Thursday, February 23, 2012

Remember when gas was $1.82 a gallon...?


... these guys don't.

Rising gas prices used to be big news, but not so these days. Although the national average climbed to $3.56 on Feb. 20, setting a February record after going up nearly a month straight, there was far less coverage than in 2008. Broadcast networks repeatedly covered the rise under the Bush presidency. Gas prices bounced around eventually reaching $3.56-a-gallon on April 24, 2008.

The Business and Media Institute analyzed broadcast network news references to gas or fuel prices between Jan. 20 and Feb. 20, 2012 and from March 24 and April 24, 2008. BMI found that in the 2008 period there were more than 4 times as many gas prices stories, news briefs or news headlines on ABC, CBS and NBC as there were in 2012 (97 to 21).

Coverage during the time periods differed not only in quantity, but in tone as well. During Bush’s tenure, gas prices were a huge economic threat and cause of suffering. The networks also used the high gas prices to attack the administration. In 2012, the networks aired mostly matter-of-fact stories on the rising gas prices, and worried primarily that they would hinder the economic recovery, not that they are making people suffer.

Dismal broadcast network reports about “skyrocketing” gas prices filled the newscasts in 2008. There were reports about businesses closing, airlines struggling and truckers protesting -- all because of the high prices. One ABC report said families were facing the “tough choice” between food or fuel. Others said that “wallets were running on empty” and consumers were told over and over that there was no relief in sight. But by the end of November 2008, prices had collapsed to $1.82.

Related: Anecdotaly, we recall quarterly GDP figures quite often being revised upwards after the fact while Bush was in office and conversely, those same figures being routinely revised (unexpectedly!) downward under Obama.

We suppose that when you are in the tank for a man who has been nothing but passive-agressively hostile to oil production and who has on his team an energy secretary who actually said “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” , higher gas prices at the pump are really no big deal and, in fact, are something to be celebrated. If it weren't for these damn elections every four years, though.

We'll let Victor Davis Hanson wrap things up:

Obviously putting American oil off-limits and blocking the Keystone pipeline hardly encourage Middle East producers to make up the slack by doing things that we will not. Nor can we blame the “oil men” in the White House. Under the old calumny, the Bush-Cheney oil connections led to supposed profiteering that got gas up to an average of $1.85 when Bush left office in January 2009; apparently that slur is now inoperative given that gas has roughly doubled under the wind-and-solar team.

1 comment:

Harrison said...

Dean... we need more green jobs!