In response to President Joe Biden’s announcement Tuesday that the U.S. is instituting a ban on Russian fossil fuel imports, Fox News personalities set out to disparage him for the same policies they had spent the last week demanding.
Over the course of the past few days, pundits went from chastising Biden for not rejecting Russian oil imports to using his implementation of that very policy to blame him for rising gas prices, repeating familiar lies in order to disparage their political opponents and call for an increase to domestic oil production. Discussions of “Russian blood money” were replaced with language downplaying the ban and dire warnings about skyrocketing gas prices set against the backdrop of Biden’s press conference:
- On the March 1 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy noted that while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses a significant financial cost to Putin, the United States was “actually subsidizing part of that because we continue to buy oil from Russia.” When Biden did end the purchase of Russian oil, Doocy responded on March 9 by claiming it was done only because of Republican pressure and to bolster the president’s poll numbers. He said that after Republicans pushed for the move, “when the president looked at his poll numbers and they were ticking up, what does he do? He says, ‘OK, we're all together on this.’” Doocy then told the audience that “when you go and pay for gas, you might want to take a picture of it, although it won't last long. Because it's historic. Americans have never paid this much for a gallon of gas ever.” The hosts spent the rest of the segment arguing for the U.S. to increase oil production, despite the fact that domestic production has been rising for years and is expected to hit an all-time high in 2023.
- On the March 3 edition of Fox News host Sean Hannity’s radio show, Hannity expressed urgency for restrictions on Russian oil, asking, “After Joe Biden inherited energy independence and America being a net exporter of energy, how is he importing, why is he importing, 232 million barrels of Russian oil,” going on to say that Putin was “murdering innocent men, women, and children, and we’re still doing business with this guy.” A few days later, Hannity opened his Fox News show with dire coverage of rising gas prices set against the backdrop of Biden’s announcement, saying, “You, the American people, you are now paying more for a gallon of gasoline than ever before in the history of this country and it looks like it's only going to get worse. Now Joe Biden's bold strategy to, let's see, beg foreign dictators and murderers and thugs to pump more oil, that's not working out particularly well.”
- On the March 4 edition of his show on Fox News, host Jesse Watters criticized Biden for not imposing sanctions and increasing domestic oil production, saying, “The White House, they still won't budge,” and claiming, “Biden [is] happy to pay Russian blood money and sock Americans in the wallets.” After Biden imposed the ban, Watters returned to his show on March 8 with emphatic criticism, saying, “You’re damn right it's going to cost us — if you only ban Russian oil and don't pump American.” He would go on to suggest Biden was purposefully causing the increase in gas prices to promote renewable energy, calling it “his little pet projects.”
- On the March 2 edition of The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham emphasized the important of possible oil sanctions, asking her guest, former director of national intelligence for the Trump administration John Ratcliffe, “What realistically can the U.S. do to push Vladimir Putin out if we are going to keep buying oil from Putin and if we’re gonna keep supporting China, which is back-dooring a lot of support?” However, when Biden did impose a ban on Russian oil, Ingraham responded by saying Biden was “sacrific[ing] America,” claiming Biden was “dron[ing] on about the cost of defending freedom in Ukraine” while “our own citizens” were “seeing life's basic necessities become increasingly unaffordable and unattainable,” eventually calling the sanctions “basically symbolic.”