No Other Plausible Explanation

March 29th, 2012 · No Comments · energy policy, Fact Check, Uncategorized

By Arthur Alpert

“Shall I discourse,’ I wrote the other day, “on the AP Fact Check you haven’t published, which definitively rebuts your narrative on drilling and gas prices?”

Yes. Today.

First let’s set the stage. Readers of the Albuquerque Journal know management is a full-throated fan of the New Mexico and national oil industries, so much so that its ardor spills out of the editorials into the Op Ed pages and the so-called news pages.

Doubters need only reread several carefully documented posts here by my colleague, Denise Tessier, beginning perhaps with her March 19 piece (“Widespread Misunderstanding”) and working backwards.

Promoting the oil industry’s agenda these days involves encouraging easy assumptions like:

(1) Soaring gas prices represent declining domestic production and (2) Pumping more oil here will bring those prices down.

Both are false.

In fact, the Associated Press distributed to members March 21 a lengthy, authoritative “Fact Check” by Jack Gillum and Seth Borenstein, refuting both and delving deeply into gas prices.

Here’s the headline:

“FACT CHECK: More US Drilling Didn’t Drop Gas Price”

And here’s the lead:

“It’s the political cure-all for high gas prices: Drill here, drill now. But more U.S. drilling has not changed how deeply the gas pump drills into your wallet, math and history show.”

The authors go on to report they did a ”statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production” which shows “no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.”

They continue:

“More oil production in the United States does not mean consistently lower prices at the pump.”

And, “That’s because oil is a global commodity and U.S. production has only a tiny influence on supply. Factors far beyond the control of a nation or a president dictate the price of gasoline.”

There’s more; here is the entire story.

Now here’s my point.

Well, were the Journal into journalism (a branch of education) it would have published this AP analysis.

After all, the Journal is an AP member/client. And heck, this Fact Check emanates from the AP Washington Bureau, the source of countless suspect “news stories” and “news analyses” Journal editors regularly plop onto Page One.

Why not this one?

My answer – it contravenes the Journal’s editorial agenda.

If you can come up with another (plausible) explanation, I will…er, I have no prize in mind… well, I will pass it along here.

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