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....
So Kucinich is asking these oil companies to explain particularly refining. He cited examples in California where he says prices of refining a barrel of oil have jumped from $17 a barrel five years ago to $39 a barrel, and that's creating a big upward swing in the price of gasoline.
He also wants to know about refining capacity in California. Again, he says that in 1985, the refineries were operating at 76 percent of capacity, so lots of room to grow. Now, they're running at 92 percent of capacity, which means that there's not enough room. If a refinery has to go down for maintenance or repair or switch over blends of gasoline, what happens is then they can't refine more gas, and it becomes a supply and demand issue. Gas prices spike. We see this every spring. This is what happens. We're not growing refineries in this country. So he would like responses. He's asked for detailed and documented answers to a series of questions that he has laid out in a letter by April the 25th. We will be eager to hear what those responses are.
As the segment closed, O'Brien and Velshi listed some of the reasons why new refineries have not been built.
M. O'BRIEN: No one wants a refinery in their backyard.
VELSHI: They're dirty. They're hard to get approval for, but they are - and they're expensive, but we got to do something. We got to use less gasoline or build more refineries.
Notice, though, that both O'Brien and Velshi fail to mention two other major reasons there aren't any new refineries - too many regulations and litigation costs.
The mainstream media's laser beam-focus on oil companies as the leading reason for high oil prices only serves to forward the agenda of liberals like Kucinich.