CBS Reporter Misrepresents Pump Prices

     Regular unleaded gasoline peaked in early September this year at $3.06 and has continued to fall, hitting just $2.15 per gallon. That would be news to CBSs Joie Chen, who misrepresented prices at the pump in a November 27 Evening News report.

     Gas prices are still high, but at least now theyre averaging under $3-a-gallon, Chen noted just after attributing slight up-ticks in the economy to more Americans traveling on the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 

     According to the AAAs,  prices have held below the three-dollar mark for over two and a half months, and have dropped every single business day since October 6.

     Chens competition at NBC reported it more accurately. Reporter Michael Okwu on NBC Nightly News on the same night noted that while paying more on average for gas this year, motorists were paying 80 cents less per gallon than they did after Katrina.

     Not only were Americans paying significantly less than the post-Katrina highs, reported the current average of $2.15 for regular unleaded was only 21 cents higher than the average from one year ago. By comparison, the change in the average price of regular unleaded gasoline nationwide from November 2003 to November 2004 was more than twice as large an increase at 47 cents more per gallon according to the Department of Energy.

     As far as the general economy, Chen left the viewer to presume low unemployment (5.0 percent nationwide), low inflation (0.2 percent in October), and economic growth at 3.8 percent in the third quarter were only slight up-ticks in economic health. 

     But 3.8 percent was nothing to sneeze at as the Heritage Foundation reported at the end of October 2004, when GDP growth was recorded at 3.7 percent for the third quarter of that year.

     Study co-authors Tim Kane and Rea Hederman noted that since 1970, GDP growth has averaged 3.16 percent per year after inflation Since 2001, real output has grown at an average annual rate of 3.47 percent. Earlier this year, Kane and Hederman analyzed economic growth as of the second quarter, which stood at 3.4 percent, or, boring and not flashy, but at the same time, the best kind of growth because there are no signs of inflation heating up.

     The Business & Media Institute has previously reported on how the media spin economic data with a persistently negative tone and on how the media distort reporting on gas prices.