Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media’s failure to provide historical context around Gary Cohn’s departure from the White House, reportedly on the issue of trade tariffs, proves yet again that in many ways the media is the opposition party against President Trump that seeks to portray him as an uncontrollable, apocalyptic figure.

Ironically, the mainstream media has often bashed Cohn, along with other wealthy, successful advisers and cabinet members, including many with Wall Street backgrounds like Cohn because they were financially successful. But now that Cohn is departing, he is praised by FiveThirtyEight and other outlets as one of the “adults in the room”

FiveThirtyEight posited that “Trump is breaking with GOP orthodoxy in a big way,” yet the author failed to mention that former President George W. Bush, the most recent GOP president, also imposed steel tariffs in March 2002 and lifted them in December 2003.

FiveThirtyEight also failed to mention other Republican economic proposals deviating from “GOP orthodoxy” such as Richard Nixon’s price controls of the 1970s.

The New York Times wrote that “Cohn’s Departure Widens Policy Rift Between Party and President,” and “Republicans Had Worries About Trump. His Tariff Plan Reminds Them Why.”

But the Times fails to mention in describing House Speaker Paul Ryan’s pushback against the proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum–a relatively minor sliver of the economy with “minimal” inflationary effects, according to Moody’s Investors Service (my former employer) — the Speaker himself previously supported an expansive “Border Adjustment Tax (BAT).” The BAT proposal would be or a defacto universal tariff that the Club For Growth’s Andy Roth called “a $5.6 trillion tax hike on consumers,” e.g. an economic proposal with much greater impact affecting a much larger swath of the economy.

The Times reported: “Referring to any trade restrictions, Mr. Ryan said that Republicans simply ‘want to make sure that it’s done in a prudent way that’s more surgical, so we can limit unintended consequences.’”

Regardless of the policy implications of tariff proposals, the Times’ reporting failed to show that Trump’s proposal is consistent with Ryan’s criteria.

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