Liasson, Wallace failed to note Bush flip-flop on CAFE standards

››› ››› JOE BROWN

Fox News analyst Mara Liasson touted President Bush's endorsement of a proposal by Senate Republicans to grant the executive branch authority to set fuel-efficiency standards for cars. But despite noting the opposition of some Democratic and Republican lawmakers to raising fuel-efficiency standards for cars, Liasson did not inform viewers that Bush had also opposed raising those standards -- as recently as February. Fox News host Chris Wallace also noted Bush's endorsement of the proposal but left out the fact that this represents a shift in policy for the Bush administration.

On the April 30 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, National Public Radio national political correspondent and Fox News analyst Mara Liasson touted President Bush's endorsement of a proposal by Senate Republicans to grant the executive branch authority to set fuel-efficiency standards for cars. But despite noting the opposition of some Democratic and Republican lawmakers to raising fuel-efficiency standards for cars, Liasson did not inform viewers that Bush had also opposed raising those standards -- as recently as February. Host Chris Wallace also noted Bush's endorsement of the proposal granting the executive branch authority to set fuel-efficiency standards for cars but left out the fact that this represents a shift in policy for the Bush administration.

After characterizing two proposals to combat high fuel prices -- one by Senate Republicans to give taxpayers a $100 rebate, and one by members of both parties to investigate possible price-gouging by oil companies -- as "pandering," Liasson touted Bush's desire to "take a look at CAFE [corporate average fuel economy] standards" as one of "a few glimmers of long-term solutions." She was apparently referring to Bush's April 27 endorsement of a provision in the Republican-proposed "Gas Price Relief and Rebate Act of 2006," which would give "the Secretary of Transportation the authority to issue a rule governing fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles." Under current law, the executive branch can set fuel-efficiency standards for light trucks, but only Congress can set fuel-efficiency standards for cars.

As Media Matters for America previously noted, Bush opposed raising fuel-efficiency standards for cars as recently as February, a fact Liasson ignored, despite her statement that "mostly Republicans, but some Democrats from the Midwest, from auto states" had "blocked" changes to CAFE standards "regularly." During an interview with new White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten, Wallace stated that Bush "asked this week for authority to be able to raise the fuel-economy standards for all cars" but did not note that Bush had previously opposed increasing fuel-efficiency standards for cars.

As the Washington Post reported on April 28, while Bush "renewed his call for Congress to give him the authority to 'raise' mileage standards for all passenger cars," White House officials acknowledged that they "didn't know when or how the president would use that authority."

From the April 30 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, which also featured Fox News host and Washington managing editor Brit Hume:

WALLACE: Let me ask you about one other specific point. The president asked this week for authority to be able to raise the fuel-economy standards for all cars, not just light trucks and SUVs.

Do you have a plan in place, if you were given that authority, as to how much you would like to raise the gas -- fuel efficiency of cars?

BOLTEN: The process itself would take some time for the secretary of transportation to work out. But we have a plan to proceed to arrive at the right kind of number.

Remember, it's not just raising the corporate average fuel economy. The system needs a reform so that it's based more on the size and weight of vehicles so that we get the efficiencies without sacrificing safety in our cars.

[...]

WALLACE: Is this just pandering, pure and simple, Mara?

LIASSON: The vast majority of it is pandering, pure and simple, although my best part of those press conferences is when they got in their big SUVs to drive the one block back to the Capitol.

Look, most of it is pandering, and Brit was quoting someone this week who says there's nothing -- the only thing worse than partisan demagoguery is bipartisan demagoguery. But --

HUME: Thomas Sowell.

LIASSON: Thomas Sowell.

But look, there were amidst all this -- and by the way, we should point out the president joined right in. I mean, he had a bunch of ideas just like that. And he wanted also to get tough on the oil companies and to find out if there was price gouging, even though they've been investigated numerous times.

But in the midst of all of this, there were a few glimmers of long-term solutions, like the president wants to take a look at CAFE standards, something that has been blocked regularly in Congress by mostly Republicans, but some Democrats from the Midwest, from auto states. That would do something in the long term. In the short term, there really are no solutions.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Energy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, FOX Broadcasting Company
Person
Chris Wallace, Mara Liasson
Show/Publication
FOX News Sunday
Stories/Interests
Gas Prices
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