News Flash: Gas Prices Up with Thanksgiving Driving
â€śJust in time for Thanksgiving, turkey prices are up five cents on the pound.â€ť
Substitute the words â€śgasolineâ€ť for â€śturkeyâ€ť and â€śgallonâ€ť for â€śpound,â€ť and you get NBC and CNNâ€™s morning show reports November 20. Neither network mentioned that gas prices were down almost 10 cents from last yearâ€™s Thanksgiving or looked at how supply and demand factors were driving prices.
â€śGobble, gobble. Gas prices set to take a bigger bite out of your wallet just in time for that drive to Thanksgiving dinner,â€ť teased anchor Matt Lauer in the opening credits to the â€śTodayâ€ť show the Monday before Thanksgiving.
News desk anchor Ann Curry echoed Lauerâ€™s line in her 7 a.m. news brief as she noted gasoline prices stood at $2.23, up â€śabout a nickel a gallonâ€ť in the latest Lundberg survey, â€śjust in time for Thanksgiving.â€ť Meanwhile, CNNâ€™s Miles Oâ€™Brien presented gas prices as â€śbouncing back just in time for the drive to Thanksgiving dinnerâ€ť on â€śAmerican Morning.â€ť
At no point was the small jump in prices connected to rising demand for the holiday â€“ what the American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates will be a â€śrobustâ€ť travel period this Thanksgiving.
In a November 15 news release, the AAA â€śestimates that 38.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a 2.7 percent increase from last yearâ€™s 37.3 million travelers.â€ť Of that number, the vast majority, 31.7 million travelers, will go by car, â€śa 2.6 percent increaseâ€ť over last yearâ€™s number.
Whatâ€™s more, the AAA noted, the $2.23-a-gallon gas average is â€śabout nine cents lower than this time last year.â€ť
Journalists often omit supply and demand in gas price reporting, whether the price is going up or down. As the Business & Media Institute documented, Oâ€™Brienâ€™s CNN colleague Jack Cafferty pushed conspiratorial views on the downward direction of gas prices before the November elections.
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 in the August 30 â€śSituation Room.â€ť Days later on the September 2 â€śIn the Money,â€ť host Cafferty rehashed the theory to the bemusement of the programâ€™s panelists.
â€śCertainly the thought had crossed my mind. I mean, the oil companies have a vested interest in seeing that the Republicans remain in controlâ€ť of Congress, the veteran business reporter insisted.