Monday, February 20, 2012

A Wave Of Hysteria

While our staff celebrated birthdays, and cleaned our offices and homes, a disgusting but sadly unsurprising amount of needless hype hit the media this weekend - and that's outside of the overblown coverage of Whitney Houston's memorial service.

One of those hysterical story lines focused on Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who whined and backpedaled his way through several interviews, trying to parse some video where he boldly, arrogantly, and ignorantly claimed that Protestants were not true Christians. Santorum even desperately resorted to throwing out the lie that's been disproved MANY times, that President Obama isn't a Christian, and that President Obama's political ideas are a "phony theology."

Another story that bored members of our profession were hyperventilating over this weekend was the price of gasoline, and the reaction of Iran cutting oil exports to France and Britain.

It's sad, really, that more of our colleagues either don't keep files on what's been recently produced in the media, or simply don't care to pay attention to what others in their profession have been doing. We addressed this very topic at the beginning of January, nearly a month and a half ago, along with journalists from Bloomberg and Reuters.

Once again, a desperate Republican field has already ginned up their propaganda machines, claiming that the same President Obama they say has overreached on subsidizing alternative energy is now "anti-American energy" as Newt Gingrich claimed over the weekend. Rick Santorum, already proven to be ignorant of basic facts about religion, also weighed in, falsely claiming that President Obama has made America more dependent on foreign oil.

The facts, of course, support neither man, and make them both appear to be chronic liars.

As Bloomberg pointed out in January, America's reliance on foreign oil - specifically from the Persian Gulf - is down to 9% and continuing to fall. In November of 2011, the Wall Street Journal - which is absolutely NOT a liberal media outlet - pointed out that America was a net EXPORTER of oil in 2011. That means America sold more oil to other nations than we imported last year. USA Today confirmed in December; for the first time since 1949, the U.S. exported more oil and oil products than it imported in 2011.

Further, when the White House released its 2013 budget proposal last week, the President renewed his call for ending subsidies to Big Oil and natural gas companies, and doubled down on renewable energy investments – all while Congressional Republicans have been fighting him all the way.

All this adds up to reflect the fact that America is LESS dependent on foreign oil under President Obama, while Obama has been continuing to fight for America to generate MORE of its own energy needs.

It would be journalistic malpractice for us if we didn't note the Obama Administration IS concerned about the price of fuel and its impact on our economy. They and other nations are deeply concerned about rising gas prices, and have been for some time.

That's why, as we, Reuters, and Bloomberg noted back at the beginning of January, the Obama Administration and other leaders around the world have been planning and preparing for events like an international temper tantrum by Iran's leaders for some time. Obama and others already have several solutions to try and keep oil prices down, including tapping oil reserves in Europe, Japan, and the U.S.

If Republican candidates were being honest, they'd acknowledge that most world leaders - save those that are part of OPEC - have little control of the price of oil. The price of oil is determined by supply, demand, and oil futures trading. To that end, President Obama has already made plans to increase the supply, has helped America's oil producers make more oil, and had the Democrats in Congress pass more regulations to restrict oil futures traders. In other words, Obama has already done everything he can.

There may indeed be a wave of gasoline price hikes coming - but there is always a rise in fuel prices in the spring. Anyone who truly loves America should be hoping that this seasonal price hike won't derail the fragile economic recovery – not desperately reaching and failing to graft religion onto politics.

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