Morning Shows Ignore Vote to Keep Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling

Morning Shows Ignore Vote to Keep Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling
The same media outlets covered the anti-business push to investigate and punish price gouging.

By Ken Shepherd
Business & Media Institute
May 19, 2006

     This spring, broadcast media outlets have complained of rising energy prices, including record oil and gas prices that are inflicting pain at the pump. The networks reporting raised the specter of price gouging and reported calls for investigations of gas pricing. Yet on May 19, the morning after the House of Representatives rejected a proposal that might increase U.S. oil supply and lower prices, the network morning shows were silent.

     Despite talk of an energy crisis and the need for independence from foreign oil, Congress seems to be in no mood to open more of the countrys coastal waters to energy development, Associated Press writer H. Josef Hebert opened his May 19 article.

     Congressmen rejected an attempt to end the quarter-century ban on oil and natural gas drilling that has been in effect for 85 percent of the country's coastal waters from Alaska to New England despite arguments that new supplies are needed to lower energy costs, Hebert added. He noted that opposition fell largely along geographic, not partisan lines with politicians of both parties from coastal states opposed [to] lifting the drilling restrictions. The amendment failed by a 279-141 vote.

     But for all the controversy, the fact that the legislation did not split along party lines, and as Hebert put it, talk of an energy crisis, the issue received no attention from ABC, CBS, or NBC on the May 19 morning news programs.

     By contrast, on May 4, the same morning shows jumped on House-approved legislation to punish price gouging.

     After reporting the price of oil and the nationwide gas price average, Today show news anchor Ann Curry reported that on May 3 the House approved a measure that would give jail sentences and up to $150 million in fines against any oil company found guilty of price gouging.

     Gas gougers beware, Rene Syler cautioned on CBS the same morning. Amid an outcry over high gas prices, House lawmakers passed a new anti-gouging bill.

     ABCs Robin Roberts similarly found trouble for oil companies. A new measure passed by the House would hit the companies with fines up to $150 million and could send executives to jail, she reported on the May 4 Good Morning America.

     While most of the media have attacked high gas prices, some reporters have embraced high gas prices as part of a liberal agenda.