Crossroads GPS is a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) group, affiliated with the American Crossroads super PAC. Karl Rove has been linked to both groups.
The spot begins by noting gas prices “then and now” — going up from the unusually low prices of January 2009 to the higher prices of today. A narrator asks what has made the difference.
The narrator then claims the reasons for higher gas prices are:
— “President Obama’s administration restricted oil production in the Gulf”
— Limited development of American oil shale
— Obama personally lobbied to kill a pipeline bringing oil from Canada
Watch the spot:
Unlike candidate ad spots, television stations are under no obligation to run ads by outside groups, especially when the ads are factually wrong. This one is.
The non-partisan FactCheck.org outright calls the ad’s claims “bogus.”
Some important points to keep in mind:
— U.S. gas prices do not correspond with domestic oil production. Decades of statistics show domestic gas prices correspond with global gas prices.
— The President is not to blame for rising gas prices. Oil companies, whose profits go up an estimated $800 million a year, every time the price of gas goes up a penny, and speculation are the key reasons for the cost increase.
— Gas prices were unusually low in January 2009. Though prices were much higher at other points during the Bush administration, they were artificially low when President Obama took office because the world economy was reeling from the Wall Street meltdown.
— The temporary moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico came because of the BP oil spill. The Obama administration put the moratorium in place to ensure that new safety precautions could be implemented after the worst oil spill on record poured about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the gulf (millions of barrels that might otherwise have been refined for gasoline).
— The Obama administration has not stymied development of American oil shale. As FactCheck.org notes, “production of petroleum from shale formations is booming. What the administration slowed down were plans for experimental development of ways to produce oil by heating kerogen-rich rocks, something that is years away from becoming commercially feasible.”
— President Obama did not lobby to kill the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. He has supported building part of the pipeline — what has opposed are efforts by Congressional Republicans to deny his administration the time necessary to do a thorough review of the plan. And much of the oil delivered via the proposed pipeline would likely be exported after refinement.
Are the deceitful ads funded by Big Oil? By Keystone XL? Crossroads GPS isn’t telling — they do not publicly disclose their donors. But viewers — and television station executives — would be wise carefully scrutinize this dishonest content, even if they cannot scrutinize the motivation of the people paying for it.