February 14, 2012

ABC’s Farnham: 2008 Was Last Time U.S. ‘Saw’ $4-a-Gallon Gas

ABClogo2012Everybody, including yours truly, makes mistakes. But a major news organization should be able to catch whoppers like the ones readers will see shortly, or at least fix them in short order if they get posted.

A Google search on the title of an ABC report on gas prices (“Bumpy Ride Ahead: Gas Prices May Soon Hit $4 a Gallon”) at about 8:10 a.m. ET indicates that the story went up at about 6 p.m. last night, so the pathetic verbiage readers will see after the jump has gone unrepaired for 15 hours, and counting:

ABCon4dollarGas021312

Lord have mercy.

Obviously, the gas price changes cited should be expressed as cents per gallon. They are listed in dollars per gallon at the original source. ABC’s Alan Farnham didn’t have the math sense to express the changes in cents, and instead ignorantly expressed them as percentages.

More egregiously, Farnham acts as if last year’s gas price spike to over $4 a gallon in many parts of the country never happened (i.e., that no one “saw” it), thereby (how convenient) giving readers the impression that prices haven’t been “seen” at that level anywhere in the U.S. since the eeeeevil George W. Bush occupied the White House.

Earth to Alan: I “saw” them last spring, less than a year ago, and millions of others all over the Midwest and in many other parts of the country “saw” them too. Prices more than “flirted” with $4; they went all the way, and then some. Some examples obtained from the charts section at cincygasprices.com (graphic here) include the following: Chicago – $4.52; New York – $4.29; Los Angeles – $4.29; Cincinnati – $4.18. There are enough examples showing prices hitting well over $4 a gallon to make one wonder if the U.S. Energy Information Administration is appropriately weighting its reported averages. (There’s a story for you, Alan; but please, for everyone’s sake, make sure someone checks your work.)

If he wanted to be accurate while protecting the administration, Farnham should have written that “average U.S. gas prices haven’t hit $4 a gallon since 2008″ (the related gasprices.com chart shows a peak of $3.97 on about May 11). But he didn’t. Instead he wrote a woefully sloppy and inaccurate story — and the ABC reporter and his editors don’t seem to care enough to want to fix it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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