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Thursday, February 1, 2024
As Gas Prices Dropped, MRC Forced To Adjust Its Anti-Biden Narrative
Topic: Media Research Center

Because it's the Media Research Center's job as a right-wing activist group to talk down the economy when a Democrat is president, it unsurprisingly labored to blame President Biden for higher gas prices earlier this year, despite offering no evidence to support the claim. When one commentator pointed out that Biden has little control over gas prices, Alex Christy complained in an Aug. 8 post:

As President Biden prepares to travel to Arizona to declare a new national monument around The Grand Canyon, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell used her Tuesday show to lament how people’s basic needs to heat their homes and not break their wallets over gas prices have hurt his ability to cut back on fossil fuels. Mitchell and Politico White House editor Sam Stein also insisted that those gas prices have nothing to do with those high gas prices as he’s just a bystander to world events.


As Mitchell tells it, Biden had nothing to do with those high gas prices. She also does not explicitly mention the reason for the increased supply of natural gas to Europe, but the move came so that the Europeans could continue to have heat in the winter months as they seek to move away from Russian energy sources. If geopolitical realities and basic standard of living concerns force the U.S. and Europe to increase their reliance on fossil fuels, maybe that says something about the desire to move on from them.


You can do something about lower gas prices or appeal to your base. You can help the Europeans disentangle themselves from Russian blackmail or appeal to your base. For MSNBC, those, apparently, are difficult choices.

Christy, of course, is appealing to his employer's right-wing base by suggesting that Biden has total control over oil prices.

Ana Schau used an Aug. 11 post to complain that a CNN report focused on "'core inflation' that removed some of the most relevant factors, such as the cost of energy and food, from the final number to bring it to a place that looked better," though she was forced to concede that "These statistics showed that, in fact, gas prices were the only thing that had gone down, and that by enough to shift the average to a good-looking spot."

An Aug. 31 post by Craig Bannister, taken from the dessicted right-wing blog that used to be the MRC's "news" division, served up some RNC-approved (and cherry-picked) graphics to attack Biden's  economy, including gas prices:

While gas prices held steady under Pres. Donald Trump (down four cents a gallon), they’ve surged 53.1% in the first 31 months of Pres. Joe Biden’s term. From January 2021 to July of this year, the average price of a gallon of gas (all grades) has increased from $2.42 to $3.71, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

By August 28, that cost had risen another 24 cents, to $3.95 a gallon, bringing the increase under Biden to more than a dollar and a half per gallon.

Bannister offered no evidence that Biden and Biden alone is responsible for gas prices.

A Sept. 13 post by Joseph Vazquez complained that the New York Times called out exactly what he was doing -- cherry-picking bad inflation numbers to attack Biden:

The New York Times treated an expected spike in inflation as a problem because … Republicans could potentially pounce on the development to criticize President Joe Biden. Yes, the leftist rag actually did that.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a report Sept. 13 at 8:30 a.m. showing that inflation came in hotter than expected in August with a 3.7 percent spike year-over-year. A glaring statistic showed that gas prices spiked a whopping 10.6 percent in August, significantly contributing to the overall inflation rate.


[Reporter Jim] Tankersley tried to throw Biden a lifeline before the BLS report dropped by gaslighting readers. “Prices at the pump remain well below their peak in June 2022, when a gallon of gas cost more than $5 on average.”

Of course, nowhere in his propaganda did Tankersley mention that the average gas price was $2.49 cents per gallon when former President Donald Trump left office, according to economist Stephen Moore. “No matter [how] you slice or dice it, the cost of filling up is about $20 higher today than under Trump,” Moore summarized in an Aug. 16 New York Post piece.

Meanwhile, gas prices were falling, so the MRC needed to adjust the narrative to make that somehow a bad thing. When Republican Rep. Tim Scott tried lecture NBC's Lester Holt about how gas prices supposedly work, Jorge Bonilla tried to boost him n a Nov. 8 post:

Holt tried, he really tried. Take note of the claim. “The idea”, said Holt, of increasing production isn’t enough to decrease prices. Scott folded that premise upon Holt’s head, Inception-like, by correctly pointing out that markets respond to the perception of confidence created by regulatory certainty.

We know this is true because of what happened to the price of gasoline after Election Night, 2020. The record reflects that it began to INCREASE based on the regulatory uncertainty that came with Biden’s election. And it really began to spike after Inauguration Day, 2021, the day he signed the executive order to tighten domestic energy production.

Actually, we don't know that -- Bonilla is simply taking refuge in the correlation-equals-causation fallacy, and he offered no actual proof to bolster his assertion. And Bonilla is certainly not going to tell his readers that U.S. oil production has increased under Biden.

When another news report noted the  lower gas prices, Bonilla had a conniption in a Nov. 29 post:

The pro-Biden media is doing its level best to mitigate the effects of inflation on the everyday finances of the American public: case in point, this weird report on the national gas price average.

Watch as anchor Lester Holt cheerfully frames today’s national gas price average as inflation relief:


God forbid, what happens to gas prices if OPEC cuts production or if the Biden administration’s deal with the Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela lapses due to noncompliance? Does NBC issue a correction for pretending that commodity speculation is news? 

More than anything, the report comes off as “Bidenomics” propaganda without that word, which journos openly lament “isn’t working”, ever being uttered.

Also unsaid: the reason gas prices got so high in the first place. Rhymes with Schmidenomics.

Um, wasn't Bonilla trying to portray "commodity speculation" as news by claiming without evidence that the mere election of Biden caused gas prices to increase? And if Biden deserves blame for higher gas prices -- and Bonilla offered no evidence that he was solely responsible -- shouldn't he also get credit if prices go down? Bonilla probably doesn't want to get into that.

Bannister returned with revised cherry-picked charts in a Dec. 15 post that had to acknowledg that gas prices have gone down since his earlier propaganda effort.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 PM EST

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