CNN's Cafferty Rehashes Conspiracy Theory on Gas Prices, Elections
Maybe it could be called âThe Conspiracy Hour with Jack Cafferty.â On the September 2 âIn the Money,â the programâs host recycled his theory that gas prices are dropping because of scheming oil companies.
âYou know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away,â Cafferty suggested just a few days earlier on the August 30 âSituation Room.â
âIn the Moneyâ contributor Jennifer Westhoven reminded Cafferty of his August 30 comments and suggested he rehash his âcynicism about the electionâ for the âIn the Moneyâ audience.
âCertainly the thought had crossed my mind. I mean, the oil companies have a vested interest in seeing that the Republicans remain in control of the federal government,â Cafferty answered Westhoven, before adding facetiously, âThey wouldn't pull prices down before the mid-terms now, would they?â he added over laughter from his fellow panelists.
Later on, Cafferty returned to actual supply and demand considerations driving the price, which prompted contributor and Fortune magazine editor Andy Serwer to offer a gloomy prediction. Suggesting the price drop was only a âblip,â Serwer warned that political crises stemming from Iran, Venezuela, or Nigeria âcould erupt or turn bad or anything at any pointâ or that the hurricane season might take a turn for the worse.
At no point in their look at gas prices did the âIn the Moneyâ crew seek the opinion of oil analysts, although Serwer confidently pointed to âthe folks at the Chrysler Corporationâ who âseem to be suggestingâ gas prices will âstay up for a while.â Serwer also scoffed at others who âthink theyâre going back to $2,â adding, âIâm not one of them.â
While the âAmerican Morningâ business contributor didnât name names on the $2 prediction, he appears to be misquoting oil experts.
âWe'll be closer to $2 than $3 come Thanksgiving,â reporter James Healey quoted the Oil Price Information Serviceâs (OPIS) Fred Rozell in the August 30 paper. That would suggest gas price averaging below $2.50, not necessarily at or near the $2-a-gallon mark.
A September 5 article by Associated Press reporter Brad Foss similarly noted that âmost analystsâ believe achieving $2-a-gallon prices âis unlikely and would entail a major slowdown in the economy, if not a downright recessionâ but that itâs more likely âthat retail gasoline prices will slide to about $2.50 a gallon by winter â and then head higher again early next year.â The average per gallon price for gasoline has dropped 30 cents in the past month, to $2.73.
The Business & Media Institute has varying coverage of price drops by other media outlets. On the August 31 âEarly Show,â CBSâs Harry Smith remarked that the media months ago were âscreaming with our hair on fireâ about then-rising gas prices while a day earlier, NBCâs Kevin Tibbles shrugged off the downward trend, focusing his August 30 report on Chryslerâs âwake-upâ call from CEO Tom LaSorda who is planning for gas prices in the â$3-to$4-a-gallonâ range.