The long-awaited demise of Usama bin Laden still dominates the news. But the feel-good story of justice finally served will soon have a hard time competing with the feel-bad story of high gas prices.
The price of a gallon of gasoline is at $3.98 as of Friday May 6. And it’s only going higher. The price will likely hit $4 a gallon sometime soon, despite a big drop in the price of oil, and head toward record highs soon after.
You read that right – record highs. When Obama took over in January 2009, gas was a "mere" $1.84 a gallon. Now, "mere" is what’s left in our wallets after filling up.
And it’s all deliberate.
It’s not your standard lefty war “about oil” conspiracy. There’s no grand cabal pumping up gas prices to the point where ordinary Americans can’t afford to drive.
No. High gas prices are the natural result of a series of decisions by the Obama administration that are geared to hiking the cost of fuel, limiting how much we drive and controling one more asepct of Americans’ lives. Obama isn’t the only factor. Mideast politics, wars – including Obama’s new one in Libya – and global demand all have impact, too.
What’s more, this high price reflects what most of the left believe it should be and is thoroughly embraced by the elite media who know they’ll still be able to pull up to a pump and afford $50 or $75 for a fill-up.
If you remember the last time we hopped on this roller coaster, much of this should seem familiar – only the presidents have changed. To journalists, that means everything.
In 2008, high gas prices were a media crisis. We had news outlets doing stories about telecommuting, people (even ABC staffers) riding their bikes or riding horses to work. “And one Indiana resident gained attention last week from supporters as well as the police, who arrested him after he put on an unauthorized concert on the roof of a gas station, all in protest of high fuel prices,” ABC’s Bianna Golodryga told the “Good Morning America” audience. Highlighting “desperate” drivers, she even included a song snippet: “Price gouging, so we’re shouting, who’s jacking up the cost of fuel,” sang Jay Weinberg.
Throughout the gas price spikes, President Bush and Vice President Cheney were treated like they were Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader because they had connections to the oil industry. Somehow having experience in an industry became a dark and sordid conspiracy. The oil industry was even accused of manipulating the price of gas to alter the 2006 election.
Stories about horrible price hikes were used to undermine the Bush presidency. In all, the networks linked Bush to rising oil prices 15 times more than they did Obama in similar time periods.
That’s why the gas crisis in 2011 is something entirely different. Obama has shown you don’t need oil connections to pump up the price of gas. It’s gone up more than $2 in just over two years. At that rate, ordinary drivers will have to sell a kidney just to drive to the polls and vote him out in 2012.
Obama’s attacked drilling off shore, criticized oil profits and even called the black crude “yesterday’s energy” in his State of the Union address. Throw in concern for new government regulation and it all impacts prices.
Newsflash for President Obama: There are about 246 million autos in the United States, most of them using “yesterday’s energy” so we can all go to work, church and go see our loved ones. Yesterday’s energy works. It’s today’s politicians that need some improvement.
But the news media like the attack on Big Oil. The Business & Media Institute at the Media Research Center found that Obama’s anti-oil actions rarely made the reports about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Only 1 percent of the 280 oil price stories the network evening shows aired mentioned Obama's drilling ban or other anti-oil.
Journalists would like nothing better than to see America become an eco-state like Europe – where gas prices top out at 1.72. Sadly, that’s measured in liters and Euros. Do a little quick math and a gallon of gas in Denmark runs you close to $10.
That’s the path we’re on here when the government targets an industry for attack. The recent movie “Atlas Shrugged” depicted gas prices that had spiked much higher than that. It may prove prophetic as Americans learn what life is like under a president who cares more about dogma than drivers.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.