Nightline Uses Math Mistake in Gas Price Attack on Bush

     President George W. Bush’s days in the White House may be numbered, but that isn’t stopping the media from taking a few pot shots on the way out.

     ABC’s April 21 “Nightline” reported on the increased cost of gasoline, but did so in terms of the Bush presidency.

     “Tonight, $3.51 – that’s the average price nationwide of a single gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. That means a 15-gallon tank now costs more than $50 to fill. As a little reference point, the week George W. Bush was sworn in as president, the price of a gallon of gas was $1.47.” But she didn’t stop there.

     “Even accounting for inflation, that’s a 200-percent increase,” McFadden said. “We’re guessing your paycheck hasn't grown 200 percent in the past eight years.”


     McFadden demonstrated she doesn’t exactly have a propensity for mathematics. While attempting to pin gas price increased on the Bush presidency, she got the math wrong.

     Two hundred percent of $1.47 is $2.94. A 200-percent increase would add $2.94 to $1.47, making the current price of gasoline $4.41. The actual increase has been $2.04 per gallon, or a little over 138 percent.

     Another “reference point” McFadden could have included: when the Democratic-controlled Congress was sworn in on Jan. 7, 2007, the average price of a gallon of gas was $2.32 cents a gallon, according to AAA.

     Over the six years (2191 days) Bush was president with a Republican-controlled Congress, the price of gas increased 85 cents per gallon. The price has gone up $1.19 in the 472 days Democrats have controlled Congress.

     A 2007 report by the Business & Media Institute showed how the three major networks regularly hype the rising cost of gasoline.