CBS Claims Old People Skipping Food, Medicine Due to High Gas Prices
Alfonsi highlighted a poll taken by the liberal lobbying group AARP to supposedly prove the hardship gas prices are having on the elderly. “They’re used to living on fixed incomes,” Alfonsi reported, “but now skyrocketing gas prices are forcing seniors to make difficult choices. Some are cutting back on medicine, others say they’re eating less.”
As she spoke, the screen showed the words “AARP Survey” plus the words “Cutting Back,” followed by “Medicine 6%,” then “Food 13%.”
But the poll wasn’t taken “now,” during the wave of network stories wailing about high gas prices. It was actually conducted for the AARP newsletter AARP Bulletin nearly eight months ago, in early September 2005, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and fairly extensive supply disruptions in the eastern U.S.
In reviewing CBS’s Early Show on Tuesday, MRC’s Mike Rule noticed the network aired a very similar report from Alfonsi that did not include the stale AARP survey. But it still conveyed the idea that old people were going to bed hungry because of fuel prices.In clips shown on both the Evening News and The Early Show, Alfonsi interviewed an elderly man sitting on his front porch, asking him “What do you think when you fill up your car with gasoline now?”
The man, who seemed as if he may have been kidding with Alfonsi, replied, “I think, ‘Have I got enough money to pay for all this and still get a loaf of bread?’”
But she decided to take him seriously. “Fortunately 91-year-old Delbert Osborne doesn’t drive that much anymore. He relies on Meals on Wheels, a group that’s also in a squeeze. Volunteer drivers, most who are retirees on fixed incomes, are dropping out everyday....Rising gas prices could curb deliveries to once a week.”
Every year for April Fool’s Day, the staff of the MRC writes up a set of imaginary quote that we think are far more ludicrous than the genuine bias we document on a daily basis. Back in 2005, one quote in our April Fool’s Edition of Notable Quotables read:
“More bad news on gas prices this morning, as the average price for a gallon of unleaded rose four more cents, another record. The AARP issued an emergency alert, saying high gas prices are forcing many seniors to stop purchasing required medicine and, in some cases, to choose between gas for their cars and food.”
Thirteen months later, that parody of liberal bias showed up as the real thing on the CBS Evening News.