MSNBC's Contessa Brewer uncritically aired President Bush's assertion that the "United States has an opportunity to help increase the supply of oil on the market, therefore taking pressure off gasoline for our hardworking Americans, and that I've proposed to the Congress that they open up ANWR, and open up the continental shelf, and give this country a chance to help us through this difficult period." However, federal researchers have found that any benefit from the oil exploration Bush suggests would not impact the U.S. oil supply for at least a decade.
Referring to criticism of President Bush by Dick Gephardt over rising gas prices, Rush Limbaugh asserted: "[G]as prices didn't start going through the roof till [Democrats] took over the House in 2006." In fact, average monthly gasoline prices (adjusted for inflation) began to climb several years before Democrats took control of Congress.
In an article about President Bush's February 28 press conference, The New York Times uncritically quoted Bush saying the following in response to a question about the source of funding for his presidential library: "I, frankly, have been focused elsewhere, like on gasoline prices and, you know, my trip to Africa, and haven't seen the fund-raising strategy yet." The Times did not mention that earlier in the press conference, Bush said he "hadn't heard" that gas prices might rise to $4 gallon.
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.
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.
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.
In reporting on President Bush's announcement that he would suspend fuel deposits into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to reduce rising gasoline prices, numerous news outlets failed to note that Bush had previously criticized both the Clinton administration and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for proposing to use the reserve to lower prices.
On Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes said he was "tired of hearing" the complaints of people who are "so upset about gas costing too much." Barnes said: "[I]f it costs a lot to fill up the tanks and they don't like that, well, demand that the supply increase. Demand that oil be drilled offshore, in ANWR [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge], and so on." He added: "Otherwise, look, shut up."
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