'Today' Finds Cloud on Lower Gas Price Lining

Ah, the MSM, where bad news is good, and good news . . . can't be allowed to go unchallenged. So long as a Republican is in office, that is.

Take gas prices. Over the last year the MSM has had a field day with a profusion of stories on 'soaring gas prices.' 'Today' reached an absurd apotheosis on August 7th. As reported here, Ann Curry envisioned the absolute worst: a decrease of less than 1/200th in world oil supplies leading to more than a 1/7th jump in crude oil prices - a 1:28 cause-and-effect ratio. In dollar terms, Curry fretted over the possibility that the shutdown of a BP pipeline in Alaska could cause crude oil prices to leap $10/barrel.

We've been tracking prices since then and providing regular updates at the original column. Guess what? Crude was about $75/barrel on the day of Ann's report. Since then, rather than spiking to her imagined $85/barrel, it has slumped to $69 and change. Whoops!

The slump in crude prices has been showing up at the pump, as Matt Lauer acknowledged on this morning's show "you are probably feeling better when you fill up your car. AAA reports that regular unleaded gasoline is about $2.80 and analysts say prices could fall."

Of course that good news couldn't be allowed to stand, so with his very next breath Matt informed us that "the head of Chrysler is not painting such a rosy picture," as the screen shows the Chrysler CEO with the words "we're planning internally as if it is $3 to $4 a gallon" over the legend "high prices here to stay?" Funny, there were no balancing voices of optimism [which would as it turns out have been realism] to be heard back on August 7th when Ann was predicting the worst.

Today might have concluded its segment by passing along reports that the lower gas prices are expected to lead more people to drive over the coming Labor Day weekend. Instead Today featured a man who had traded in his pick-up for a hybrid Prius and bragged of his lower fuel costs.

Of course Today didn't rain on his parade by mentioning the thousands of additional dollars the man would have paid to acquire his little gas-sipper. In MSM-land, clouds are only found when the good news might redound to Republican benefit.

Update: Fellow NewsBuster Ken Shepherd takes a comprehensive look at gas prices and media reaction in his column at the Business & Media Institute.
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.