media misleads on drilling

We are bastards.

By “we,” of course, I’m talking we in “the media.” It’s not you. It’s me. Rather, it’s not me (I’m not Good Morning America now, am I?) — it’s my lazy-ass industry.

Drill Here, Drill Now? You’ve likely heard. What of it? Try: It means absolutely nothing when it comes to pump prices — at least not until 2030 or later. You’ve not heard?

Both the data and the failure to inform you about it have been certified and quantified.

It appears that in all the hundreds of times mainstream news showmasters blathering inside the Golden Box known as TV mentioned expanded drilling proposals (coming at us from all directions these days), they virtually never cite data from the U.S. Department of Energy clarifying WHAT THAT DRILLING WOULD ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISH.

Happened once. On CNN.

That’s what a report by Mark Weisbrot and Nichole Szembrot just published by the Center for Economic Policy and Research found out. Feel informed yet?

So, there’s some numbers for you. You can enlarge the chart above by clicking on the image, or read the whole report (PDF).

I’m one of these here no-goods, so you know what I did: I skipped straight to the conclusion.

It reads:

Major media outlets provided daily repetition of the false claim that expanded drilling in environmentally sensitive zones would significantly lower gasoline prices. At the same time, these outlets failed to report the official data from the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency, which showed that these claims were false. There can be little doubt that this reporting had a significant impact on public opinion, and contributed to the widespread misunderstanding reflected in polling data. In so doing, the major media exerted a very significant influence on an important matter of national policy. The media have most likely changed the debate and political climate in a way that would not have been possible if they had simply reported the most important official data, thereby showing that the central claim in this debate was false.

Maybe if you follow me on Twitter, you caught my anemic tweet yesterday. Then again, if you are reading me, you aren’t likely to be following the Today Show religiously either.

Here’s the DOE report on drilling and gas prices.

In short:

The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017. Total domestic production of crude oil from 2012 through 2030 in the OCS access case is projected to be 1.6 percent higher than in the reference case, and 3 percent higher in 2030 alone, at 5.6 million barrels per day. For the lower 48 OCS, annual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher—2.4 million barrels per day in the OCS access case compared with 2.2 million barrels per day in the reference case (Figure 20). Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.

Uh, Drill Why?

Maybe someone dear to you needs good information beyond the “Drill Here” mantra. You may want to forward this since, like, CNN obviously isn’t up to the job.

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4 responses to “media misleads on drilling

  1. Where is Erin Brockovich when you need her, y’all? A small Tennessee town and the Harpeth River have the potential of becoming one of America’s next SUPERFUND sites. Please check out the article link below, regarding the ongoing poisoning of residents in Franklin, Tennessee. The problem has been ignored by local officials for decades, and now residents are hoping for national publicity to shed some light on this tragic situation. Please spread the word!

    Front page story from The Tennessean 09/09/08:
    “After 2 years, pollution cleanup hasn’t worked”


  2. I just did the math: the EIA says we could produce a max of 220,000 barrells of oil a day by drilling on the outer cont’l shelf.That’s just over a 4% increase above our production last year (and would take 25 yrs to start spewing). Reducing our gas consumption by less than 2% would have the same inpact on our national oil supply.

    but then again if we invested in public transit, we’d be missing out on trahsing the oceans and winning political points….


  3. They might as well be yelling “kill, kill, kill!” because that’s what will happen to future generations once domestic oil runs out. We will be overrun by military machines from countries that have oil. B-1 bombers don’t run on plug power, natural gas, or coal and never will.

    The argument that it will take 20 years to see lower pump prices isn’t going to persuade a lot of people. They can live with delayed gratification as long as they know they’ll get it.

    I don’t hear Democrats articulating the environmental reasons for opposing offshore drilling. Is it because they think people won’t care?


  4. We, voters, are manipulated by the worst and most obvious untruths. Our five-second attention spans spin out of five-minutes of foresight: that is, if it doesn’t affect me now it doesn’t exist.

    Chanting feels a lot better than seemingly doing nothing. In this case, however, drilling IS doing nothing.

    It distracts us from the task at hand, that not only environmental but economic challenges demand of us. (It is, after all, global warming or now, a depleting resource with the resulting price issues incumbant.)

    Weaning ourselves off fossil fuels will be extraordinarily difficult with the array of obstacles before us – not the least of which is the manipulation of truth for political positioning. There’s only a flash of understanding that separates ignorance from treachery on this topic.

    McCain’s final surrender to the party bosses is all over this vacuous rhetoric. On this topic, I also can’t consider the co-author of past climate change legislation ignorant.


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