CBS parrots Biden’s defense on high gas prices: His policies ‘not hurting oil production in this country’

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Following bipartisan calls for the United States to reject Russian oil after Putin invaded Ukraine, President Biden announced Tuesday morning that the U.S. would ban all imports of Russian oil, gas and energy. 

The president faced strong criticism from Republicans for his environmental policies and regulations that obstructed domestic oil production. He defended those policies Tuesday, and CBS News was quick to repeat his talking points without pushback, as NewsBusters’ Kyle Drennen noted.

As gas prices rise to the highest on record, Biden blamed “Putin’s war” and oil companies “taking advantage” of the crisis for the skyrocketing costs, which were already rising before Putin invaded Ukraine. 

The president touted his administration’s actions of putting sanctions on Russia and sending aid to Ukraine. But as for the higher gas prices, he claimed his policies were not to blame

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

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In live coverage afterwards, “CBS Mornings” co-anchor Gayle King repeated this dubious claim.

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

 

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on January 19, 2022 in Washington, DC. 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 19: U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on January 19, 2022 in Washington, DC. 
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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

“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.

While the media and the White House have bristled at criticism over Biden canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, saying that it wouldn’t have been operational for years, they are admitting that green energy isn’t going to be an immediate fix either. 

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Recent reports show that the Biden administration is considering buying oil from countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela. Jiang excused the president’s controversial idea to go to these countries for oil instead of ramping up U.S. oil production, as a necessary evil when there are “no good options.”

“Another point, Gayle, is it couldn’t happen overnight, right? I mean, when you’re talking about the need for supply right now, you can’t make that happen right away. And unfortunately, for better or worse, where you can go is Saudi Arabia. And again, that’s why experts, lawmakers are all saying this is really a bad situation all around with no good options,” she insisted.

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It’s not just Republicans telling Biden there are more solutions other than green energy. A group of Texas Democrats wrote a letter to Biden Tuesday which demanded he “unleash responsible domestic production to counter reliance on Russian oil and gas.” They added, “Now is the time to regain our energy independence and support our allies around the globe.”

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