Fareed Zaharia was on with Anderson Cooper in what is an informative and interesting interview which CNN has entitled: Zakaria: Republicans are pandering on gas prices. Zakaria lays out numerous ways in which Newt Gingrich’s “$2.50 gallon of gas” and Republican attacks on President Obama re gas prices are at odds with reality. (Although, Zakaria doesn’t take the next step and address the Republican Agenda to Raise Prices At The Pump.) Zakaria made a major error … not in the interview but in his promotion of it.
For the first time, the US is exporting rather than importing oil and it has made no difference to our gas prices.
The problem: this tweet has multiple errors:
- The reality is, as of late last year, the United States is exporting more refined oil product (read diesel and gasoline, mainly) than the United States imports — not crude oil.
- The United States is still importing close to 50 percent of its crude oil demand.
- As of 9 March 2012, the United States is a net importer of 8.7 million barrels per day (mbpd) even as it is a net exporter of 1.4 mbpd of refined product according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
- For neither refined product nor for overall crude oil is it true that this is “for the first time”. While it was decades ago, the United States was long a net exporter of both crude oil and refined product.
While Zakaria, with numerous people reacting to his error, send out a correction:
Correction: For the first time, the #US is exporting rather than importing
Again, this is not “for the first time” but at least Zakaria corrected from crude oil to gas (though ‘refined product’ is more accurate than ‘gas’).
However, the issue to watch. Zakaria only has, at the moment of typing this, 147,551 Twitter followers. However, the error doesn’t stop there. Zakaria’s first tweet is, well, tweeting around the world with some ‘loud’ and prominent voices passing along his mistake. Here are just two examples:
- Former Secretary General of NATO & the European Union, Javier Solano, with 35,998 followers retweeted Zakaria’s error-prone tweet.
- Swedish researcher Hans Rosling, with 67,623 followers, retweeted Zakaria’s error-filled tweet [Update: Rosling retweeted my tweet to him highlighting Zakaria's error.]
Of course, these are just two of Zakaria’s nearly 150,000 followers. How many 1000s of other erroneous retweets will occur contributing a fundamental misunderstanding of America’s energy situation?
On this issue, see:
- The Murdoch energy lie that went around the world
- CNN’s celebratory misinformation about America’s energy situation
- Fareed Zakaria …Wrong Facts Drive Wrong Conclusions
- Politics and Gas Prices … with many ideas for paths to drive down total energy and gasoline costs quickly