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FOX's White House Friends plug drilling in ANWR

Reported by Chrish - June 11, 2008 -

As the Bush administration's days dwindle away, they and their media army at FOX News are frantically trying to wrap up unfinished business, mainly attacking Iran and drilling in ANWR. The hosts of FOX and Friends First this morning 6/11/08 pounded that message, hosting right-wing icon Ralph Reed, and were reinforced during the first hour of FOX and Friends in an appearance by another dependable right-winger, Michelle Malkin.

(At one point I thought that geez, this program could be brought to you by the oil and gas industry! I burst out laughing when the next commercial break featured an ad for Valero Energy, "the nation's #1 refiner.")

Throughout the First hour there were numerous references to high gas prices and what to do about them. Ralph Reed appeared, to plug his new book (the three glowing reviews of his novel on Amazon are by Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, and Bob Novak - LOL!) and to opine on the election and the oil situation. There were no surprises: he favors drilling both in ANWR and off the US coasts, and a build-up of nuclear power plants, with the most cursory of nods to alternative energy research.

Doocy repeated Bill O'Reilly's Talking Point that Saudi Arabia extracts the oil at a cost of $2 per barrel and then turns around and sells it to us for $140 - as if it was that simple. Reed asserted that drilling in ANWR would produce 16 billion barrels, enough to replace Saudi Arabia's supplies for the next 30 years (failing to mention that most estimates say ten years before we'd see a drop, so his short-term solution, not so short). Second, we need to end the moratorium on building nuclear power plants - haven't built one in thirty years (which he failed to remind viewers was exactly when the Three Mile Island accident occurred, awakening Americans to the potential dangers of nuclear power). Third, we need to have a 21st century energy economy that features a mix of fuels: so-called "clean coal," and uh, y'know, uh, various alternative fuels... He said he is concerned about ethanol because it's driving up the cost of grains: "We don't want the fuel of the rich to hurt the food of the poor."

No mention by this steward of the Earth of wind or solar power; clearly he favors the status quo and does not concern himself with the fuel of the rich hurting the air and water of the poor.

After a commercial break Reed had another segment to plug the book, a political thriller that closely resembles the current landscape, and to talk about how McCain can win over "conservatives." Reed thinks the right will rally around McCain so long as he flip-flops in their direction, and praised his recent speech promising to appoint judges in the mold of Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas. Judges and the future of the courts will be a "sleeper issue" this election, he said, which translates to abortion rights and gay marriage...again.

Bringing the conversation yeta gain to oil and the price of gas, Doocy noted that McCain does not support drilling in ANWR. Reed agreed that's an issue on which McCain (along with campaign finance reform) is out of step with the "conservatives grassroots" of the party.

Reed's advice to the "grassroots conservatives," more commonly seen as the fundamentalist religious right, is to work on moving McCain to the right (which will be difficult if not impossible as McCain tries to court Clinton's voters and portray himself as moderate and not Bush's third term). Reed wasn't trying to put words in McCain's mouth, oh noooo, but suggested he could say that he cast his vote against ANWR drilling back when gas was $1.30 a gallon; now that it's $4, we're going to have to do some different things.

Michelle Malkin appeared less than hour later as "an expert on gas prices," according to Gretchen Carlson. The difference between Democrats and Republicans per the teaser read by Brian Kilmeade is that Democrats want a windfall tax on oil compnay profits, and Republicans want to drill. Malkin was asked to tell what's wrong with the Democrats plan and what's right about drilling - fair and balanced. She obliged.

When it was tried during the seventies under Jmmy Carter, she said, it resulted in lower oil production here and more imports, the opposite of what we're trying to do now. It's "an exercise in gaseous demagoguery." The oil industry's profits as a percentage actually underperforms manufacturing as a whole. (Democrats) are posturing and not doing what needs to be done - increasing domestic oil production.

This was much the mantra for the hour and a half I watched - drill, drill, drill, on drilling. No serious discussion was had on future energy policy and cutting dependence on oil, it was all about bringing down gas prices now and casting aspersion on the Middle East (Saudi Arabia has been singled out a lot) for robbing us, world markets and demand not even mentioned. It's all about us, and how the Rs will save us this pain and the Ds will not.