J’Accuse!

April 30th, 2012 at 9:53 am

I accuse TV news of asymmetry!

When gas prices were rising in March, I couldn’t turn around without being asked to explain why we shouldn’t blame the President for higher gas prices (answers: a) oil is a global commodity with prices set on world markets, b) unlike OPEC, we don’t control enough supply to make a difference, c) administration has actually presided over period of aggressive fossil fuel energy extraction).

But this month, with prices falling, I’ve yet to get one request to explain why the president should get credit for falling gas prices (answer: he shouldn’t).  Of course, this trend could easily reverse, especially as the summer driving season approaches, though one reason for the decline is consumers’ responses to the higher prices: driving less and shifting to higher mileage vehicles.

I know…it’s shocking to see such asymmetry but there it is.

Source: GasBuddy

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5 comments in reply to "J’Accuse!"

  1. Jason says:

    I think, all these years, we’ve been getting the saying “no news is good news” backwards… media conventions would lead me to believe the correct turn of phrase is “good news is not news.”


  2. Rob Lewis says:

    While the U.S. doesn’t control enough of the oil supply to make a difference, I think we may control enough of the demand. If we cut our consumption by, say, 15%, it would almost surely push prices down. As Amory Lovins never tires of saying, that would be relatively easy to do (at least from a technological if not a political standpoint).

    I’m reminded of a column Steve Forbes published in his magazine early in the Clinton administration. He argued that increasing CAFE fuel economy standards would actually lead to an increase in gas consumption, because people would drive more. Yes, he actually said that. I immediately wrote to congratulate him on, perhaps without realizing it, solving the fuel crisis. Clearly, what the government needs to do is mandate WORSE fuel economy in our vehicles. Then people will drive less and we’ll save oodles of gas. Problem solved!


  3. perplexed says:

    -”I accuse TV news of asymmetry!”

    Asymmetry may be the least of it’s crimes. Bill Moyers’ show the other day featured an excellent interview with Marty Kaplan from USC’s Norman Lear Center that should stand as warning to all concerned about the plight of democracy in this entertainment age. We are trying to operate a democracy in the absence of being informed by a free and independent press so critical to its success. The kind of press needed to serve a democracy is nothing like the kind needed to raise profits for shareholders and advertisers. Neil Postman warned of this many years ago in his book “Amusing Ourselves to Death;” Kaplan does a superb job of describing just how it works and how dangerous it is. The show is called “Big Money, Big Media, Big Trouble” and can be seen here: http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-big-money-big-media-big-trouble/


  4. Michael says:

    I wonder who owns those channels.


  5. Th says:

    I disagree that Obama shouldn’t be given credit for falling gas prices. He threatened to release oil from the strategic reserve and started investigating futures trading in oil with potential new restrictions. I say both contributed to price decreases.


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