What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 11, 2012

Jack Kelly Sunday

It's Sunday and thus Jack Kelly's got another column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

This week, he's distorting the Administration's energy policy.  Of course, he's not even that original when he does it.  Take a look at his P-K4:
Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," Steven Chu, now the energy secretary, said in a 2008 interview with the Wall Street Journal.

A gallon of regular costs more than $8 there. The Oil Price Information Service thinks the average price here will rise to $4.25 a gallon by the end of April. That would exceed the record of $4.11, set in July 2008.

A gallon of regular cost just $1.85 the day before President Barack Obama was inaugurated. If the price were to double again during a second Obama term, Mr. Chu's goal could be achieved.
Politico has already dealt with Chu's 2008 remark and it's political use by republicans:
President Barack Obama’s Energy secretary unwittingly created a durable GOP talking point in September 2008 when he talked to The Wall Street Journal about the benefits of having gasoline prices rise over 15 years to encourage energy efficiency.

“Somehow,” Chu said, “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

Chu, a Nobel-winning physicist and director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was not yet a member of the not-yet-in-existence Obama administration. But Republican politicians and conservative pundits have seized on his words as evidence that the White House is deliberately driving gasoline prices higher — ensuring that Chu’s remarks are the energy policy sound bite that will not die. [emphasis added.]
Then there's this from the same Politico piece:
The popularity of Chu’s now-infamous quotation tends to track the rise and fall of gas prices: It enjoyed a huge surge of attention last spring and summer before largely vanishing from view in the fall, leading up to this month’s renaissance, according to the LexisNexis database.

Never mind that some energy experts say Chu had it exactly right, and that higher fuel prices would encourage consumers to buy more efficient vehicles, discourage suburban sprawl, make renewables more competitive and reduce U.S. reliance on imported oil. Not even Chu’s department is making that argument these days.

"As he has consistently said, Secretary Chu understands how much high global oil prices can affect families at the gas pump,” DOE spokeswoman Jen Stutsman said Tuesday. She said long-term relief will come from strategies like the administration’s drive for higher fuel-efficiency standards in vehicles, which will slash oil consumption and “save families $1.7 trillion at the pump.”
As with most anything Jack writes, once you discover the context of the facts/quotations he's using in whatever assertion he's trying to make, the argument he's constructed out of those facts becomes less and less valid.  For example, the "doubling of gas prices" argument.

What Jack (and a host of other conservatives) leave out is why the price of gas was $1.83 at the time of the Obama Inauguration.

Anyone remember the Bush recession?  The economy that Obama inherited was trashed and oil and gas prices took a tumble.  How much of a tumble?  Take a look at this chart from the Federal Reserve in St Louis (h/t to Mediamatters):

Oh, the stuff Jack leaves out!  Which brings us to Jack's next omission:
Sen. Obama expressed little concern when the price of gas was approaching the current record high.

"I would have preferred a more gradual adjustment," he told CNBC in a June 2008 interview. "But if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment ... then I think we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy."
I want you to reread those last two paragraphs.  Obama expressed little concern, Jack writes and adds one ellipsis to mark the one place he omitted text.

Now let's take a look at that interview.  The transcript is from CNBC:
[JOHN] HARWOOD: So could these high prices help us?

Sen. OBAMA: I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing. But if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment, first of all by putting more money into their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more quickly, particularly US automakers, then I think ultimately, we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy than we do right now.[emphasis added]
I bolded and italicized the text Jack didn't feel you needed to see.  I'd think that omitting the part where Obama says the high prices are a "shock" and "not a good thing" in order to assert that he "expressed little concern" is enough to hoist Jack Kelly to the Breitbart levels of quotational dishonesty.

I'll ask it yet again, isn't anyone at the P-G peeking over Jack's shoulder when he does things like this?  Such a manipulation kinda, y'know, completely discredits whatever follows.

I've emailed David Schribman Shribman about Jack's dishonesty but so far have yet to receive any sort of response.

UPDATE: Apologies for misspelling David Shribman's name (see DRoddy's comment below). I should have been more careful - especially in a Jack Kelly blog post


Dennis Roddy said...

If you write to the editor aboutthis again, spell his name correctly. It's Shribman - no "c" in there. Dshribman@post-gazette.com

EdHeath said...

Maybe Dennis Roddy has discovered why David Shribman won't return your emails, although I would give equal weight to the possiblility that Shribman doesn't want to connect the PG with a blog (except for Chad Hermann and Frances Monahagn (I hope I spelled those right). Or maybe more realistically Shribman does not want to answer why Kelly is still at the PG.

Good job as always with your research, And damnit, you beat me by thirty minutes.