's nothing like summer to remind us that we Americans are power hungry." In the story that followed later, correspondent Seth Doane declared: "In the wake of the Gulf oil disaster, calls for cleaner, greener energy, are growing louder."
Doane lamented: "America is still powered by the energy of yesterday. 95% of our electricity comes from an aging network of coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric plants. Despite decades of promise, today less than 5% of our electricity comes from all other forms of alternative energy combined." He then turned to "Nobel Prize-winning physicist" and Obama administration energy secretary, Dr. Steven Chu: "Secretary Chu sees the oil spill as a tragedy, of course, but also as something else." Chu argued: "The United States has an opportunity to lead in what I consider to be essentially a new industrial revolution."
After detailing different forms of alternative energy, Doane moved on to liberal advocacy. He warned:"But agreeing on a national energy policy won't be easy....And the coal and petroleum lobbies spend millions to protect the status quo." Doane then cited the head of the left-wing group Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp, who whined: "You know, we've passed three energy bills in the last ten years and none of them has done a damn thing to get us a brighter energy future."
On last night's 'O'Reilly Factor,' Fox Business Network reporter Charlie Gasparino claimed that during his time at CNBC, General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt suggested to senior CNBC staff that they were being too hard on President Obama.
Gasparino did not say that it became official CNBC policy to tone down criticism of the president. But he claimed that "the question of whether they were being fair to the president was brought up" and that he had "never heard that before." Keep in mind that at the time GE stood to make a whole lot of money from some of Obama's key policies. NBC and its affiliates have conspicuously shilled for such policies before.
Even absent an official NBC or CNBC policy on criticizing the president, the incident demonstrates a profound lack of journalistic neutrality. There has always been a looming conflict of interest at GE's television arm. The possibility that higher-ups suggested reporters go easy on the president raises all sorts of questions about the abilities of NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC to fairly and accurately report the news (video and transcript of Gasparino's statement below the fold).
As media predictably pound the table for Congress to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, an interesting analysis by Washington Post contributor Robert J. Samuelson should raise a caution flag.
Higher taxes inhibit couples from having children which in other developed nations has led to longterm economic paralysis.
In a western civilization that got drunk on entitlement programs in the previous century, population growth is essential as all of these schemes have a Ponzi component to them: they only work if you continually have new people entering the system to pay for those collecting benefits.
As Samuelson outlined in the Post Monday, our federal income tax structure is quite at odds with our best interests as a nation:
Initial requests for jobless benefits rose last week to their highest level since April, a sign that hiring remains weak and some companies are still cutting workers.
The Labor Department said Thursday that new claims for unemployment insurance rose by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 479,000. Analysts had expected a small drop. Claims have risen twice in the past three weeks.
We continue on the lighter side of things with the Top Five Times NewsBusters Embarrassed the Media. (Also check out a short video-cast with NewsBusters bloggers talking about how they embarrased the journalists)
On June 24, 2010, I had a post on BigHollywood that examined Robert Redford’s asinine statements about the Gulf Oil Spill. From his support of a drilling moratorium to the fact that he literally blamed the spill on Dick Cheney to the way he expected George W. Bush to respond instantly to Katrina, while making excuses for President Obama’s slow response to the BP disaster, his words were just another proof that many actors in Hollywood are out of touch with reality.
And although I hoped Redford would rethink his pomposity before speaking again on topics that he seems unable to comprehend, except through the prism of politics, it appears my hopes were misplaced. On Tuesday, the Huffington Post carried a statement by Redford wherein the actor lambasted Republicans for sinking Obama’s energy bill and with it “our moment to create two million clean energy jobs here in the United States.”
Where did Redford get such precise information about “two million” jobs? It seems like something that was conveniently snatched out of thin air, unless this number is a reference to jobs that the government would supposedly create in a faux clean energy market. But since when when has the government been successful in creating jobs?
Jon Stewart on Monday asked David Axelrod a truly extraordinary question: has this government proven itself competent enough to regulate industry?
Speaking to President Obama's senior advisor on "The Daily Show," the Comedy Central star was in the middle of a rather interesting discussion when he surprisingly said, "It's clear that this administration believes that government can have a stronger hand in regulating Wall Street, in regulating energy, in doing these things."
"But, has government during this time proved itself competent? And are our only two choices sort of an incompetent bureaucracy that doesn't quite regulate properly or free market anarchy?" he asked.
When Axelrod predictably tried to blame all the problems in the country on the previous administration's supposed lack of regulation and oversight, Stewart wasn't having any of it (video follows with transcript and commentary, relevant section at 1:50):
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Cynthia Tucker believes Americans are the enemy of the nation moving in a new energy direction because of what she called our addiction to oil.
As the discussion on this weekend's "The Chris Matthews Show" moved to why President Obama hasn't attacked energy policy much like Eisenhower did the space program, Tucker said, "One of the differences between the '50's when Sputnik was launched and now, that was a battle against Communism."
She continued, "It's always much easier to rally Americans against an external threat, an external enemy."
And sadly continued, "In this case, the enemy is us. Americans are addicted to petroleum. We use way too much oil" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) and MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan on June 17 joined forces to lambaste "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough for continuing to defend President Barack Obama's handling of the BP oil spill.
Scarborough presented a litany of arguments in Obama's defense, but Giuliani and Ratigan countered with specific examples of the president's failed leadership. Regurgitating liberal talking points, Scarborough blamed the crisis on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
"We hear that we had the technology to stop this," Scarborough claimed. "In 2002, though, Dick Cheney and his energy task force said, 'No, we're not going to take an extra step.'"
Giuliani responded with an eviscerating counter punch: "It's important to know as part of the history of this but the reality is, he's been president now for 18 months. It's about time we stopped blaming Bush."
Plenty of prominent media figures were upset with President Obama over his substandard address to the nation last night (full text). While most are distraught, none seem to be doing what should be the essential journalistic task of the day: pointing out all of the factual misstatements the president made.
So, in absence of a serious attempt at fact-checking from the legacy media, let us undertake some of our own.
In all, the president misrepresented the federal government's--and especially his cabinet's--role in creating the conditions that led to the spill, the state of the nation's oil reserves, and his own administration's involvement with BP. Futhermore, his transition from discussing the Gulf spill to advocating "clean energy" legislation was a huge logical leap, and one that necessarily misrepresents the problems the nation faces with regard to energy.
Adler's chief complaint with last night's Oval Office address: Obama didn't call for massive tax hikes to push Americans to make more politically correct spending choices.
The Newsweek writer -- formerly a self-styled "propagandist" for the liberal Center for American Progress -- avoided the T-word until his last paragraph, but he made abundantly clear that he felt that a) American stupidity and short-sightedness was threatening to literally drown Manhattan in rising sea levels and b) Obama was not doing enough to make government force people to make better choices with their own money (emphases mine):
Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann isn't exactly known for her reticence on the news of the day. And when it comes to the White House's handling of the BP oil spill disaster, Bachmann had some harsh words for President Barack Obama.
"The thing that we're all focusing on today will be the president's remarks that he'll be giving tonight and it looks like an absolute opportunism moment for the president to try and advance the next stage of his legislative agenda," Bachmann said. "And I think the curious feature in all of this has been: this is a major disaster and yet it seems like every response that has been coming out of the White House has been about the president rather than about the disaster. That is odd to me. That seems extremely odd."
With the federal government - both on Capitol Hill and in the White House - beginning to take investigative and punitive action against BP (NYSE:BP), the future of the company, at least in the United States, is in peril.
On CNBC's June 14 "The Kudlow Report," John Kilduff, a CNBC contributor and the vice president of MF Global was asked by host Larry Kudlow about a potential debarment from eligibility to be awarded government contracts, which have been very lucrative for the embattled oil giant.
"John, this would effectively be debarment," Kudlow said. "This is something we talked about a week ago, and the prevailing attitude was there would not be debarment because that hardly ever happens in American commercial history. Is President Obama having this as a Sword of Damocles over BP?"
Chris Matthews on Friday got himself marvelously smacked down by a Louisiana Congressman.
In an at times heated discussion about energy policy with Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.), the "Hardball" host continually bashed the GOP.
"The smartest move for your party is to screw things up for the next couple of years, right through November, get the country completely bollixed up, and they will vote Republican out of desperation, and you will have more power," said Matthews. "Is that the strategy of the Republican Party this year?"
When Scalise refuted this claim, Matthews added, "If the Titanic sank today, you know what the Republicans would be saying? Don`t be telling the shipping lines they need more life rafts or life preservers."
Scalise marvelously responded, "If the Titanic sank today, I`m sure the president would try to blame it on George Bush" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):