NBC Briefly Covers Oil Price Plummet
Oil closed at a six-month low and gasoline dropped to the lowest price since mid-March on September 19. Yet of the three broadcast news programs that evening, only NBCâs Brian Williams paid attention to dropping oil and gas prices â without mentioning the 6-month benchmarks.
âBack in this country, the price of oil has been plummeting,â Williams read nearly 23 minutes into the half-hour âNightly News.â âOil was down another $2.14 today, to close at $61.66 a barrel. Economists say $2-a-gallon gas may be back nationwide in the coming weeks,â he added.
âWeâll see,â the anchor dismissively remarked before teasing a story on the way out to a commercial break.
Whatâs more, Williams left out just how significant the price drop was.
As the Chicago Tribune noted on September 20, the $61.66 closing mark was âthe lowest close for a front-month contract since March 21â and âthe biggest one-day drop since May 15.â In addition, the Tribune added, wholesale gasoline delivery contracts stood at âthe lowest closing price for a front-month contractâ since February 22.
According to the AAAâs FuelGaugeReport.com, the price at the pump dropped 44 cents from $2.929 a gallon in mid-August for regular unleaded to $2.487 a gallon the evening of Williamsâ September 19 broadcast.
Just a little over a month earlier, Williamsâ colleague Jim Goldman forecasted significantly higher gas prices around Labor Day.
âWith gasoline prices expected to soar past $3.50-a-gallon as the summer driving season peaks,â Goldman lamented on the August 12 âNightly News.â At the time BMI noted that oil analyst Tom Kloza predicted a more modest price hike of â5 cents or more.â
According to the Chicago Tribune, Kloza now predicts âsub-$2.25 a gallonâ gas prices âby October.â
âYouâve had a nothing hurricane season,â Tribune news services quoted broker Tony Lerner on September 20. âGasoline is in free fall here,â he added, saying he âcouldnât even begin to pickâ a floor for futures prices.
Williamâs lukewarm reception of lower gas prices contrasts with the mediaâs fever pitch when gas prices were on the rise.
âIt seems like a month ago we were all screaming with our hair on fire about the price of gas going over $3, no end in sight. And now it looks like it's dropping like a stone,â CBSâs Harry Smith confessed in an interview with Kloza on the August 31 âEarly Showâ when gas prices averaged around $2.85 a gallon.