NBC's 'Today' Raises 'Vast Right Wing Conspiracy' On Gas Prices
Less than two weeks before the November elections, an NBC ‚ÄúToday‚ÄĚ show co-host asked, ‚Äúare we being manipulated‚ÄĚ by falling gas prices. Reporter Carl Quintanilla dismissed the idea but still cast ‚ÄúBig Oil‚ÄĚ and conservatives as ‚Äúon the defensive‚ÄĚ over the baseless claims.
‚ÄúThe good news is that gas prices are down. But do the elections have anything to do with it,‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúfalling gas prices‚ÄĚ were ‚Äúfueling conspiracy theories.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúThe price of a gallon of gas‚ÄĚ is at $2.21 a gallon, reported Lauer adding, ‚ÄúIs it a coincidence? Some people say no.‚ÄĚ
From there correspondent Carl Quintanilla picked up the story.
‚ÄúAs conspiracy theories go, this one‚Äôs a doozy,‚ÄĚ he said, going on to blame ‚ÄúInternet blogs‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúliberal talk radio‚ÄĚ 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 ‚ÄúBig Oil‚Äôs on the defensive,‚ÄĚ Quintanilla characterized a recent statement from a Shell Oil executive who denied working with the White House to fix prices as ‚Äústrong denials even as others see a vast right wing conspiracy that leads right from the pump to the booth.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúYou 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,‚ÄĚ Cafferty suggested on the August 30 ‚ÄúSituation Room.‚ÄĚ
After a few days to rethink his conspiracy theory, Cafferty stood by his claim on the September 2 edition of ‚ÄúIn the Money,‚ÄĚ a weekend business program.
‚ÄúCertainly 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,‚ÄĚ Cafferty told co-host Jennifer Westhoven, before adding facetiously, ‚ÄúThey wouldn't pull prices down before the mid-terms now, would they?‚ÄĚ