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Less than 48 hours after the political press unleashed collective convulsions about the apocalyptic prospects facing the Democratic Party in the wake of two statewide elections last week, a wave of good news has scrambled the media’s preferred storyline.
Addicted to “Biden crisis” reporting since August, and often bending common sense in order to adhere to the Dems in Disarray narrative, the Beltway media now face a conundrum. Do they stick with their GOP-friendly script about an ineffectual president in free fall? Or do they follow the facts and report on Biden’s increasingly impressive list of accomplishments and a runaway U.S. economy that’s flourishing?
Three events unraveled the Biden Doomsday narrative on Friday. A white-hot jobs report not only counted more than 530,000 new jobs created in the month of October, but the Labor Department revised its estimates for September and August and confirmed an additional 235,000 positions were created — or 766,000 U.S. jobs we didn’t know about until Friday. That shocker naturally sent to the Dow Jones upward, ending the day at yet another all-time high under Biden, 36,327. Since he was elected last year, the stock market is up a jaw-dropping 40 percent, and has created $14 trillion in new wealth.
Then as the clock ticked down Friday night, Democrats passed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, the largest transportation package in U.S. history. The sprawling and historic legislation will produce hundreds of thousands of union jobs, transform the nation’s transportation system and represents the largest passenger rail, roads and bridges investment in 70 years.
All of this while the number of U.S. Covid deaths continue to plummet, the vaccination rate climbs, including among children, and Pfizer just announced a new pill — Paxlovid — that cuts the risk of hospitalization or death for Covid patients by nearly 90 percent. “The end of the pandemic is now in clear view, and secure,” says Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner.
Combined, the three Friday wins produced the type of day most sitting presidents dream about. They also came amidst a premature funeral procession, eagerly sponsored by the media, which featured an avalanche of doomsday pronouncements following disappointing Democratic election showings in Virginia and New Jersey on Tuesday. (See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
How reluctant was the press to sing Biden’s praise on Friday? Both “ABC World News Tonight” and “NBC Nightly News” ignored the stunning October jobs report. “Nightly News” though, did find time to report on Biden’s “plummeting” approval rating Friday night.
In the middle of the afternoon on Friday, news consumers visiting WashingtonPost.com had to scroll down past 75 different stories and links before they found the first mention of the blockbuster jobs report. Ironically, at the top of the Post site Friday afternoon was a column about how the White House is having trouble spreading good news about the economy. Over at CNN.com, readers at the “US” homepage had to scroll past 70 stories before seeing the first jobs headline.
Saturday’s front page of the New York Times announced the passage of the infrastructure bill, but stressed in the headline that Democrats were still “haggling” over the Build Back Better social spending bill. Just in case readers didn’t pick up on the pessimistic framing, the Times ran an accompanying report about how America feels “gloomy” under Biden.
Sunday’s Washington Post reported on how Biden “finally” had some good news to tout. But most of the Post article retraced how difficult it had been for Biden to get the infrastructure bill passed, while detailing Biden’s “yelling has become more frequent and directed at a wider audience of staff.” Imagine what the Post coverage would have looked like if the infrastructure bill had been voted down.
This is what happens when the press becomes wed to a gotcha storyline. The doomsday narrative took hold in August when the U.S. troop pullout in Afghanistan exploded into a weeks-long story, and was covered almost universally as a cataclysmic failure, even though the Biden administration not only ended the Forever War for America, but oversaw the largest, most efficient wartime evacuation in history, spiriting 120,000 Afghans out of the country. Nonetheless, the press was sure it was the White House’s “summer from hell” and that Biden was in a political “free fall.”
The media’s obsession with dinging Biden has produced some truly regrettable journalism. CNN’s infamous milk report last week was among the worst.
Shining a light on the legitimate topic of inflation and how it’s hurting families at the grocery checkout, CNN for some reason decided to feature a very large family with seven children that buys an astonishing 12 gallons of milk a week to highlight how inflation hits the pocketbook. The piece was clearly framed as a Biden hit job and felt more like GOP propaganda than straight news reporting. When critics pointed out the absurdity of the premise (each family member drinks 1.5 gallons of milk each week?), the CNN reporter who did the piece went on Twitter to denounce “assholes” who questioned it.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) noted that if the family has seven children that means they’re likely receiving $2,100 per-month in child tax credits, which is helping with the milk purchases. CNN anchor Brianna Keilar confirmed that the family receives generous support from the government. Yet for some reason that information, which reflected well on the Biden administration, wasn’t included in the CNN report, which reflected poorly on the Biden administration.
The media love their Biden Doomsday narrative. But the facts on the ground are changing and the press needs to catch up.
🗞 GOOD STUFF:
This definitely isn’t “good,” but I want to highlight nonetheless, because it dovetails so closely with the oversized role the press plays in portraying Biden as a failure.
This was a Times front-page piece from yesterday about how the economy is by all accounts on fire, but consumers and voters think it’s floundering. What’s so astonishing is nowhere in the piece does the Times hint that the media’s misleading, doomsday coverage of the economy might be one reason why Americans have a skewed vision of the economy under Biden.
The reasons seem to be tied to the psychology of inflation and the ways people assess their economic well-being — as well as the uneven effects that rising prices and shortages have on different families. It may well be shaped by the psychological scars of the pandemic, one manifestation of this being an era of exhaustion.
Regardless of the exact causes, after decades in which the availability of jobs (or lack thereof) drove economic sentiment, inflation now appears to have become the more powerful force.
⚖️ FUN STUFF — BECAUSE WE ALL NEED A BREAK
Willie Nile, “The Justice Bell (For John Lewis)”
It’s a beautiful new hymn and remembrance of a civil rights icon, from New York City troubadour Willie Nile.
He recently recalled the time he got to meet his hero, Lewis: “We had a moment together, I got to thank him in all sincerity for all that he's done for this country and for justice and for people, and he was very kind in response. Then, I got to see him speak for about 10 minutes and I was about five feet away. It was a mountain top of my life."
🎙 Click here to listen to the music that’s been featured on PRESS RUN, via a Spotify playlist.
Click here to listen via Apple Music.