|Man Without Qualities|
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Semiconsciousness. That's how one could characterize a front-page Los Angeles Times report on the future of gasoline prices in California and throughout the West. But, on the bright side, semiconsciousness is half way there!
The good news: The Times reports the bad news - that is, the real reasons gasoline prices are probably going to keep creeping up in this part of the country for years - right at the beginning of the article:
Without new refineries, additional pipelines, expanded port facilities or a slowdown in consumption — none of which is likely — motorists in California and neighboring states will pay ever more at the pump, analysts warn, and endure more frequent and longer-lasting price increases. "Prices are going to go up," said Claudia Chandler, assistant executive director of the California Energy Commission. "As supplies get tight, that's the way that the free market allocates resources — by price."
Amazing. The article even includes a fairly reasonable description of how NIMBY and BANANA and NOPE sentiments are mostly responsible for the refinery and pipeline shortages. The Times does not even follow the customary format for liberal mainstream media when insertion of basic economics is allowed in articles on energy economics and finance: place the ravings of the conspiracy theorists first, with the sensible "supply-meets-demand" and/or "supply-is supposed-meet-demand" protests from industry sources and some sensible professional economist buried at the back of the article. Contrast Times obeisance to the customary liberal media energy economics format: Times coverage of the recent California energy crisis still leaves suggestions that producer and supplier conspiracies were mostly responsible for the price rise, even to the point of implying that the rather modest bone tossed to this theory by the FERC is something more than a bone. And in that case the Times has made essentially no effort to point out that even where rules may have been broken, the rules often worked against market efficiency. In short, conspiracies rule at the Times with regard to the recent California energy crisis!
But in this article about the future creeping gasoline crisis, it's the conspiracy ravings that the Times tucks in the back, where (with a barely maintained straight face) the Times presents the obligatory suggestion that California gasoline prices are being set by six public energy companies in a long-term anti-trust conspiracy.
Of course, in a reasonable world, the actual content of the article wouldn't belong on anyone's front page. And even here the headline is wrong. The correct headline should be something like: MAINSTREAM LIBERAL MEDIA OUTLET DISCOVERS ECONOMIC LAW!
Tomorrow's "discovery" for the Times and liberal Californians generally:
NIMBY AND BANANA AND NOPE SENTIMENTS CAUSE CALIFORNIA HOUSING TO BE MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE THAN IT SHOULD BE! LESS WEALTHY PEOPLE HURT MOST!
And who knows what could happen after that. Maybe the Times and its liberal readers will discover gravity?!
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