The Washington Post Gives You Gas

Friday's Washington Post displayed that annoying trend of hyping already high gas prices with a photograph of astronomical gas prices. As reporter Steven Mufson reported that AAA marked that regular gasoline price at $3.36 a gallon, a photograph right next to it online (and on an inside page in the paper) displayed a gas station sign marking the regular price as $4.19. Mufson explained the prices this way:

On the eve of the summer driving season, crude prices defy gravity, hovering around $110 a barrel, keeping gasoline prices at record levels and sapping money from cash-strapped consumers. Yesterday, the AAA auto club said prices at the pump set records of $3.357 a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline and $4.045 for diesel, even though U.S. gasoline consumption fell 0.6 percent in the first quarter.

That could make oil prices a politically volatile issue this year among voters who think prices are excessive and are looking for someone to blame.

In other words, the oil companies could be a big target this year of Democrats. Mufson began the piece:

Is there a fair price for oil?

It doesn't seem that way. Over the past year, the price of crude oil has nearly doubled even though oil inventories are ample, there has been no disruption in supplies, and petroleum demand in the United States, the world's biggest consumer, has leveled off in recent weeks as the economy has slowed.

Often, newspaper editors and reporters can look down their noses at television and how it distorts the news as it simplifies it. In this case, newspapers are as bad as TV with misleading photographs of atypical gas prices like the Post's.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis