Obama doubled the price of gas!

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2012

At the Times, Peters does it again: Increasingly, the dumbness of our political discourse is its defining feature.

No claim is so dumb that it can’t be advanced. Quite often, the New York Times will be on the scene to push the claim along.

This morning, it happens again, thanks to Jeremy Peters and his editors.

Last week, Peters was busy letting us know what “some say” about past debates. It may have been the dumbest report we’ve ever seen on this low-IQ, evergreen topic.

This morning, Peters reports about some overwrought claims being made against Obama. In fairness, this is a tricky subject. How does a newspaper report about a crackpot claim without giving the claim wider airing?

We’re fairly sure the New York Times chose the wrong method today!

At issue is a billboard in Florida—a billboard which shows Obama bowing low to a Saudi king. The less-than-shocking incident in question occurred in April 2009.

To watch tape of this shocking event, click here. Warning! Foreign language!

For better or worse, the Times chose to run a color photograph of that Florida billboard. Beneath the photo, Peters’ report starts like this:
PETERS (10/24/12): To turn on the television, open the mail or drive down the highway here is to watch conservatives test the boundaries of how far they can go to disqualify President Obama.

Along the Interstate that connects the beach towns of Florida’s east coast, giant billboards show the president, whom some on the far right have falsely accused of being Muslim, bowing to a Saudi king. Another blares “Stop Obama!” and shows a nuclear warhead with “Iran” painted on it aimed at Israel, a particularly potent message with this area’s many Jewish voters.
Obama did bow to a Saudi king. The photo doesn’t seem to be doctored. But good God:

That billboard also drives the claim that Obama has doubled the price of gas! In big bold numbers, the billboard shows that gas cost $1.89 on Obama’s first day and $3.89 now.

Surely, every journalist knows how stupid that claim is. In late 2008, the price of gas fell through the floor in the wake of the world economic collapse. Earlier that summer, the price had been over $4 a gallon—under President Bush!

Surely, every journalist understands these facts. If the New York Times were a real newspaper, it might have done a report by now in which it named the Republican pols who have been deceiving people by reciting those misleading facts about the price of gas.

The Times took a different approach! This morning, it published a large color photograph of a billboard which is advancing that very dumb claim.

Nowhere does Peters explain the facts behind those misleading prices. He doesn’t explain the misleading facts the Times chose to plaster across the top of A12.

This may not be Peters' fault, of course. Absent the photo, his report is OK. Who put the photograph in?

No, that photo won’t swing the election. But trust us: Somewhere, readers of the Times will be misled by that large color photo. They'll see that photo of the billboard—and they won’t understand why the price of gas rose.

They won’t remember that gas was expensive under Bush. Almost surely, that photo will lead some readers to think that Obama somehow managed to mangle the price of gas.

In a slightly more rational world, journalists would look for ways to debunk such misleading claims. But you don’t live in that world.

You live in a world where the New York Times strives to bring the world’s dumbest claims to a wider audience. To view that color photo, click here.

From the biggest con men on the planet, that billboard's claim goes to Times readers' ears! The cheering and chuckling you may think you hear is coming from RNC headquarters.

24 comments:

  1. I filled up my tank this morning. Paid $3.54/gal. I then went inside and bought a 20 oz bottle of water. It was $1.29. What is a fair price for oil? Not the artificially low $1.84/gal after the Bush depression. Who's the largest supplier of oil to the USA. We are. Over 50% comes from domestic production. We need conservation and fuel efficient innovations. Low prices will never promote that, but only a perpetual cycle to the inevitable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, bravo, and excellent Paul!

      And instead of keeping focus on and discussing the REAL issues, here we are worrying about what a reporter wrote in the NYT about billboards in Florida.

      Delete
    2. I think it's what a reporter didn't write about what's on billboards in Florida. A picture being worth a thousand words and all.

      Delete
  2. I think it's pretty well known that Presidents get credit or blame for what happens to the economy during their Presidency, whether or not they deserve it. So, Hoover got blamed for the Depression, GHW Bush got blamed for a recession, Bill Clinton got credit for a great economy and Obama gets blamed for high gas prices.

    Furthermore, Obama has taken steps that may have contributed somewhat to higher prices, such as slowing down offshore oil drilling, slowing down new approaches to oil, not allowing the pipeline from Canada to be built, and printing money to cover some US debts (which could lead to a weaker dollar).

    As Bob points out, the undoctored photo shows that Obama did indeed bow to the Saudi ruler. I don't consider the bow important, but the Times doesn't help their credibility when they run a picture of the bow alongside an article denying that there was a bow. They're virtually asking their readers, "Who are you going to believe, the New York Times or your lying eyes?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David -- Where does the article "deny[] that there was a bow"?

      Delete
    2. On review, I see I was mistaken. I misread the Times article. It says, "...giant billboards show the president, whom some on the far right have falsely accused of being Muslim, bowing to a Saudi king." On first reading, I thought the adverb "falsely" applied to "bowing". On re-reading it, I see that "falsely" applies only to the accusation of being a Muslim.

      Delete
    3. Slower drilling was a result of the Gulf Coast disaster. Obama has already OKed more off-shore drilling in the Gulf and the Arctic, allowed fracking and fast-tracked the southern leg of the XL pipeline.

      Also, your understanding of "printing money" is inadequate.

      Delete
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