When Lou Dobbs lied, Bill Schneider played along.
Dobbs: "We have to consider what else happened in the markets and that is precisely as most of the experts had suggested, once the executive ban on oil drilling offshore had been lifted, we have seen a huge decline of approximately 13 percent decline in the price of crude oil and gasoline prices actually begin to roll back over the course of 11 days, which is remarkable, isn't it?"
Schneider: "It is certainly remarkable. And the vast majority of Americans do support offshore oil drilling. They support anything, anything that will give them relief from high gas prices." Lou Dobbs Tonight, July 29, 2008
No experts said any such thing. For obvious reasons. "[Bush's] move to end the moratorium, in place since 1992, won't have any effect until a separate congressional prohibition expires or is overturned," said The Wall Street Journal on July 15. Instead, analysts "point to two distinct trends that may take the wind out of this year's price spike: an easing of tensions over Iran and evidence that demand for oil in the U.S. is falling faster than many believed."(The Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2008)
No one in the industry is falling for the scam. Nowhere in the Oil & Gas Journal, The Financial Times or in any respected source does anyone say that U.S. offshore drilling will bring down oil prices within the foreseeable future. As the Energy Information Agency said, "Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant." But, "the average field size in the Pacific and Atlantic regions tends to be smaller than the average in the Gulf of Mexico, implying that a significant portion of the additional resource would not be economically attractive to develop at the reference case prices." In other words, oil companies might not even drill there if they could. The EIA estimates that it takes about five years, after the regions became open for drilling, before any oil production would commence.
Dobbs signed on to the Republicans' disinformation campaign. But what about legitimate journalists? Who in the mainstream media has enough guts to say a lie is a lie?
These are not occasional slips. When Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, Mike Huckabee, Mitch McConnell, Bobby Jindal, Trent Lott, George Will, and Bill O'Reilly, all echo the McCain campaign's lie - that "we withstood hurricanes Rita and Katrina and did not spill a drop" of oil - it's not a coincidence. When Norm Coleman, Jean Schmidt, Mary Matalin , Rudy Giuliani all repeat Dick Cheney's lie - that the Chinese are drilling for oil off the coast of Cuba - it's not a coincidence. It's a strategy. Those are the small lies which create an aura of plausibility for the big one, told by John McCain, that, "there's abundant resources in the view of the people who are in the business that could be exploited within a period of months. So offshore drilling is something we have to do."
It's all straight from Dr. Goebbels' playbook. If you think the historic analogy is overstated, check out this hysterical call to arms from Jeff Mazzella, head of a right wing advocacy group oxymoronically called The Center for Individual Freedom. The idea: subvert any attempt at constructive compromise among lawmakers.
"Five Republicans-in-Name-Only (RINOs) are siding with the NO NEW DRILLING CROWD in Congress and basically betraying American families suffering severe financial hardship because of the high price of gasoline at the pump.
"You've probably already heard the news. Five RINOs are trying to strike a deal with the devil and they're calling it a 'compromise.'
"But like last year's so-called attempted 'compromise' on amnesty for 12-20 million illegal aliens... it is NO SUCH THING!
"In actuality, it's a complete and total surrender... a capitulation to liberals who see record energy costs as a political football and tell you 'inflate your tires,' 'we can't drive our SUVs' or we can't "eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees.'
If you listened to Rush Limbaugh on Friday, you already know some of the sordid and DECEPTIVE details of this proposed SURRENDER:
"' Essentially there is a Gang of Ten senators, five Republicans led by Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Saxby Chambliss, Bob Corker, and Johnny Isaakson. They joined five Democrats to craft an energy bill in the Senate that is exactly what Barack Obama wants. It is an utter disaster.'
"'It's a Democrat giveaway. ... The regulatory hurdles are huge. They have expanded. They are higher. PETA has a role. The ACLU has a role. The bill bars drilling within 50 miles of the United States coastline. That puts off limits some of the most productive areas -- even if the states allow it -- including in ANWR. Well, you can only drill in four states anyway under this bill, but no -- you can't drill any closer to 50 miles of the coastline... This deal would allow drilling if -- if and when -- the EPA and PETA and states and cities and counties and the ACLU clear the way.'
"In other words, Limbaugh is essentially saying, we CAN drill as long as we drill only when PETA and the ACLU and the EPA say it's okay to drill!
"That's NOT 'compromise!' That's essentially the same scam liberals have been perpetrating on the American people all along!
"And make no mistake, RIGHT NOW, at this very minute, these ten Senators are advancing their treacherous case... attempting to drive a stake into the heart of the grassroots movement to force Congress to "Drill Here and Drill Now!"
"We can't let that happen!
Use the hyperlink below to send your urgent and personalized Blast Fax Messages to President George W. Bush, Senators Graham, Thune, Chambliss, Corker and Isaakson and each and every Member of the Republican Leadership of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.
Tell them that this ill-hatched plan from Graham, Thune, Chambliss, Corker and Isaakson MUST NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY!
"Can You Believe The Audacity?
"Good people are in a rage over this betrayal."
Sound familiar? Who says, "Good people are in a rage over this betrayal," if they believe in rational debate or political compromise? Who says that a political proposal "MUST NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY!"? People who are honest?
The parliamentary analog to these brownshirt sentiments can be found in Congress, where hardliners have tried to strongarm any Republican willing to negotiate a deal for energy legislation. Daniel J. Weiss reported on their tactics in the House, and Oliver J. Willis reported their cloture maneuvers in the Senate.
It's all part of the same strategy.