Throughout the fall, it’s been easy for a thinking person to train media ire on the right-wing apparatus throwing gas on the flames of Donald Trump’s 2018 racist, immigrant-hating, midterm election strategy. Our own writers have drawn attention to the abundant low-hanging fruit we can’t chuck at these blatant, cynical lies of journalism, lest we get shot in the back by the President’s unnecessarily deployed border troops:
These are just a few of the highlights. Though Fox News and the many online and social media supporters who buttress this despotic, morality-free President deserve our anger and disgust, I’m finding this week a different sort of media and punditry challenge. In forcing myself to look away from shiny objects such as Trump’s outrageous pretensions toward revoking Constitutionally-enshrined birthright citizenship, and conservative media’s predictable, Pavlovian response, I’m not finding left-of center Trumpian election coverage much more credible. In this case, the irresponsible reporting places the administration’s perceived successes in a dangerous vacuum that ignores very recent history.
This is the kind of both siderism that works against an educated electorate. And with a mere three days to go before the critical 2018 midterm elections, we should expect more from journalists whose first (and really, only) duty is to inform. I’m not criticizing a right-wing shingle, or even one commonly viewed as centrist and non-partisan. In this case I speak of a piece today in that infamous liberal rag, The New York Times.
The article is bylined by writers Astead W. Herndon and Sydney Ember and the headline itself makes the blood boil: Republicans Have a Humming Economy to Tout, but Trump Rhetoric Muddies the Message. They open the piece as follows:
“In normal political times, a glowing report on the nation’s economy just before Election Day would be a gift to the party in power and a uniform talking point for its candidates. But entering the final weekend before Tuesday’s midterm vote, President Trump’s blistering message of nativist fear has become the dominant theme of the campaign’s last days, threatening to overshadow the good economic news.”
While it’s gratifying to see the authors call-out the “nativist fear” mongering of Trump’s campaign swing in support of Republican candidates across the country, it’s hard not to flinch at the part about “the glowing report on the nation’s economy.” As if that is any credit to the current POTUS or his policies. It’s particularly troubling to read this during the same week that President Obama, who in hard fact pulled the American economy out of a deep ditch in 2008 and placed it on a sustainable path Trump has not had enough time to fully destroy, is out there laboring.
44 is leveraging his earned leadership capital and personal charisma to articulate remarkable, abundant policy and humanitarian differences which divide 2018’s Democratic and Republican candidates. The Trump administration and his conservative sycophants have done all they can to erase the forward cultural and economic movement, the calls to basic decency, championed by President Obama. It’s galling when supposedly credible media sources assist that effort.
Deeper into their Times article, Herdon and Ember demonstrate an awareness that Republican ownership claims to a relatively stable economy are on a shaky foundation:
“One problem for Republicans trying to extol the economy is that the tax cuts did not turn out to be the political windfall they envisioned. Polls showed the tax breaks enjoyed only middling popularity as many Americans came to see them as a gift to the richest Americans that did little to address the problem of wage stagnation.”
Yes, that’s right. And the damned tax cuts added almost $2 trillion to our national debt, which Republicans once claimed would be economic ruin of us all. But this was back when the deficit was smaller, and shrinking under the leadership of a MUSLIM KENYAN SOCIALIST! In the service of Making America Great (and White) again, no expense shall be spared. No ROI-free military expenditure is too great.
Recent stock market losses, and another burgeoning mortgage lending crisis signify that the American economy is beginning to falter under the erratic, ignorant leadership of Donald Trump. It turns out that trade wars are, after all, not very easy to win. Trump’s white nationalist rhetoric on the campaign trail isn’t obfuscating his fiscal success. What’s being fatuously ignored by the New York Times and other media outlets desperately seeking editorial balance is that the Republican Party is speedily rolling back the hard-won economic gains of the Obama administration. Trumpists can’t run on a healthy economy because they did not build what’s left of this.