Media Hide John Hofmeister's Oil Interests As He Misleads Viewers On Gas Prices

Several TV media outlets have hosted John Hofmeister even as he misled their viewers by claiming that drilling will lower gasoline prices in contrast to independent experts from across the political spectrum. But they have failed to disclose that Hofmeister is currently a director at several oil and gas companies.

Media Fail To Disclose That Hofmeister Is A Director At Several Oil And Gas Companies

Hofmeister Is Currently A Director At Lufkin, Hunting PLC And CAMAC. John Hofmeister is a Director at Lufkin Industries, Inc. and the Senior Independent Director of Hunting PLC, both of which manufacture products for oil and gas extraction. Hofmeister is also listed as a director at CAMAC Energy Inc., a U.S. based oil and gas corporation that has operations in Nigeria. Hofmeister owns a significant amount of stock in both CAMAC Energy and Lufkin Industries, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. [Hunting PLC, accessed11/5/12] [Lufkin, accessed 11/5/12] [CAMAC Energy Inc., accessed 11/5/12] [U.S. Official News, 6/14/12, via Nexis] [U.S. Fed News, 9/26/11, via Nexis]

Media Fail To Disclose These Current Oil Interests. According to a search of Nexis, media outlets have never disclosed Hofmeister's current oil interests while hosting him. Hofmeister is often identified as a former Shell Oil President. [Nexis search, 11/5/12]

Hofmeister Is A Former Shell Oil Executive And Current Head Of Citizens For Affordable Energy. Hofmeister is currently the head of Citizens for Affordable Energy, where he often calls for expanded domestic drilling by claiming it will alleviate high gasoline prices. He held various positions at Shell from 1997 to 2008, eventually becoming the company's president. [Citizens for Affordable Energy, Accessed 10/30/12] [Bloomberg Businessweek, Accessed 10/30/12] [Citizens for Affordable Energy, Accessed 11/2/12] [Fox Business, Varney & Company, 2/28/11, via Citizens for Affordable Energy] [CNBC, SquawkBox, 1/21/11, via Citizens for Affordable Energy] [Citizens for Affordable Energy, Accessed 11/2/12] [Citizens for Affordable Energy, Accessed 11/2/12]

CNN, CBS, And Fox Hosted Hofmeister To Mislead On Gas Prices

Hofmeister Misled Viewers On Gasoline Prices Over A Dozen Times In 2012. In 2012, CNN, CBS, Fox News and Fox Business hosted Hofmeister to criticize the Obama administration's energy policies and suggest that a lack of domestic oil production is to blame for high gasoline prices.

  • Hofmeister Announced Support For Romney On Fox, Claimed “Absolutely The President Has Control” Of Gas Prices. Hofmeister recently announced on Fox & Friends that he would be voting for Mitt Romney because of President Barack Obama's energy policies. Hofmeister said that he “warned” then-Sen. Obama in 2007 that “we're headed for higher gas prices on a systematic level unless he personally gets involved in expanding the drilling of this country, opening up new access.” Fox's Dave Briggs asked whether the president actually has control of gasoline prices, and Hofmeister responded unequivocally, “Absolutely the president has control--because the president, through the Interior Department, controls access to untouched domestic natural reserves that have never been touched in this country.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/20/12]
  • Hofmeister On Fox: If We Want Lower Gas Prices, “Increase The Supply.” On Fox Business, Hofmeister stated, “If we really want to fix the fuel price in this country guess what? Increase the supply. How often do I have to say that to elected officials? Increase the supply.” [Fox Business, Cavuto, 1/20/12, via Nexis]
  • Hofmeister Claimed On CNN That Increasing U.S. Oil Production Would Lower Gas Prices. On CNN's State of the Union With Candy Crowley, Hofmeister stated that in “2011 we paid the highest average [gasoline] price throughout the year in our history” and said that to “fi[x] the problem,” he would take four steps. The first step was to increase domestic oil production from 7 million barrels of oil to 10, which he claimed we could do “for decades to come.” [CNN, State of the Union With Candy Crowley, 2/26/12, via Nexis]
  • Hofmeister Implied On Fox That Obama Drove Gas Prices Up. On Fox News, Hofmeister said that Obama “has taken traditional energy off the priority list until this year. Suddenly, we hear all in, all of the above. He could have been saying that for the last three years. But he has not. I`m very disappointed. I`m a registered Democrat. I`m extremely disappointed in the lack of leadership that we have not seen. And here we are. We`re going to have the highest gas prices in the history of the country this year, which will top last year`s gas prices.” [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 2/27/12, via Nexis]
  • Hofmeister On CNN: “You Blame The Government [For High Gas Prices]; Don't Blame The Oil Companies.” After CNN's John King listed the groups including oil companies that Americans blame for high gasoline prices according to polling, Hofmeister said, “The reality is domestic energy companies can only produce oil when they have permits to do so. The vast amount of oil is on federal land and in offshore locations. And the permits are not forthcoming. So you blame the government; don't blame the oil companies.” [CNN, John King, USA, 3/29/12, via Nexis]
  • Hofmeister On Fox: “The Way To Fix [High Gas Prices] Is Increased Supply.” On Fox News, Hofmeister said, “The reason crude prices are rising and the reason gas prices are rising is we are living on the edge of supply in relationship to demand. The way to fix it is increased supply. But there is not a serious bone in the body of this administration from stem to stern on the idea of actually increasing hydrocarbon production as a matter of national policy.” [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 8/17/12, via Nexis]
  • Hofmeister Claimed On Fox That “New Areas For Exploration” In U.S. Could Address High Gas Prices. On Fox Business, Hofmeister said, “The U.S. is the largest consumer in the world, has got to do more to take care of its own domestic needs through domestic production. We have not made any progress to speak of under federal leadership in the last three years. We have made progress on the state leadership. What we need is federal leadership to open up new areas for exploration and production, and we also need to take natural gas and convert that to a transportation fuel if we are really going to address the underlying wet blanket on the economy, which is high gas prices.” [Fox Business, The Willis Report, 9/24/12, via Nexis]
  • Hofmeister On CNN: I “Warned” Obama To Increase Drilling To Gas Prices. In a discussion on high gasoline prices, Hofmeister told CNN's Soledad O'Brien he had “warned candidate Obama that if he didn't do something immediately in his first term to dramatically increase the amount of hydrocarbons we were producing in this country, he would face incredibly high gas prices when he ran for re-election in 2012.” Hofmeister claimed Obama “did not do anything” to address the issue, and, in response to a question from Roland Martin about whether consumers must change their attitude toward gasoline amid high prices, he said “we live in a country that has more energy than we'll ever use in our history and so what we need is a plan to create that energy, turn it into what we can use as power.” [CNN, Starting Point With Soledad O'Brien, 3/29/12]
  • Hofmeister On CNN: “We're The Biggest Culprit As A Nation In Not Producing More Domestic Resources.” In a segment on “the blame game” surrounding high gasoline prices, Hofmeister told CNN's John King, “demands in crude oil are not being offset by rises in supply. We're the world's largest consuming country, and yet we only produce about a third of our own domestic resources to meet our local demand. We're the biggest culprit as a nation in not producing more domestic resources, when we have more than we will ever need.” After King played a clip of President Obama asserting “We can't just drill our way to lower gas prices,” Hofmeister claimed “the president has done nothing in three years to create a hydrocarbon plan for dealing with the need for increased domestic resources” and recommended that the U.S. “go back” to producing 10 million barrels of oil per day. [CNN, John King, USA, 3/2/2012]
  • Hofmeister On Fox: If Government “Would Get Out Of The Way,” It Would “Maybe Even Bring Down Gas Prices.” Discussing an federal policies toward oil companies, Hofmeister told Neil Cavuto “it takes a practical mind to understand we how the industry works and how profits occur in an industry that has all kinds of capital expenses and pays all kinds of taxes to the government[.]” He claimed that if the government “would get out of the way of some of the opportunities to increase supply, more profits would go to work and maybe even bring down gas prices.” [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 4/26/12, via Nexis]
  • Hofmeister Suggested On Fox That Increasing “Domestic Product” Would Lower Gas Prices. Responding to queries from Fox's Gerri Willis about rising gas prices, Hofmeister said “What really disturbs me, and here we go again, is what everybody in the industry says. All the politicians scream bloody murder as the price rises. What do they do about it? Absolutely nothing.” He added, “the politicians have got to get their act together because they are the enabler of a comprehensive energy approach which could produce more domestic product, and we need more domestic product.” [Fox News, The Willis Report, 5/25/12, via Nexis]
  • Hofmeister On CBS: High Gas Prices A Sign Of “A Failure Of Government Leadership.” In an exchange with CBS' Gayle King, Hofmeister suggested that high gasoline prices were a sign of both economic recovery and “a failure of government leadership.” He continued, “the reason the high prices happen is we`re borrowing oil, we`re buying oil from offshore. Why do we keep buy -- buying oil offshore when we have more oil in this country than we`ll ever use?” [CBS, This Morning, 6/25/12, via Nexis]
  • Hofmeister Told Fox That Americans Are “Paying Through The Nose” At Pump Due To “Political” Reasons. After Fox's Neil Cavuto noted that “the pain at the pump is getting even more painful today” and asked whether it was time to drill more, Hofmeister said “The fact that we know we have domestic natural resources here, in this country, and that we are not allowed to go after them by government edict, government policy, is absurd, and the American people are paying through the nose for political whatever on the part of the administration.” [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto, 8/6/12, via Nexis]

But Experts Agree Increasing Domestic Oil Production Would Not Lower Gasoline Prices

Experts: Changes In U.S. Production Are Small Factor Given Scale Of Global Oil Market. Many economists and energy experts from across the ideological spectrum have explained that increasing U.S. oil production will not prevent gasoline price spikes. Crude oil is priced on a global market, which is influenced by much larger factors such as geopolitical strife and growing demand from Asia. [Media Matters, 3/22/12]

Statistical Analysis Shows No Correlation Between Gasoline Prices And U.S. Oil Production. An Associated Press statistical analysis of 36 years of data showed “no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump,” underscoring the fact that any impact on price from changes in U.S. oil production is vastly overshadowed by other factors. A co-author of the study noted that the results “help make the point that U.S. production and demand have little to do with the price of gasoline in the U.S., and lend support to the notion that there is not a great deal we in the U.S., acting alone, can do to affect the price of gasoline[.]” [Associated Press, 3/21/12]

Vast Majority Of Economists Confirmed Market Factors, Not U.S. Policy, Had Larger Effect On Gas Prices. In a 2012 survey of economists by the Chicago Booth School of Business, none disagreed with the statement that “Changes in U.S. gasoline prices over the past 10 years have predominantly been due to market factors rather than U.S. federal economic or energy policies.” Some 95% of respondents either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” when answers were weighted by confidence. Three economists said they were “uncertain.” [Chicago Booth School of Business, 3/19/12]

And Oil Production Is Actually Up Under The Obama Administration. Oil production, including on federal lands, has risen under Obama. The following chart based on nonpartisan Energy Information Administration data shows that U.S. crude oil production is at an eight-year high:

And according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, “oil production on federal lands is up slightly in 2011 when compared to 2007,” as illustrated in this chart:

[Media Matters, 4/12/12] [Media Matters, 10/22/12]