NBC's 'Today' Raises 'Vast Right Wing Conspiracy' On Gas Prices
Less than two weeks before the November elections, an NBC â€śTodayâ€ť show co-host asked, â€śare we being manipulatedâ€ť by falling gas prices. Reporter Carl Quintanilla dismissed the idea but still cast â€śBig Oilâ€ť and conservatives as â€śon the defensiveâ€ť over the baseless claims.
â€śThe good news is that gas prices are down. But do the elections have anything to do with it,â€ť anchor Meredith Vieira wondered as she teased a story in the first half hour of the October 25 program.
Later in the same half-hour, co-host Matt Lauer noted that â€śfalling gas pricesâ€ť were â€śfueling conspiracy theories.â€ť â€śThe price of a gallon of gasâ€ť is at $2.21 a gallon, reported Lauer adding, â€śIs it a coincidence? Some people say no.â€ť
From there correspondent Carl Quintanilla picked up the story.
â€śAs conspiracy theories go, this oneâ€™s a doozy,â€ť he said, going on to blame â€śInternet blogsâ€ť and â€śliberal talk radioâ€ť for fanning the flames. Quintanilla chalked up the price drop to a calm hurricane season and supply and demand factors and included a sound bite from independent trader Eric Bolling making a similar point.
Yet even as he debunked the validity of the conspiracy charge, Quintanilla set out to put the oil industry, and conservatives, on the hot seat.
Asserting that â€śBig Oilâ€™s on the defensive,â€ť Quintanilla characterized a recent statement from a Shell Oil executive who denied working with the White House to fix prices as â€śstrong denials even as others see a vast right wing conspiracy that leads right from the pump to the booth.â€ť
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 on the August 30 â€śSituation Room.â€ť
After a few days to rethink his conspiracy theory, Cafferty stood by his claim on the September 2 edition of â€śIn the Money,â€ť a weekend business program.
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 told co-host Jennifer Westhoven, before adding facetiously, â€śThey wouldn't pull prices down before the mid-terms now, would they?â€ť