DRAMATIC MOVIE ANNOUNCER’S VOICE: “In a world where America hangs in the balance on the price of gas, comes one man who’s responsible for it all. He’s the greatest threat America has ever faced, a socialist, a communist, a religion-attacking baby hater, he’s a man called “Obama” and he’s coming for your white children and their cars! And this time, it’s personal!”
This fictional drama is playing out across America on the Mainstream Media’s screens, as a co-production between the GOP and the MSM. Their target audience is of course American voters who are looking for contrived conflict and horror.
One can hardly blame the GOP for trotting out its same-ol’-same-ol’ of “The Democrat is going to bring the Apocolypse if elected!” and “Everything bad that happens in life is Obama’s fault!” but the news media has no excuse for presenting one-sided propaganda as a legitimate viewpoint (even if they follow up the presentation of it with a counterpoint)…but they do have a very powerful reason for doing so.
Let’s begin with the journalistic malpractice being performed right now in the news media. They are trying to have it both ways, the meme goes something like this, “Rising gas prices will hurt President Obama’s re-election chances. What if anything can he do about it and will it be enough to keep his re-election hopes on track?”
You see what’s going on here? First, they state as a fact that people are or are going to be moving away from Obama due to gas prices then they admit that he has no control over them.
The problem with this is that…they are reporting “news” that hasn’t happened. Right now, people are moving TO Obama, his polling and approval is going up. No such hit to his support has actually happened. Such a situation may have happened in the past but so what? It’s not happening now, at least not as of yet. Would they also be justified in saying, “A realistic sounding radio broadcast about an alien invasion on Halloween will send Americans into a panic!”?
They are creating and inventing an issue and are communicating to the public that it is understandable to look unfavorably upon Obama because gas costs more. While they’re at it, perhaps they should also suggest that people may (and would thus be justified to) blame Obama for rising candy bar prices.
I’ll get to the facts about gas prices shortly but right now, let’s consider why the news media likes to have it both ways, like having lead ins that say, “Is Bigfoot really alive? Even though we know it’s a myth?”
As we know far too well, the news media thrives on conflict. It is a fact that the more conflict there is in politics, the more people tune into the news networks more frequently which translates into more money they make selling ad time. So there is a financial incentive to the corporate owners of the media outlets to spread misinformation and whip up viewers. Let us not forget that there is only one legal obligation for a corporation, and that includes corporations that own media outlets, making money for their shareholders. That takes priority over everything else, including any journalistic responsibility by one of their holdings.
For some time, the MSM and the GOP were happy as clams to have a powerful tool to leverage Obama’s chances for re-election down, the economy. Unfortunately, in the eyes of both, the economy improving was a bad thing. Then, they both had to find a substitute hammer to pound Obama down as he rose up in the polls and makes it less of a horse race.
The GOP candidates continued lying about Obama’s actions and positions, blamed him for every bad thing they could imagine but it wasn’t doing the job.
Then came the controversy over insurance covering contraception even for those employed in public businesses owned by churches and they cheered! They had their issue…or did they? As usual, the GOP overplayed its hand and again alienated the majority of the public from their position. The MSM was also sad to see this issue fall apart, they want a close election to boost earnings.
So as the GOP struggled to find another weapon to use to assault Obama, the MSM came to the rescue and collaborated on a new meme, “Obama will lose support for his re-election due to rising gas prices!”
You can be sure that if this meme fails as previous ones have, they will be back with another and another because the goal of the MSM isn’t about reporting news, it’s about filling 24 hours each day with programming that excites viewers to keep tuning in more frequently. Which is why they have no shame in manufacturing “news”.
President Obama’s lead over Romney and Santorum has only grown over the last “gas price disaster” week, 53% – 43% against Romney and 53% – 42%…now a double digit lead over both potential nominees.
A Presidential election is about choice, people will decide if they want President Obama making decisions for the nation or President Romney or President Santorum. It is about the future, about jobs and economic stability, not about the current price of gas.
And talking about that, let’s review some of the actual facts about gas prices:
1. The oil industry in America is not nationalized, private companies dictate gas prices.
If the GOP wants to cry about gas prices being high because of President Obama, they need to declare that they want the US government to nationalize the oil industry. Then they would be justified in attacking the President when he chose to raise oil and/or gas prices. Until then, they should be biting the oil industry hand that feeds them and their campaigns.
2. Oil drilling has grown enormously under Obama.
1,069: The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. this week. The figure reflects a huge surge in U.S. oil drilling, up nearly 60% in the past year and the highest total since at least 1987, when oil services company Baker Hughes Inc. began keeping track.
3. Even if all regulations on drilling were removed and drilling took place everywhere possible on the US, gas prices would only go down three cents.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2009 report, “Impact of Limitations on Access to Oil and Natural Gas Resources in the Federal Outer Continental Shelf” analyzed the difference between full offshore drilling (Reference Case) and restriction to offshore drilling (OCS limited case). In 2020, there is no impact on gasoline prices (right hand column). In 2030, US gasoline prices would be three cents a gallon lower.
4. American demand for oil has plummeted to 1997 levels.
5. U.S. Dependency On Foreign Oil Drops Below 50%
U.S. dependence on imported oil fell below 50 percent in 2010 for the first time in more than a decade, thanks in part to the weak economy and more fuel efficient vehicles, the Energy Department said on Wednesday.
6. Speculators own the majority of oil as a commodity and inflate its price to their benefit.
Still, oil’s price shot up because it trades in financial markets, where Wall Street firms and other big financial players dominate oil trading, even though they have no intention of ever taking possession of the oil whose contracts they are trading.
Since oil prices are the biggest component in the price of gasoline, pump prices are soaring. AAA said Tuesday that the nationwide average price for a gallon of gasoline stood at $3.57, compared with $3.38 a month ago and $3.17 a year ago. It takes about $6 more to fill up the tank than it did this time last year – and last year’s gasoline-price surge helped take the steam out of the economic recovery.
Historically, financial speculators accounted for about 30 percent of oil trading in commodity markets, while producers and end users made up about 70 percent. Today it’s almost the reverse.
A McClatchy Newspapers review of the latest Commitment of Traders report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates oil trading, shows producers and merchants made up just 36 percent of all contracts traded in the week ending Feb. 14.
Not surprisingly, big Wall Street traders on Tuesday projected oil will rise above $112 a barrel; some such as Swiss giant Vitol even suggested $150-a-barrel oil is coming soon. When they dominate the market, speculators’ bids can make their prophecies self-fulfilling.
7. Gas prices started rising recently only after Iran threatened a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz
Roiled by the specter of Iranian oil cutoffs, gas prices are rising at a record pace, crossing the $4-a-gallon threshold in some parts of the country, and threatening to break an all-time high, experts say.
So again, is it not the job of a responsible media, when hearing the GOP aspiration/propaganda that the public will blame The President for gas prices rising, to correct that falsehood and not just shrug and say, “That’s what some people say,”? Even if that proposition was true and Americans think Obama is to blame for gas prices, isn’t it up to the MSM to provide accurate information to dispel an untruth?
If the majority of Americans believed the Earth was flat, should the MSM report, “The Earth is flat! Science continues to argue otherwise.”
And as for the GOP, consider that the front runners for the Republican nomination for President have both espoused policies of attacking Iran. What would that do to gas prices if just the threat of a blockade causes gas prices to skyrocket? War with Iran and battles in the Strait of Hormuz would bring gas prices down?
The truth is that Romney, Santorum and Gingrich, if any of them became President and kept their campaign promise, would drag America into another war and cause gas prices to climb towards maybe $10.00 a gallon or more.
Has the MSM made this point when claiming Obama will be blamed for high gas prices? That if he wasn’t re-elected, gas prices could explode due to a threatened war with Iran by the GOP?
There is both a cynicism and a disrespect that the GOP and MSM exhibit towards the American people by relying on or at least repeating untruths to prosper. Do the American people deserve honest debates between the people vying to run the nation? Do they deserve a press that stands up for truth and facts, that exposes misconceptions and untruths?
We deserve better but in the meantime, until or unless it changes, we should remain prepared and unmoved by more propaganda issues whipped up by the GOP and megaphoned by the MSM, designed to restrain Obama from running away with the election and to capture our attention.
(Just realized I lost a section about the Keystone XL Pipeline and so I’m adding it back in here):
The GOP rails about how damaging Obama is to America’s energy needs by not approving the “vitally needed” Keystone XL Pipeline and as you may recall, they even tried to hold the payroll tax cut hostage to force it forward.
This is indeed a very cynical piece of propaganda paid for by the Kochs and others partnered in this project.
The US is unlikely to see much if any oil from the Keystone tar sands if the pipeline is built. The TransCanada Corp has clearly expressed that this oil is intended for selling abroad.
Why else is there a need to bring the pipeline down to the huge shipping port of New Orleans when there are US refineries located elsewhere, possibly much closer?
In an attempt to manipulate public opinion in the US, TransCanada has misrepresented the number of temporary and permanent US jobs the pipeline would create. They claimed around 20,000 US jobs would result but it’s a tortured math to come up with that. The US Chamber of Commerce just wiped the chalkboard clean and fabricated that it would create 250,000 jobs which is just ridiculous! Where? Doing what? It’s a pipeline! Once it’s built, it carries tar sands through it to refineries that already have employees working there.
The bulk of jobs created will be temporary in building the pipeline and the US State Department did their own analysis which concluded that it would only provide 5,000 – 6,000 temporary jobs for about a year…then those jobs go away forever. Another study by a private group estimated only around 2,000 temporary jobs would be created.
So, for agreeing to run this pipeline through our country, we get increased pollution and climate change from greater mining of tar sands and refineries processing it, a toxic timebomb of a pipeline running right through an enormous aquifier in our country that provides irreplaceable ground water to many states, no real increase in oil supplied to the US since most if not all will be exported and in return, we get a few thousand temporary jobs that go away after a year or so.
That’s what Republicans call, “A critical need for America!”