Tonight on Fox Business' Power And Money, David Asman hosted Joe Petrowski, President and CEO of Gulf Oil LP, to claim that because President Obama has decided not to immediately build the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline and pursue additional domestic oil production, gas prices will increase as early as "the summer." Petrowski specifically asserted that building the pipeline could reduce gas prices in the long term by as much as "20 to 30 cents a gallon."
However, according to researchers at the Cornell University Global Labor Institute, TransCanada, the proposed manufacturers of the pipeline, admitted that "KXL will increase the price of heavy crude oil in the Midwest by almost $2 to $4 billion annually." The Cornell study explains that this will happen as a result of "diverting major volumes of Tar Sands oil now supplying the Midwest refineries, so it can be sold at higher prices to the Gulf Coast and export markets."
Fox expects us to take Petrowski at his word when he claims that building KXL could result in gas prices dropping "20 to 30 cents a gallon"; indeed, Asman responds to his claim by saying that the Gulf executive is "on the retail side of the gas business, so you know" how gas prices come about.
But the Cornell University study estimates nearly the exact opposite of Petrowski's claim, estimating that building the KXL pipeline could increase domestic gas and diesel fuel prices in some states by between "10 to 20 cents more per gallon" and, to rub salt on the wound, possibly "cancel out some or all of the jobs created by KXL" after only one year of increased fuel prices. From the study:
HIGHER FUEL PRICES IN 15 STATES
According to TransCanada, KXL will increase the price of heavy crude oil in the Midwest by almost $2 to $4 billion annually, and escalating for several years. It will do this by diverting major volumes of Tar Sands oil now supplying the Midwest refineries, so it can be sold at higher prices to the Gulf Coast and export markets. As a result, consumers in the Midwest could be paying 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel, adding up to $5 billion to the annual US fuel bill. Further, the KXL pipeline will do nothing to insulate the US from oil price volatility.
Even one year of fuel price increases as a result of KXL could cancel out some or all of the jobs created by KXL, based on the (more accurate) $3 to 4 billion budget for KXL (the remaining cost to build within the Us). Higher fuel prices due to KXL would have broad adverse impacts. Gasoline is a significant cost for most Americans, and especially for those with lower incomes and/or residing in rural areas. Moreover, refined oil products (notably gasoline and diesel) are very widely used throughout the economy (especially in agriculture and commercial transportation). So higher fuel prices due to KXL would ripple through the economy and impact a very broad range of people and businesses.
From the January 17 edition of Fox Business' Power and Money:
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From the January 9 edition of Fox Business' Power and Money:
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Fox News has been attacking Senator Barbara Boxer non-stop for saying that a provision delaying an EPA rule will "kill 8,100 more people than otherwise would have been killed from pollution." On Fox Business, radio host Michael Reagan suggested Boxer's comments were over the top before calling Boxer a "job killer in America" and saying "every time she votes, it kills jobs."
No one on Fox found time to note the basis for Boxer's reference to 8,100 lives. Fox's Steve Doocy said, "I don't know where she comes up with that" number and Sean Hannity incorrectly suggested Boxer was referring to Keystone XL on his radio show. A minimal amount of research would reveal that Boxer was referring to an EPA rule that regulates hazardous air pollution, including known carcinogens, from industrial boilers under the Clean Air Act, which the EPA estimates would prevent as many as 8,100 premature deaths a year, among other health benefits.
Conservative media are once again ignoring these benefits of EPA's pollution regulations, and exaggerating the costs to industry for complying with the rule. Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade said on that the boiler rule would be "another economy killer" and Michael Reagan said that the rule would "kill 230,000 jobs," apparently referencing an industry-funded study. That study, prepared for the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners (CIBO) in 2010, estimated that the Boiler MACT (Maximum Available Control Technology) rule would put anywhere from 152,553 to 798,250 jobs "at risk." However, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service concluded that "little credence can be placed" in the study. One of the several problems with the study is that it failed to estimate jobs that would be created by the regulation -- for instance, the boiler rule benefits companies that build boilers. Fox regularly cites industry-funded estimates of the jobs impact of EPA rules, even though retrospective studies find them to be unreliable.
Fox hosts are rallying to Mitt Romney's side following his $10,000 bet to Gov. Rick Perry during a recent GOP primary debate. This is the latest example of Fox hosts defending the wealthy; they previously derided efforts to increase taxes on the rich, while supporting proposals that would increase taxes on the poor.
From the December 12 edition of Fox Business' Power and Money:
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From the December 2 edition of Fox Business' Power and Money:
From the December 1 edition of Fox Business' Power and Money:
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From the November 28 edition of Fox Business' Power and Money:
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From the November 19 edition of Fox News' Forbes on Fox:
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Reporting on emails selectively released by House Republicans, numerous media outlets falsely claimed the documents show Obama donor George Kaiser -- whose family foundation invested in Solyndra -- discussing Solyndra's federal loan with the White House, with Fox going even further to claim "quid pro quo." In fact, the emails occurred after Solyndra had already received the loan guarantee and do not indicate that Kaiser discussed the loan with the White House.
On at least three separate occasions, Fox Business ran a quote purportedly made by an Occupy Toronto protester who wondered why anyone would want to work long hours. In reality, the quote is fake, as it came from a "satire" piece published by The Globe and Mail.
Humor columnist Mark Schatzker published an October 21 piece in the Canadian newspaper -- headlined, "Occupy Toronto: The one-week anniversary party" -- which contained the following quote from "Jeremy, 38":
"It's weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their worldview have been at work for two hours already. And then when it's time to go, they're still there. I guess that's why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That's the power of greed." - Jeremy, 38
The column itself is tagged as "satire" on the Globe and Mail's site. Still, as Mediaite's Nando Di Fino and TPM's Jillian Rayfield noted, conservatives bloggers passed the quote off as real. The Power Line's John Hinderaker ran the quote and later posted an update claiming, "Upon further review, prompted by my wife, I think the quotes attributed to occupiers at the linked site are jokes. Pretty funny ones, too. The point, I think, remains valid."
The fake quote didn't just fool conservative bloggers, as Fox Business repeatedly quoted "Jeremy" on-air. During the October 26 broadcast of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman read the quote -- which was attributed to an Jeremy, an "Occupy Wall Street Protester" -- to criticize the protests.
In June last year, Fox News' Sean Hannity was claiming that BP's voluntary agreement to set aside $20 billion to compensate people and businesses affected by the oil spill might cause them to go "bankrupt." Several Fox News figures complained about this "shakedown," and claimed BP was being "looted" and "persecuted."
BP announced its third quarter earnings yesterday -- more than double its profits at the same time last year. With this week's earnings reports we are learning, once again, that the major oil companies continue raking in tens of billions of dollars in what the Wall Street Journal called "soaring profits," while receiving billions more in tax subsidies. Meanwhile, Fox is downplaying oil profits.
Last week, Fox Business' David Asman hosted actress and environmental activist Daryl Hannah to discuss energy policy. When Asman criticized clean energy investments, Hannah pointed to worldwide fossil fuel subsidies, which are far greater than worldwide subsidies to renewable energy. Asman responded by claiming the oil industry "doesn't take a big profit margin. It ranks - I think it ranks about 114th in terms of the amount of profit that it takes for every dollar that it earns."
However, U.S. News reported in 2008 that while "the oil industry urges people to look beyond its profits to its profit margin," "profit margins across industries vary greatly based not on how well each business is doing but how capital- or labor-intensive it is. Oil is among the most capital-intensive." Another measure, U.S. News said, is the oil industry's return on equity, which is "unrivaled."
Yesterday David Asman kicked off his Fox Business show, America's Nightly Scoreboard, by claiming that Solyndra "received a very generous set of tax breaks" from the Internal Revenue Service. Asman emphasized that this was "a tax break applied for Solyndra and only for Solyndra" and suggested that "political influence" may have played a role in the IRS decision.
But the tax credit didn't apply to Solyndra at all -- it applied to a manufacturing facility that was considering installing a Solyndra solar panel system. And this ruling is hardly unprecedented: it is one of many private letter rulings issued by the IRS to clarify which technologies qualify for energy tax credits.
Unfortunately for Fox Business Network, people can't watch two Fox News Channels at the same time.
On Monday, Reuters reported on a memo with the subject line "Fox News and Fox Business" sent to Fox Business staff by the network's executive vice president, Kevin Magee. Following a meeting with Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, Magee told his staff that he had "been asked to remind you all again that they are separate channels and the more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves."
According to Reuters -- which noted that despite a large initial investment and high hopes of eventually overtaking CNBC, FBN's ratings are still lagging -- Magee also told staff, "if we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time. Earnings, taxes, jobs etc give us PLENTY to chew on."
This is a particularly important time for Fox Business to appear at least vaguely credible as a business news venture. As Media Matters documented earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal's current arrangement with CNBC -- wherein CNBC reportedly receives advanced access to certain original financial reporting from WSJ and all Dow Jones business outlets as well as other perks -- expires in 2012.
While many observers assumed that Fox Business would inevitably form a partnership with WSJ once the CNBC deal expired -- News Corp. owns both Fox and the WSJ -- Journal managing editor Robert Thomson told Media Matters that partnering with FBN would "not necessarily" happen.
The president of the Independent Association of Publishers' Employees, which represents 1,500 Dow Jones employees, including many at the Journal, expressed to Media Matters that, "by and large, reporters at the Journal do not like being associated in the minds of news sources or news subjects with Fox News."
The concerns of Journal reporters and FBN's VP are well-founded. Aside from just sharing the Fox name, FBN and FNC often mirror each other, covering the same stories in the same ways, with a lot the same on-air talent.
Three FBN hosts (Eric Bolling, David Asman and Neil Cavuto) also host shows on Fox News, and a fourth (Andrew Napolitano) regularly guests on Fox News and fills in there as a host. Various other FBN personalities, including the "very clearly partisan" host Stuart Varney -- who spent much of 2010 openly rooting for Republican electoral victories on Fox's airwaves -- are fixtures on Fox News as well.
Discussing FBN, a source told Reuters that "it's obvious they don't cover enough financial news." While FBN does devote a lot of their airtime to covering economic stories and issues, their programming, specifically during primetime, frequently veers into subject matter that is hardly related to business or the economy. (For example, it's hard to connect the dots as to how Obama's birth certificate or the "Ground Zero Mosque" have an influence on "earnings, taxes, jobs," but the network has devoted time to both.)
Often, Fox Business Network seems like their top concern is promoting conservative politics, rather than covering the economy.