Record gas prices: Journalists, celebrities offer ‘tone deaf’ opinions on oil, energy as fuel prices surge

Montage: Media, Biden admin hot takes on gas prices, green energy

Debate is raging over U.S. energy policy amid soaring gas prices and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and some progressives see an opportunity for green energy and electric cars.

Journalists, pundits and liberal celebrities alike have offered an onslaught of energy takes as the Russia-Ukraine crisis unfolds and surging gas prices cause pain at the pump for average Americans.

Americans are experiencing the highest gas prices since the 2007-09 financial crisis, with the national gas price average reaching more than $4 per gallon – the highest average to date, according to AAA. To combat the shocking price increase, many have echoed White House talking points lecturing Americans to buy more electric cars. Other liberal pundits have insisted Americans should simply eliminate oil dependence altogether without offering a viable alternative. 

As a result, NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck said “few stories will do a better job of exposing the almost impenetrable bubble of the far-left and their celebrity pals” than coverage of gas prices and energy costs that is currently dominating the news cycle. 

“It’s not just tone deaf, but demeaning and insulting for them to almost celebrate the lack of adequate oil supply and sky-high prices at the pump,” Houck told Fox News Digital. “Contrary to their worldview, working men and women aren’t able to have the funds to foot the bill for a Telsa or electric car or accountant to find them the massive tax breaks. No matter what they say, viewers will see right through these smug pleas to ‘go green.'”

Signage with fuel prices at a Shell gas station in Hercules, California, U.S., on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. The average price of gasoline in the U.S. jumped above $4 a gallon for the first time since 2008 in a clear sign of the energy inflation that hurt consumers since Russia invaded Ukraine.
(Getty Images)

‘A lot of talk’

On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Katy Tur responded to President Biden banning Russian oil by pondering aloud why we simply don’t “go green” and ditch the need to foreign oil to truly hurt the Kremlin. 

“We only use about 8%. Again, our allies would need to get involved, because so much of Europe is dependent on Russian oil,” Tur responded. “It’s also something that Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut brought up today was this just exposes how insane it is that we rely — we rely on energy from authoritarian leaders, and we are not self-reliant on our own energy. A lot of talk about why we don’t go green.”

Americans are experiencing the highest gas prices since the 2008 financial crisis, with the national gas price average reaching more than $4 per gallon. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

On the same episode of “Katy Tur Reports,” NPR’s Roben Farzad suggested this crisis was in part due to Americans not learning any “lessons” from the high gas prices of 2008, by continuing to buy large trucks instead of electric vehicles. 

“Look around you, Katy. Everybody is driving a big pickup truck, SUVs, gigantic SUVs are back in vogue. We talk a big game, but this happens time and time again to the U.S. consumer,” he griped, adding that he didn’t want to come across as “some blue checkmark lecturing people in a time of pain.”

Farzad also faulted consumers for complaining about gas prices.

“Time and time again, the United States consumer is saying, ‘Well, I’m in pain. What can we do?’ And we seemingly take the easy answer out every time,” he told Tur.

“Time and time again, the United States consumer is saying, ‘Well, I’m in pain. What can we do?’ And we seemingly take the easy answer out every time.”

The conversations on MSNBC came the day after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Monday said the American people stand to benefit from having more electric vehicles on the road but failed to elaborate on how they could become more affordable. While touting the benefits of clean transportation, Buttigieg remarked that Americans from “rural to suburban to urban communities can all benefit from the gas savings of driving an EV.” 

Although the cost of electric vehicles has come down in recent years, they still remain out of reach for millions of Americans, with an average price hovering around $50,000. 

Colbert slammed as ‘elitist’

CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert apparently got Buttigieg’s memo, but was widely slammed for remarks made Tuesday on “The Late Show.”

“Today the average gas price in America hit an all-time record high over $4 per gallon. OK, that stings, but a clean conscience is worth a buck or two. It’s important. It’s important. I’m willing to pay $4 a gallon. Hell, I’ll pay $15 a gallon because I drive a Tesla,” Colbert said.  

His comments were criticized as “elitist” coming from a comedian earning $15 million a year. 

CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert joked that he would pay $15 per gallon because he drives a Tesla. 

Last week, ABC News’ “The View” touched on the subject when co-host Sunny Hostin called for Americans to “uptick our oil supply” despite climate issues because of the ongoing humanitarian crisis. However, co-host Sara Haines declared we need to eliminate oil dependence altogether. 

“We have to take away our dependence on oil. This is one thing that when we talk about getting clean energy in this country everyone says, ‘Oh, here go the environmentalists again,’ This is why we have to get off. It’s not sustainable,” Haines said. 

“It makes us dependent on the Middle East. It makes us dependent on places like Russia,” she continued. “If people don’t get serious about the fact that’s not an environmental issue, it’s an economic issue, it’s a national security issue.” 

CNN: ‘OK with paying higher prices’

CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich said on Tuesday that Americans are “OK” with spending more at the pump if it “holds Russia accountable” for invading Ukraine. 

“If you look at it globally, if the European Union decides to do something similar as to what President Biden is going to be doing in his announcement,” she said prior to Biden’s official announcement. 

“Stopping all Russian imports and energy into the country. That could have a significant ripple effect on the global energy market, then pushing prices here at home at the pump a lot higher,” Yurkevich said. “People we’ve spoken to over the last couple weeks, they’re OK with paying higher prices if it means holding Russia accountable for what they are doing in Ukraine.”

When Biden announced the ban on Russian oil, he also defended his environmental policies and regulations that obstructed domestic oil production. 

“It’s simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production, that’s simply not true,” Biden stated. 

"The View" co-host Sara Haines declared we need to eliminate oil dependence altogether. 

In live coverage afterward, “CBS Mornings” co-anchor Gayle King repeated the president’s claim.

“He also made it clear… that his policies, the Biden administration policies, are not hurting oil production in this country. He wanted to make that clear, too,” King said. 

CBS senior White House correspondent Weijia Jiang then cited the White House’s excuses, blaming oil companies instead of Biden’s policies.

President Biden has insisted that his environmental policies and regulations have not hurt domestic oil production. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

“Right, because that’s what Republicans have been saying very forcefully. Wondering why we can’t just ramp up oil production here. Well, the president just said that oil companies have the option to do that right now, but they aren’t taking it. And we did talk to a commodities expert, a strategist who said that’s exactly right,” Jiang said.

‘Wind’ from Bette Midler

Far-left actress Bette Midler tweeted, “Since the Russian invasion, the cost to produce wind energy has gone up $0.00,” prompting critics to explain to the privileged actress that cars cannot run on wind. 

“Show me the cars and airplanes and trucks and trains that can use wind power. And apparently it does not cost anything to build the windmills and infrastructure to harness the energy,” conservative pundit Carmine Sabia responded. 

Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson feels the Green agenda is a “danger to our national security” itself.

“Maybe decades from now we will have the technology to replace fossil fuels, but until then it is reckless to leave ourselves vulnerable. The Green agenda also is elitist, ignoring the costs imposed on working class people from higher gasoline and heating sources,” Jacobson told Fox News Digital.

‘Significant, of course’

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jen Psaki continued to shield Biden from fuel-related criticism Wednesday as she was grilled on whether Americans simply need to wait until 2030 – the year that Biden has set a goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions – in order to combat gas surges. 

“No, that has never been our theory or our belief, I would say that since President Putin began his military buildup on Ukrainian border, the price of gas at the pump in America has gone up 75 cents, which is significant, of course,” Psaki said during a news briefing. 

Psaki said it is widely believed that the buildup of Putin’s troops along the Ukraine border has caused many of the issues that occurred during Biden’s time in the White House. 

“The reality, as you know, is that Russia is the world’s third-largest oil producer and energy supply disruptions and market volatility are the result of his aggressions,” she continued. “We need to ensure the supply meets the demand out there in the marketplace. There’s a couple of ways to do that. Obviously, we’re engaging with big global oil producers around the world to meet that demand. But there are also, as we’ve talked about a few times in here, 9,000 unused oil leases that oil companies could certainly tap into. And we’ve encouraged them to do that.”

Fox News’ Bradford Betz, Brooke SIngman and Kristine Parks contributed to this report. 

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