Morning Shows Cover Fuel Efficiency Bill

On June 22, all three networks covered the Senate bill mandating higher automobile fuel efficiency. NBC's "Today" only ran an anchor brief on the story, but ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS's "The Early Show" both ran short stories on the news.On "Good Morning America" David Kerley spun it in a positive fashion hypothesizing the bill "should save you some money." They then played the clip of Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) hailing passage of the bill implying the United States will be less dependent on Middle Eastern oil. GMA did play a clip of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner stating "we think there are ways to do it that are smarter," but there was no mention of the potential increased danger of automobile accidents as documented by the CATO Institute.CBS's "The Early Show" ran a generally positive story on the bill, but did include some skepticism. Reporter Kelly Wallace asserting that "evironmentalists" are "hailing the compromise as a win for the environment and the consumer." CBS also ran the Senator Feinstein sound bite. However, Wallace noted some unintended consquences.

"But auto industry analysts say there could be unintended consequences. The last time Congress mandated fuel efficiency standards for cars, Americans ditched their station wagons for larger, heavier trucks on the road."

"The Early Show" also included the safety concern and ran a sound bite from Rebecca Lindland Global Insight, a skeptic of the new standards.

"[The American people] don't really want to change their lifestyle. They want to protect their family. Do you sacrifice the safety of your family and get a small, light vehicle in order to save a tree?"