Ever since Bill Clinton pointed out that, “it’s the economy, stupid,” presidential campaigns have tended to focus on the economy. But now that the unemployment rate is showing signs of improvement, with some experts predicting a drop below 8 percent by year-end, Republicans and their media allies are scratching around for another issue to frame their 2012 election bid around.
What about gas prices? Fox News watchers have been hearing a lot of complaining about how the media are giving President Obama a free pass on the issue, despite the fact that President Bush was feeling the heat for it back in 2008. According to conservative commentator and media watchdog Brent Bozell, speaking on Fox News, back in 2008, when the prices of gas hit $3.56 per gallon there were 97 network news stories covering it. But this year, when prices have once again returned to that level, there have been only 21 stories on this subject, despite the fact that prices continue to go up.
“Still there’s no interest on the part of the media on the fact that prices have gone up almost 100% under Barack Obama. Imagine if they had gone up 100% under George W. Bush. What they would have done?”
Come on people, can we please get some outrage here? Not surprisingly, when they show Bush in a 2008 press conference being asked by a reporter what he thought about gas prices climbing towards $4 per gallon, his response was, “That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that.”
Maybe, it’s not such a big deal this time, because we’ve been there, done that.
According the Chris Stirewalt, writing for Fox News in a column entitled, Gas Price Fears Driving Obama Campaign, “Knowing that gas prices are heading higher and knowing how well he exploited the issue of high gas prices himself as an outsider candidate in 2008, the president is on an urgent mission to insulate himself from energy-price energy[sic]. In a relentless swing-state campaign push, Obama is denouncing what he says are Republican efforts to prevent him from taking the needed funds away from oil companies to reduce gasoline prices.”
After all, if Americans are suffering higher prices at the gas pump, it must be the president’s fault, right? And surely it must be the fact that Obama wants to eliminate oil company tax breaks that is making prices go up. (Most sources agree that tensions in Iran are responsible.)
And yet, if we turn the clock back to 2008, it turns out that a number of those 97 news stories about high gas prices, were by Fox News commentators explaining why the president has no control of such things.
This video flashback is definitely worth watching.
It’s amazing how much sense these columnists suddenly had back then. Cal Thomas saying, “journalists don’t really examine the substance of it…the facts are, no president has the power to increase or lower gas prices. Those are market forces.”
We have Neil Cavuto blaming China and India for “Swapping up all this oil faster than we can these days.”
Cheryl Casone tells us that, “At this point it really is tough for this president, because he really doesn’t have any control what’s going to happen with the markets and with the economy… it is really out of the president’s hands.”
Perhaps, best of all, Mr. Bigmouth O’Reilly himself, spoke of gas prices hitting a record high, and “politicians cannot do a thing about it.” He goes on to suggest that people should try to cut back on consumption in hopes of driving prices down. Imagine that.
Funny how when it’s your guy and something bad happens, they have no control because the world is so complicated. But if it’s the other guy, then by all means, release the hounds. Likewise, if something good happens on the other guy’s watch, then it was just luck, but if it’s your guy, then bring on the brass band–all the while telling the world how “fair and balanced” you are.
Nothing really new here, except that thanks to the internet, we can now see these flashbacks for ourselves and catch these hypocrites in the act of contradicting themselves.
[Image credit: Rick Payette: Flickr Creative Commons]
Video courtesy of Treehugger.
RP Siegel, PE, is the President of Rain Mountain LLC. He is also the co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails, the first in a series covering the human side of various sustainability issues including energy, food, and water. Now available on Kindle.
Follow RP Siegel on Twitter.