With gas prices steadily rising over the last few months and the U.S. facing an election year, the topic has once again become highly politicized.
Republicans have been eager to attack the Obama administration, citing government “over regulation” and the president’s alleged disdain for free market policies as a major reason for continued sluggish economic growth and high gas prices.
Some, notably GOP candidate for nomination and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, have even talked about a plan to “fix” gasoline at $2.50 per gallon to help ease the burden for average Americans.
The message says, if elected, Gingrich would boost domestic oil production, by opening up off shore drilling, building the Keystone pipeline and reducing red tape.
Not surprisingly its been a hot topic on Fox News, which has also been harping about the fact that gas was at $1.79/$1.83/$1.84 (etc.) per gallon when Obama was elected and has many from the right now trying to figure out why the president is to blame for the rise in prices.
According to this recent reporting, it’s almost as if elected politicians have some amazing ability to control worldwide demand for oil.
If Fox can’t seem to make its mind up exactly what the price of gas was when Obama was sworn in and appears to support such political gas price “influencing” measures, it stands to reason the network has little chance of fostering any credible arguments regarding the current situation with gas prices.
Contrast this with 2008, when gas prices were around $4 per gallon and you get a rather different message, dare we say credible reporting from Fox in some cases, as this medley compiled by Media Matters, and noted by TreeHugger illustrates:
The message Fox has on again/off again observed is overwhelmingly clear: no president has the power to influence gas prices in light of a complex geopolitical climate and myriad other market forces affecting supply and demand. One thing that can be done to influence the price of gas is for the population to collectively make an effort to use less fuel. And isn’t that what current government policy (at least in theory) is trying to do?