Friday, September 26, 2008

Gas panic and TV news

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 10:24 AM

I guess it doesn't have to bleed to lead on Charlotte news stations these days.

Maybe the lead story is just meant to cause havoc. Over the last three days, the local news has been showing long gas lines, women yelling and cursing in those lines and people who have taken guns to the pump.

Wednesday morning, I woke up and turned on News channel 14 to see the weather and ran across the story about the lack of gas in Charlotte. Then my best friend called and told me about long gas lines. I had a half a tank of gas and I wasn't worried. But the noon news, the five and six o'clock newscasts repeated how Charlotte was bone dry of gas. Still, I wasn't worried.

Thursday, I was down to a quarter of a tank. I started to feel differently. Once again, the newscasts told everyone how there was no gas and Charlotte is "running on empty." Friends were calling telling me about their waits to get gas. I didn't drive anywhere on Thursday, taking advantage of my company's "work from home" policy. But I knew I had to get gas.

Here's the real deal about gas lines:

I didn't see one fight.

People were actually pretty nice. A driver actually let me get in front of him--we'd been sitting in line for same amount of time.

When I pulled up to the pump, there was a woman in front of me and the pump in front of her wasn't occupied. She pointed that out to me and I pulled in front of her.

Sure, some people are assholes and there have been fights at gas stations, but that isn't the whole story. Sure, some people are assholes and are topping off their full tanks and filling gas cans, but that isn't the whole story either.

People who drive need gas. And before you say, ride transit--everyone doesn't work on a bus line and the light rail doesn't help people who live in West, East or North Charlotte.

While the media isn't totally to blame for the gas panic, they aren't helping much. And 3.99 is still too damned much to pay for a tank of gas.

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