CNN's Cafferty Rehashes Conspiracy Theory on Gas Prices, Elections
Maybe it could be called â€śThe Conspiracy Hour with Jack Cafferty.â€ť On the September 2 â€śIn the Money,â€ť the programâ€™s host recycled his theory that gas prices are dropping because of scheming oil companies.
â€śYou 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€ť Cafferty suggested just a few days earlier on the August 30 â€śSituation Room.â€ť
â€śIn the Moneyâ€ť contributor Jennifer Westhoven reminded Cafferty of his August 30 comments and suggested he rehash his â€ścynicism about the electionâ€ť for the â€śIn the Moneyâ€ť audience.
â€śCertainly 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€ť Cafferty answered Westhoven, before adding facetiously, â€śThey wouldn't pull prices down before the mid-terms now, would they?â€ť 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 â€śblip,â€ť Serwer warned that political crises stemming from Iran, Venezuela, or Nigeria â€ścould erupt or turn bad or anything at any pointâ€ť or that the hurricane season might take a turn for the worse.
At no point in their look at gas prices did the â€śIn the Moneyâ€ť crew seek the opinion of oil analysts, although Serwer confidently pointed to â€śthe folks at the Chrysler Corporationâ€ť who â€śseem to be suggestingâ€ť gas prices will â€śstay up for a while.â€ť Serwer also scoffed at others who â€śthink theyâ€™re going back to $2,â€ť adding, â€śIâ€™m not one of them.â€ť
While the â€śAmerican Morningâ€ť business contributor didnâ€™t name names on the $2 prediction, he appears to be misquoting oil experts.
â€śWe'll be closer to $2 than $3 come Thanksgiving,â€ť reporter James Healey quoted the Oil Price Information Serviceâ€™s (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 â€śmost analystsâ€ť believe achieving $2-a-gallon prices â€śis unlikely and would entail a major slowdown in the economy, if not a downright recessionâ€ť but that itâ€™s more likely â€śthat retail gasoline prices will slide to about $2.50 a gallon by winter â€“ and then head higher again early next year.â€ť 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 â€śEarly Show,â€ť CBSâ€™s Harry Smith remarked that the media months ago were â€śscreaming with our hair on fireâ€ť about then-rising gas prices while a day earlier, NBCâ€™s Kevin Tibbles shrugged off the downward trend, focusing his August 30 report on Chryslerâ€™s â€śwake-upâ€ť call from CEO Tom LaSorda who is planning for gas prices in the â€ś$3-to$4-a-gallonâ€ť range.