OLD Media Moves

Networks ignoring lower gas prices

September 19, 2006

Noel Sheppard of the Business & Media Institute noted that the major television networks are ignoring the decline in gas prices despite their intense coverage when gas prices were rising after Hurricane Katrina a year ago.

Sheppard wrote, “Yet only one of the three broadcast networks bothered to report Thursday’s huge decline in natural gas prices. ABC’s Charles Gibson had this to say on the September 14 ‘World News’: ‘With colder weather on the way, there is welcome news tonight for the more than 60 million American homes that heat with natural gas. Bills should be lower this winter. Word of record supply pushed futures prices to a two-year low today.’

“To be sure, the broadcast networks weren’t so uninterested in natural gas prices last September when they were on the rise. On Sept. 21, 2005, ‘World News Tonight’ did an entire segment on how Katrina was going to impact energy costs, inviting on an energy industry analyst who stated: ‘Natural gas prices this winter are going to be probably the highest in history. Consumers will be seeing heating bills that they’ve never seen before.’

“Though CBS chose not to report the good news on September 14, the network was surely interested in this issue last year when prices were heading higher. On the Sept. 9, 2005, ‘Evening News,’ correspondent Anthony Mason began a lengthy report on this subject: ‘The dog may not be the only one barking at the heating oil man this winter after you get your bill. Heating oil prices are expected to jump more than 30 percent in the Northeast; Natural gas prices to soar more than 70 percent in the Midwest.’

“And, even as NBC chose not to share the great heating bill news with its viewers September 14, the network was all over this issue last year. Between the ‘Today’ show and the ‘Nightly News,’ NBC did a total of nine reports last September on how Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were going to cause higher natural gas and heating bills.”

Read more here.

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