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Poor People Hocking Jewelry to Buy Gas? It's "Good for the Pawn Brokers"

Reported by Marie Therese - April 21, 2006

In their desperate pursuit to put a happy face on ANY bad news, the trio of hosts on FOX & Friends ran a story this morning about how poor people have resorted to pawning their watches, jewelry and other possessions in order to pay for gas. In the process Steve Doocy, Edith Ann "E.D." Hill and Brian Kilmeade lied to the FOX audience about gas prices and came to the defense of the administration while discussing the crushing effects of high gas prices on the poor.

Here's my transcript with commentary.

STEVE DOOCY: E. D. mentioned a moment ago that in Beverly Hills the price at the pump for super unleaded is ...

E. D. HILL: Four dollars and four cents!

BRIAN KILMEADE: The national average is two eighty-six. How do they get away with that?

DOOCY: Well, it's Beverly Hills. All the cars are fancy and many people have drivers.

DOOCY: There's a story out of New Jersey that ...

KILMEADE: That's illegal.

DOOCY: ... because ... What's illegal?

KILMEADE: You can't gouge prices. Put it - what is it? - almost two dollars above the national average?

E. D. HILL: No. well, that's true, but a lot of that is our state and local taxes that are added on.

DOOCY: Yeah, and they've got - and know they have all those different those different blends of gas and stuff.

KILMEADE: As opposed to a South Central gas tax?

HILL: Yeah. Well, I don't know what it is in South Central but as opposed to, say, gas in states that don't tax as much.

DOOCY: Um-hmm.

HILL: That's why you see such a variety of prices between Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.

KILMEADE: I want to see an investigation.

HILL: You've got higher taxes in New Jersey on the gas.

DOOCY (snidely): Yeah, we're proud of that - makes our state a lot better.

Ms. Hill laughed.

The FOX News deliberately misled their viewers. According to automotive.com in Beverly Hills premium gas ranges from a high of $3.70 to a low of $3.29. According to the AAA, the national average for premium is not $2.86, as Kilmeade said, but $3.14. Therefore the actual difference between Beverly Hills and the national average is actually about 56 cents, not the $2.00 figure Brian Kilmeade pulled out of his hat. For the record the AAA's Daily State Averages notes the following information about gas prices in CT, NJ and NY:

R $2.94
M $3.19
P $3.28

New Jersey
R $2.73
M $2.93
P $3.04

New York
R $3.00
M $3.20
P $3.27

New Jersey prices are actually LOWER than either New York or Connecticut, yet Hill and Kilmeade told their viewers the exact opposite, all to make a false point about taxes!

DOOCY: So, anyway, also in New Jersey, there's an item that's running that says that - and they notice this whenever gas prices go up - and that is people who are on the low end of the financial totem pole wind up havin' to drive their cars a lot and the only way to - that they can make ends meet, sadly, is to pawn some jewelry or some stuff like that to buy some gas.

BRIAN KILMEADE: How sad is that?

DOOCY: Very sad.

VIDEO CLIP of unidentified Caucasian male, a pawnbroker, counting out his money.

KILMEADE: Here - here's the ...

E. D. HILL (brusquely): It's a good thing for the pawn business.

KILMEADE: It's good for the pawnbroker. For example, like this guy.

VIDEO CLIP OF the same man saying "You know, I always like being busy, but, you know, this is a little sad."

VIDEO CLIP of an unidentified African-American man in a straw cowboy hat, standing beside a gas pump, saying "It is already bad. And it gonna get worse, look like. Takin' all our money."

Never one to miss an opportunity to blame the Democrats, the trio continued, regurgitating what sounded like classic rebuttals, taken straight from the Moody Memo of the day.

KILMEADE: It just is mysterious why this all of a sudden happened. It's not like - you hear all of a sudden the price is going up on a barrel, now some are payin' more and the pump and then, miraculously, it'll go down. However, they say the trends will this summer be that it's gonna continue to go up and the front page of the New York Times to say - to make this a political issue. They say Democrats will make the most of the pain at the pump. That will be strategy "A" Number One. And, judging by the "You Choose the News" segment, the number one topic on your mind is the pain at the pump because everyone can relate to it.

HILL: Yeah, but there hasn't been any sort of a real energy plan in place under either Democrats or Republicans, regardless of who's in the White House.

The rest of the segment consisted of a rehash of Republican talking points as the hosts tried to explain to their viewers why the recent "confluence of bad stuff" that has been plaguing the Bush administration is not really the fault of Republicans at all.

N. B. Gas prices are updated frequently. Therefore, the websites referenced above may show amounts different from the ones quoted in my post.

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