Those of us who reluctantly watch television news programs, despite their corporate undertones, know that the natural gas lobby spends a pretty penny to advertise their product. That’s expected, but it was disconcerting to see product placement wend its way into an important discussion of foreign policy.
Meet the Press host David Gregory had a number of guests on his show last Sunday to discuss the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. Among them was Congressman Peter King (R – NY), who serves on the House Homeland Security committee and also happens to get a ton of campaign donations from energy lobbyists, including Exxon-Mobil. Here’s the transcript excerpt:
DAVID GREGORY: Let me bring in Congressman Peter King who’s on the Homeland Security Committee in the House, of course. I want to get to the questions of terrorism in this Malaysian flight, Congressman. But I’m still not getting an answer from the administration on what the best offense is, at this point, against Russia to stop him in his tracks, “him” because President Putin. He’s already crossed the line. There are people in the region worried about him doing more. And he may just ultimately annex, he may take Crimea back into Russia. What does the U.S. do about it?
REP. PETER KING: I think we have to make it clear there will be firm sanctions. I think we should freeze the assets of any of the Russian oligarchs in this country, people close to Putin. We have to increase military support for the Baltic states, increase military support for Poland and Hungary, and make it absolutely clear that these sanctions are going to be enforced. And we have to make sure the allies are working together. We have to make tough, ironclad sanctions on Russia. There’s no silver bullet. We have to sustain it and keep it going. I think the first thing to hit home will be to freeze the assets of Russian oligarchs and top Russians in this country and throughout the western world.
DAVID GREGORY: Is our energy policy our best offense here? Do we say to Europe, “Look, we’re going to lift some of the restrictions on exporting natural gas. We want to become a bigger partner to you, in terms of where you get your natural gas, instead of Russia”? Do you think that’s how to apply pressure on Putin?
REP. PETER KING: David, that has to be an integral part of it. We have to increase exports of liquefied natural gas. These countries, like England and others, Germany, cannot be forced to rely on Russia for the LNG they get. The natural gas has to be– we have enough to supply so many countries in the world. And we should right now start lifting restrictions. We should begin the exporting as quickly as we possibly can. And, again, that’s not going to work in the short term, but it can relieve some of the pressure. And it can help these countries set their long-term policy to realize they are not going to be bound to Russia for the LNG, or the natural gas.
Without question, lifting restrictions on American exports of natural gas to Europe would directly benefit the corporations drilling in states across the country, including Pennsylvania.
Do you see this softball interview as a trademark David Gregory maneuver, or have Gregory and NBC crossed a whole new line, by letting their advertising revenues get in the way of journalism on important foreign policy decisions?