Fueling the spin on gas

Media try to distract public from the reality of rising prices

So, gas prices are up and headed way up, according to experts. What do you suppose was Good Morning America’s take on the subject?


That middle- and lower-income Americans will be hurt most?

That it will cause all kinds of businesses problems, and perhaps jobs, as Americans siphon money from other things?

That President Obama, like all presidents at time of high gas prices, has a problem?

Nope. Show host and former Bill Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos grumbled this week that “This is something (Republicans) think they can exploit.”

Really? That’s the important point?

So, immediately, he’s going to the political angle – and cynically suggesting the GOP will “exploit” the issue. Never mind the pain the high prices will cause the nation’s most vulnerable.

Once a political operative, always a political operative.

Rather than wondering, like someone who has a personal stake in the politics of it, “What, if anything, can the White House do about” the issue, wouldn’t a more objective talk-show host note that this president and his men actually have pined for high gas prices all along?

First, consider how high gas prices were “exploited” by Democrats – who were cheered on by the media – under President George W. Bush.

“What do you say to people who are losing patience with gas prices at $3 a gallon?” one reporter asked Bush.

“Drivers are paying a heavy price for the Bush administration’s failure to enact a comprehensive energy strategy,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in 2007.

Barack Obama, himself, felt your pain – at least when someone else was responsible for it: “I know how bad people are hurting,” he said as a candidate in 2008.

Last year, he was visibly less sympathetic, laughing off the cost of gas by suggesting you trade in your car to avoid them.

It’s interesting how the media focused on the White House before, but seem to go out of their way to protect Mr. Obama as president. Consider: The Associated Press story containing his sarcastic trade-in remark to the car owner was later edited out. Why? One newscaster even called high gas prices a “blessing in disguise” that created jobs. CBS’ Harry Smith once explained, helpfully, “why gas prices, even at over $4 a gallon, can sometimes be a good thing.”

A senior writer at Time magazine argued that higher prices were saving lives – she even knew how many: 2,220 – due to reduced “particles” in the air.

Prices certainly fluctuate – but apparently not as much as the media’s view of them, depending on which party’s in the White House. Even Russian newscasters would be embarrassed by these attempts to excuse the current head of state.

But it could be argued that high gas prices aren’t just an accident under this president. They’re a policy – helped along by his blocking of oil drilling and his recent veto of a pipeline project. Asked directly once if high gas prices can help us, Mr. Obama didn’t disagree – only lamenting that “I would’ve preferred a more gradual adjustment.”

His secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, told The Wall Street Journal in September 2008, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Website Politico.com writes, “In a follow-up article, ABC News interviewed a scientist who had worked with Chu, Lee Schipper, who estimated that European gas prices were at about $7 to $9 per gallon.”

So who’s exploiting the price again?



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