Accuracy in Media

Build Back Better bribes the media to like Democrats. That’s a fairly strong statement, but it seems supportable given what’s actually in the bill. 

CNN wrote a list of 10 things Americans might not know is in the Build Back Better bill. For example, there’s a $35 cap on insulin costs. Price caps really are not a good way to deal with problems, and insulin prices are a real U.S. problem. They’re very much higher than they are in Europe, for example. The reason is that the FDA regulates biosimilars – which is what modern insulins are – differently from Europe. That difference massively pushes up costs. This is also a problem that is already solved, the FDA is changing the insulin approval process.

That’s not the main problem in this listing, though. There’s a significant subsidy to local media in BBB. There’s a payroll tax credit that covers 50% of the costs of employing a “local journalist” for the first year, 30% thereafter. The program ends just after the next presidential election. 

The problem is obvious here. A partisan bill, one that if it passes will likely only get Democratic votes, subsidizes local news outlets. The money runs out right after the next election. Unless, of course, it is extended. How much of a thumb on the scales is this to skew political overage in Democrats’ favor over the next election cycle? 

Well, we can always hope that journalists would never allow their economic interests to sway their reporting, just as we know that they never allow their politics to do so.

Yes, that’s a joke. But this part of the bill really isn’t. One political party is not just insisting on subsidizing the press, it’s doing so on a straight party vote so that everyone knows who needs to win in order to keep the checks coming. This is flat-out bribery of those we expect to be speaking truth to power. 

Possibly worse is that it’s aimed only at small and local news outlets. We all know and discount – and complain about, obviously –  the political leanings of the TV stations and national newspapers. But the local city paper, the county one? These are exactly the places we expect to not find that national politics but they’re the people to be paid by this program.

Another way to put this is that your tax dollars are being used to pay the local paper to write nicely about Democrats.

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