In a June 21 column, former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont (R) used misleading statistics to claim that the United States could dramatically increase its domestic production of oil and natural gas. In addition, du Pont praised nuclear power for creating "clean energy" because it does not produce carbon dioxide emissions. Less than a month ago, du Pont attacked "global warming alarmists" for blaming increased global temperatures on higher carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.
Reports on the CBS Evening News and ABC's World News Tonight noted treasury secretary nominee Henry M. Paulson's environmentally friendly outlook but failed to report that Goldman Sachs, the investment bank Paulson leads, and The Nature Conservancy, an organization where Paulson serves as board chairman, have both urged mandatory reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, a policy the Bush administration has categorically rejected.
On Fox News' Special Report, Assistant Energy Secretary Alexander Karsner claimed that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had "come around to embracing" President Bush's National Energy Policy, while guest anchor Jim Angle suggested that Clinton's proposed energy plan was "pretty close" to Bush's plan with the only "differences" being that Clinton's plan involves "meddling" with the free market. But neither Karsner nor Angle spelled out any of the significant differences between the competing proposals.
In a segment on Al Gore's global warming campaign, PBS' Gwen Ifill noted that "critics have called Gore 'alarmist,' " before airing a clip of an ad produced by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which she identified only as a "Washington think tank." But Ifill did not mention that CEI is a conservative institution largely funded by the energy industry, which has a financial stake in opposing policies that seek to combat climate change.
On the CBS Evening News, CBS Washington correspondent Bob Orr reported that President Bush "asked Congress to give him the authority to raise the mileage requirement for cars." This is at least the second time CBS neglected to mention that support of higher mileage standards is a significant shift by a White House that, as recently as February, opposed increasing efficiency standards for passenger cars.
On ABC's This Week, host George Stephanopoulos failed to correct a series of misleading statements by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) concerning the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and potential sources of oil off the coastal United States.
A Washington Times editorial that advocated drilling in the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge exaggerated estimates of the refuge's oil reserves and the amount of daily oil production that could be achieved through exploration there.
Fox News' Neil Cavuto hyped the Bolivian government's recent decision to nationalize its energy industry as a "socialist threat" to the United States. Cavuto asked Fox military analyst Col. David Hunt: "Colonel, I'm wondering whether this is a military threat -- leave aside the energy concerns -- but a military threat to our country now?" Hunt replied: "Yeah. There is no question," adding that "oil is a weapon ... and why wouldn't ... states getting close to being a terrorist state ... like Bolivia ... consider it?"
Fox News analyst Mara Liasson touted President Bush's endorsement of a proposal by Senate Republicans to grant the executive branch authority to set fuel-efficiency standards for cars. But despite noting the opposition of some Democratic and Republican lawmakers to raising fuel-efficiency standards for cars, Liasson did not inform viewers that Bush had also opposed raising those standards -- as recently as February. Fox News host Chris Wallace also noted Bush's endorsement of the proposal but left out the fact that this represents a shift in policy for the Bush administration.
MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell failed to challenge Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's (R-TN) suggestion that drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is necessary to reduce America's "60 percent dependen[ce]" on foreign oil. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, drilling in ANWR would reduce projected U.S. dependence on oil imports by only 4 percent over the next 20 years, from 68 percent in 2025 to 64 percent.
Both the CBS Evening News and NBC's Nightly News reported that President Bush endorsed a proposal by Senate Republicans to grant the executive branch authority to set fuel-efficiency standards for cars -- a power that currently resides with Congress. CBS and NBC failed to note, however, that this move by Bush represents a significant shift for the White House, which opposed, as recently as February, increasing efficiency standards for passenger cars.
Fox News host John Gibson contradicted himself twice while discussing whether Democrats have a plan to combat high gasoline prices. He first referred to one part of their "plan," then said he "never heard an actual Democrat plan," and finally noted that President Bush was following the advice of Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) by ordering an investigation into possible price gouging.
On the April 25 edition of ABC's World News Tonight, co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas reported that President Bush "unveil[ed] an ambitious plan to lower the cost of oil and gas." Yet later in the same broadcast, ABC News chief White House correspondent Martha Raddatz reported that the Bush administration "acknowledges that this plan will likely not bring down the price of gas anytime soon."
Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that both the "state and federal" government are "making more money now that the gasoline prices are higher because their tax goes up." In fact, for the federal government and more than three-fourths of the states, gasoline taxes remain constant regardless of gas prices because they are measured in cents per gallon, not as a percentage of total gasoline sales or wholesale prices.
On April 24 and 25, CNN and ABC reported that congressional Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, were calling for President Bush to investigate possible price gouging by the oil industry. But none of the reports noted that Democrats had previously called for a price-fixing probe, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, who had called for such an investigation at a press conference a week earlier.