Chicago Sun-Times Practically Runs Durbin Press Release on Gas Prices

May 20th, 2008 1:50 PM

Screencap of Sen. Durbin (D-Ill.) from Chicago Sun-Times Web page (May 20, 2008) | NewsBusters.orgNews Flash!: Liberal politician decries price gouging, vows to use government to fix problem, mugs for cameras to hog credit.

Oh wait, that's not really news at all. Unless you work for the Chicago Sun-Times.

The online edition of the paper gave Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin a virtual press release with a 9-paragraph story by reporter Maureen O'Donnell. Here's an excerpt:

The Second City has become first in the nation for high gas prices, with consumers struggling as oil company profits soar, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Monday.

"We've got to stop the price-gouging,'' Durbin said.

He took credit for a new Federal Trade Commission probe into record fuel prices as he spoke before a BP station at Roosevelt and Wabash with regular gas selling for $4.25.

At no point did O'Donnell mention that previous FTC studies on price gouging have given liberals little if any ammo on the price gouging charge. Perhaps most notable among them the spring 2006 FTC study conducted to probe if there was price-fixing after Hurricane Katrina (available here as PDF).

That study found (see page 24):

the best available evidence suggests that companies have not restricted the level of capacity below competitive levels and that they have used their capacity to the fullest practical extent. Further, the price increases in summer 2005, as well as the more gradual increases since March 2002, do not appear to have resulted from short-run capacity utilization or export market manipulation by refiners.