Just days after he was sworn in, doofus deniers like Tony Heller were already blaming President Biden for a rise in gas prices that started last October. Unfortunately, that transparently false and bad-faith attack has only grown louder and found new champions, as Mariana Mazzucato recently reported in the New Republic.
From Senator Rick Scott to Koch groups, “it’s in some ways a version of what happened in last month’s devastating blackouts in Texas,” Mazzucato writes, “a thing people don’t like happened, and Republicans are eager to blame it on Democrats. But fuel prices going up is both a sign of economic recovery and very good news to fossil fuel companies” struggling with low prices and “a rash of bankruptcies after prices plummeted last spring.”
One of the slightly more sophisticated versions of this argument can be found in the Washington Times, who hired a new “reporter” this month for its Congress and energy coverage, one Haris Alic. He comes from Breitbart News, “where he was the lead political reporter covering President Joe Biden and the 2020 campaign” for the outlet that “smuggled white nationalism into the mainstream.” Before that, Alic — whose name really is right on the homophonetical nose — wrote for the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative billionaire-funded political website. His Free Beacon bio says his prior experience was “in communications and government relations at various non-profits.”
If we had to guess, we’d wager that those nonprofits all share a common set of funders with a bank account full of dirty energy money, but judging by his output Alic was hired for his ability to sensationalize normal political news to drive angry conservative hate-clicks.
Some of his last stories at Breitbart included immigration fear-mongering and Hunter Biden conspiracy peddling, while one of his last at the Free Beacon accused one of the only Muslims in Congress, Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, of antisemitism while “reporting” on her pro-choice comments.
So if that all sounds more like the output of a conservative activist than any sort of reporter, you would be correct! Before getting hired to be “staff writer” at the Free Beacon, where he was responsible for multiple blog posts a day with important news like “Democratic Rep caught playing candy crush during the State of the Union,” Haris Alic was very much a conservative activist.
At least, that’s according to a 2017 Daily Caller freelance piece of overly optimistic GOP cheerleading, in which the byline describes Alic as “a conservative activist and government affairs professional.”
And the worst part is, he clearly knows he’s not doing news, because his piece about gas prices begins with a disclaimer that prices are rising because of “increased demand as Americans emerge from COVID-19 sheltering,” but nonetheless carries the allegation that “energy analysts” “warn that President Biden’s climate agenda likely will exacerbate the rise in fuel costs.”
But there’s only one person quoted in the article, analyst or otherwise, and it is … wait for it … Myron Ebell, of the industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute. The body of the article is about why the price increase isn’t about Biden’s policies, but somehow that’s the framing of the piece, the headline claim, and the thrust of Ebell’s evidence-free quotes are all presented as a factual counterweight to those realities.
Because as Mazzucato pointed out, “a thing people don’t like happened,” so Alic and “Republicans are eager to blame it on Democrats.”