On Friday's Your World with Neil Cavuto on the Fox News Channel, MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham appeared to review how the media covered the politics and economic of gas prices under the Obama administration as compared to the Bush administration. Fox News ran a series of headlines showing the difference in approach -- high gas prices could doom Bush, but aren't Obama's fault, and could be a good sign.
Tim mocked Friday's headlines on the front page of The New York Times as well, which demonstrated the media urge to happy-talk President Obama to a win in the fall. [Video and transcript by Scott Whitlock below, audio here]
NEIL CAVUTO: Gas prices jumping yet again overnight. The national average is now just 11 cents shy of $4 a gallon, but that is not all. Just two weeks ago only three states had an average gas price of $4 a gallon. Today, three times as many. And the media is playing that as good news to media watcher Tim Graham. It is a little weird. I remember a little different play on this phenomena few years ago under a different president.
TIM GRAHAM: Certainly in 2006, George W. Bush got a much harsher press. It was really kind of funny because they were saying that things were going to go really badly for Bush in the midterm elections, which of course they did. But when gas prices went down in the fall of 2006, then Katie Couric did story where she basically said, "Is this an oil industry plot to drop the gas prices before the elections?" They just assume whatever spin that they can find. Yeah. The front page of New York Times this morning? "U.S. Inches Towards Goal of Energy Independence."
CAVUTO: I couldn't believe that! I looked at that and I said, "Are you kidding me?" I mean, obviously, fast and loose with some facts here, and some trends and leaving out the potential shale oil production and fracking possibilities that could exponentially change the entire drilling equation. But, that tells you all you need to know-
GRAHAM: 45 percent [of our liquid fuels still coming from abroad] --
CAVUTO; -- about where the media is.
GRAHAM: Well, and then underneath that, Neil, "Obama Seizes Chance to Score As an Everyman," where we see he loves college basketball and his dog.
CAVUTO: Well, you know, my view on this, if the media is going to go, you know, one way and be very kind of be soft on an issue or fuzzy on an issue, then at least be that way with everyone. If you're going to be hard on President Bush on gas prices and the effect, and I do remember the fear that this was going to really disrupt economic expansion at the time and certainly imperil the President's reelection, then, then, then apply the same tough standards today. Now, I will say this, though, that we are seeing some of that apply. I just don't think enough. I just don't think with the same sort of real checking the facts, the drilling issue, our indebtedness to the Middle East issue, I just don't think- the weak dollar issue and now that is contributing- we are not doing our homework.
GRAHAM: Well, there is lot of emphasis, now, on how it is not the President's fault. There is nothing he can do about it. I mean, and the Washington Post went out and did a poll. Is the President, you know, can he do anything about this? What was funny was, then they put the two numbers side-by-side. So, six years ago, 73 percent of the Democrats said the President can do something about gas prices. Now they say, 33 percent of them say, the President can do something about gas prices. That is a 40-point double standard gap. That's where the media lives.
CAVUTO: Something's weird. You're right. That's right. And I'll just say, guys, I don't care whether you're right or left, just fair is fair. Right is right. Tim Graham, thank you very much. Good seeing you again.
GRAHAM: You bet.