May
03
2011

NBC's Curious Gas Guest

NBC Nightly News on Saturday (4/29/11) had a pretty standard report on the politics of gas prices: Republicans blame Obama, and some Democrats are talking up the idea of raising taxes on oil companies. "Democrats call the profits excessive, and portray Republicans as wedded to oil interests," correspondent Mike Viqueira explained.

Then NBC introduced an expert, who had this somewhat curious take:

VIQUEIRA: With Congress returning Monday from a two-week break, experts say there is little that Washington can do to lower the short-term price per gallon. In the end, what may bring down the high prices of gas is the high price of gas itself.

AMY JAFFE (Baker Institute Energy Forum Director): Consumers don't realize it, but we have a lot of power. When–last time when Americans stopped driving because they didn't like the high price, that actually did bring down the price of oil over time. And we probably will see that again.

Oil companies? Come on, the people have the real power!

So what's the Baker Energy Forum? That would James Baker's institute at Rice University. And on the group's advisory board:

Shell
Chevron
ConocoPhilips
ExxonMobil
EnergyFutures Holding Corporation
Marathon Oil Corporation

The "Patrons" list includes Hess and GenOn Energy. The "Members" list includes the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

Next time NBC might want to mention who they're using for expert analysis–or better yet, find someone else to talk to about gas prices.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.