One year ago, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in America was $2. As we approach the Memorial Day weekend – the unofficial start of the summer travel season – prices have risen to a nationwide average of $3 a gallon.
Who’s to blame for this?
According to Fox News, it’s all Joe Biden’s fault. Let me be clear. I’m not picking on Fox News. They do a lot of good and important work. But yesterday, I felt their tank was empty. I was watching a segment where host Steve Doocy was chatting with business reporter Stuart Varney about the price of gas. These are seasoned reporters who should know better. For five minutes, they rambled on that when Donald Trump was president, gas was cheap and plentiful and that somehow, Biden is to blame for the big jump in price.
When Harry Truman was president, he had a sign on his desk “the buck stops here.” So if the buck always stops at the president’s desk, Biden must be the guilty party, right?
I did some research. I scrolled through a list of President Biden’s executive orders. I didn’t find one with his signature ordering a dollar-a-gallon increase in gas. So I did some more homework and found a few reasons why gas has gone up.
Gasoline is made from oil. Oil is a commodity that trades on world markets 24 hours a day. Prices go up and down. Crude oil prices have doubled in the last 52-weeks. A year ago, most nation’s economies were shut down due to the coronavirus. Oil demand was slack. Now, the economies are opening up again, demand has risen, and so have prices. I don’t see a link to Biden here.
Another reason gas went up is that, in February, an artic freeze spread to Texas, knocking out the capacity of some 20% of America’s oil refineries. It took Texas almost a month to restore full service. That created shortages that pushed up prices. Now if the shutdowns occurred during a major heatwave, I would be the first to blame Biden for failing to deliver on his promise to curtail global warming. I can’t see blaming him for an arctic freeze.
By the way, the rise in commodity prices has been a major financial market story in the past year. Wheat is up 50%. Cotton and coffee are way up. I won’t even mention Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s crashed in the last couple of weeks, but it’s still tripled in the last 52 weeks. You don’t see anyone giving Biden credit for that, do you?
So here’s my point. Journalists do a major disservice by offering simplistic answers to complex questions to sell a certain political agenda. There are many more reasons than the ones I mentioned to explain higher gas prices. Joe Biden isn’t one of them. By the way, gas rose about 50 cents a gallon during Donald Trump’s first two years in office. No one blamed him for that.
The Israeli media also excels at the blame game. In another week, we will know whether the anti-Bibi forces were successful at forming a coalition to oust Netanyahu from office.
Until then, the media’s mantra is everything Bibi does is to save his skin. He can do no right. Nothing he does is ever for the benefit of the people.
So according to this logic, when Netanyahu made a deal with Pfizer to provide millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines, he did it only for himself, so he could win re-election – or maybe because he knew as prime minister, he would be entitled to the first vaccine. Don’t let the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is over in Israel, and the country is lifting all restrictions next week convince you otherwise. Bibi did it all for himself.
Earlier this month, when Bibi ordered the IDF into battle against Hamas, he didn’t do it to protect the Jews of Israel from rocket attacks. If you believe the media, Bibi launched the war a few days after he lost his mandate to form a coalition to distract everyone from his political problems and his trial on fraud and bribery charges.
If you ask me, Bibi has the toughest job in the world. He deserves to enjoy some free champagne, a good smoke and a positive article, at least once in a while.
I’m afraid we’re seeing a lot of the same agenda-driven reporting surrounding Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s two-day visit to the Middle East to take the temperature of all the parties involved in the latest Gaza war.
I keep reading how the Biden administration is anti-Israel. As proof, I keep reading this same 40-year old quote when Biden argued with Menachem Begin over settlements. If you can’t come up with something better than a 40-year old quote to support your argument, I would call that old news. No US president has supported settlements in Judea and Samaria. Even President Trump told Bibi to “go slow on settlements.” In his deal of the century, Trump only envisioned giving Israel 30% of that land.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN and the US told the Hebrew-language press today to chill. Erdan is worth listening to as he hopes to compete for the leadership of the Likud in the post-Netanyahu era, whenever that happens. Erdan admitted that the US and Israel disagree on the Palestinian issue, and certainly on Iran. Erdan’s main point was not to turn every policy disagreement into an artificial diplomatic crisis. The media loves doing this, especially if they can blame Bibi for ruining Israel’s relations with the US.
Israel has dealt with 14 different US presidents in 73 years of statehood. We’ve had ups and downs with all of them, including with Trump. For now, Biden has kept one promise to Israel – that he would keep any disagreements between him and Israel private. As long as he keeps his word, we should reciprocate.
That doesn’t mean we can’t critique the president, his administration, or the prime minister. We must. That’s our role as journalists. But we have to stick to the issues, come up with well-reasoned arguments, and present facts to support our case. Playing superficial blame games, with agenda-driven considerations to connect the dots of every event to the White House, or Balfour Street in Jerusalem is both petty, unprofessional and counterproductive.
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