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Did LA Gas Station Give ABC News an Assist?

It was the gas-prices-are-rising report heard around the blogosphere. Last night, when World News reporter Cecilia Vega (pictured) beamed in from downtown Los Angeles to frame her pre-taped story, the electronic gas station sign visible in the background was switched, live, from a regular unleaded price display of $4.99/gallon to $5.09/gallon.

An ABC News source told our sister blog TV Newser that Vega and her production crew had nothing to do with this convenient visual reinforcement; a statement borne out by the way Vega and anchor Diane Sawyer reacted on-air.

However, this morning on the Web page for the ABC News report, there is this comment from Kevin:

An employee working at the station has come out and said in a local radio interview the change in the price on the board was deliberately staged… They even blinked the “9″ in the last digit during the story as a signal to let them know the dog-and-pony show was about to take place.

FishbowlLA is trying to track down the local radio interview mentioned and will update this item if-when we do. In the meantime, we tend to believe Kevin. While ABC News may have had nothing to do with the blink-bulletin, it seems logical that the gas station folks decided–for whatever reason–to flip the digital sign control switch after being asked by ABC for permission to report from the location.

Equally intriguing, to us: Vega said that for every $50 spent at the pumps, station owners reap one dollar of operating profit. E.g., a credit-card like margin of two percent.

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