Today Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace explained that the GOP attack on President Obama over gas price increases since his inauguration is "misleading." But will the rest of Fox News stop misleading on this issue?
Fox News has repeatedly attacked President Obama for the increase in gas prices between his inauguration and the present. Your World and The Five noted in February that gas prices had risen by more than 90 percent since January 2009, and others cited the dollar figure of around $1.80 at that time. Fox News also repeatedly aired versions of the following graphic:
But when Newt Gingrich brought this talking point to Fox News Sunday, Wallace shot it down:
WALLACE: But Mr. Speaker, gas experts make two points. First of all, you pointed out the fact that gasoline was $1.89 a gallon when President Obama took office. They say that's a bit misleading because it was the depths of the recession, so understandably gas prices had gone down. And fact is, just six months before it was $4.11 under President Bush.
Wallace is correct. As this gas price chart from GasBuddy.com shows, gas prices plummeted in late 2008, just prior to Obama's inauguration:
The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog has also debunked this talking point. After Speaker John Boehner stated that "[g]as prices have more than double since the president took office," Glenn Kessler wrote:
Boehner correctly noted that gas prices have doubled since President Obama took office. But he did not mention that they were unusually low in early 2009 because of the economic crisis, when demand for energy plunged. We're not sure that the economic misery of those days is worth cheap gas.
In a later post, Kessler stated that the price of gasoline at the beginning of Obama's term was "artificially low because of the economic crisis."
At PolitiFact, GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan explained why it's misleading to compare gas prices starting in the middle of a recession:
DeHaan acknowledged that prices risen considerably since Obama took office. But he was quick to add there should "be a massive asterisk" next to that statement. A big reason prices were so low to begin with when Obama became president was because he entered the White House as the U.S. was coming out of an economic downturn, which depresses gas prices, DeHaan said.
Will Chris Wallace tell his Fox News colleagues about all this, or will they continue to mislead about the rise in gas prices?