The media and the Republicans were happy to blame President Obama for the high price of gasoline in March, but they are giving Obama none of the credit for the drop in gas prices today.
It seems like only yesterday that the GOP and their corporate media lackeys were telling us that gas prices would ruin Obama, but they have gone silent as gas prices have fallen since Obama announced his administration’s crackdown on oil speculation.
As recently as last month, Mitt Romney was still blaming President Obama for the price of gas, “He gets full credit or blame for what’s happened to this economy and what’s happened to gasoline prices under his watch and what’s happened to our schools and what’s happened to our military forces — all these things are his responsibility while he’s president.”
Speaker of the House John Boehner went as far as to claim that gas prices could cost Obama the election, “But if the economy doesn’t get better, I don’t think he’ll win. If people don’t feel better about government-run health care, I don’t think he’ll win. And if gas prices are $5 or $6, he certainly isn’t going to win.”
The media was happy to give the Republicans a free forum and plenty of airtime to use to blame Obama for gas prices, but on April 17 Obama called for a crackdown on oil speculation, “We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher, only to flip the oil for a quick profit. We can’t afford the situation where some speculators can reap millions (of dollars in profits), while millions of American families get the short end of the stick. That’s not the way the market should work.”
Since Obama announced his crackdown on oil speculation, gas prices have fallen twelve cents a gallon. The media response to this news has been total silence. (I guess if Republicans don’t have anything to say then there is nothing for the corporate media to report).
There are a couple of other factors at play that have also driven the price of gas down. Speculators had been running wild in February and March. They were betting that war with Iran was on horizon. When Israel or the international community did not take any military action against Iran, prices decreased. The other shoe to drop was that savvy U.S. drivers quickly decreased their consumption. When prices got too high, people started driving less. People have more fuel efficient vehicles that need less fuel. The hybrid has replaced the gas guzzling SUV as America’s car of choice. Better technology has made it easier for consumers to fight back against price gouging and speculation.
It is impossible to say whether President Obama’s announcement of a crackdown on speculators lowered gas prices on its own, or whether it was the president’s announcement and a combination of other factors, but if Obama was to blame for price increase, using the same logic, he also deserves credit for the price decrease.
Republicans try to blame President Obama for everything every day, but the media happily and unquestioningly acts a megaphone for the right’s talking points. The media amplified Republican blame of Obama for gas prices, but they have never given Obama credit since gas prices have fallen.
The media’s ability to skip the good along with their enthusiasm for reporting the bad when it comes to this president is one of the reasons why conservative media bias is so obvious to many Americans. There is a reason why Pew has consistently found that President Obama gets the most negative media coverage of any 2012 candidate.
Time and time again during the Obama presidency, we have seen the media behave in ways that debunk the liberal bias myth. Conservatives continue to tout their liberal bias cover story, all the while keeping the American people in the dark about who controls their media, and whose bias they really represent.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association