Accuracy in Media

The New York Times was forced to beat a hasty retreat when outlets pilloried their contention on Twitter that the Colonial Pipeline hack has caused no shortages or long lines at gas pumps. 

“Colonial Pipeline, a vital U.S. fuel artery that was shut down by a cyberattack, said it hoped to restore most operations by the end of the week. Since the shutdown, there have been no long lines or major price hikes for gas,” the read a tweet from the Grey Lady while hawking a story about the hacking. 

Twitter and other media are full of examples of long lines for gas and stations that have run out of gas entirely. 

 

Later, the Times added an updated story that acknowledged the lines and shortages, in tiny font. 

“There’s no gas, and people are getting frustrated,” Ariyana Ward, a 19-year-old college student in Virginia Beach who waited 45 minutes to fill up told the Times. With some motorists taking time to fill cans as well as cars, she said, “people are getting into shouting matches.”

It’s a sensitive subject. 

Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford both got taken to the woodshed over gas shortages, gas rationing, high prices and long lines at the pump. 

“The paper was eviscerated online following the tweet, with multiple people, including local reporters, calling out its inaccuracies,” reported Fox News. 

Two weeks ago, CNN warned that the summer driving season could see gas shortages, higher prices and longer lines at the pump. 

But the cable news giant warned not about supply issues or cyberattacks, but of driver shortages. 

“According to the National Tank Truck Carriers, the industry’s trade group, somewhere between 20% and 25% of tank trucks in the fleet are parked heading into this summer due to a paucity of qualified drivers. At this point in 2019, only 10% of trucks were sitting idle for that reason,” according to CNN. 

Biden is already facing struggles with an economy that might be ready to underperform. 

Last week, the jobs numbers came in short by about 750,000 jobs, the biggest jobs estimate miss on record, despite more than 8 million jobs waiting to be filled. 

And even as the economy has yet to recover from the COVID-19 shutdowns, there were signs of rapid inflation in everything from gas to lumber to food before the cyberattack.

Gas prices have moved up from $2.40 gallon to nearly $3.00 a gallon since Biden took over and interest rates have moved over 40 percent, over 50 basis points. 

So while drivers are doing panic buying, it looks like the Times is doing panic writing.




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