Accuracy in Media

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MSNBC’s Hardball, hosted by Chris Matthews, held a town hall of Ohio voters with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) on 2020 issues for voters. Brown won re-election in the last election cycle in a state that voted for Trump in 2016.

Matthews praised Brown for winning re-election in a Trump state, which was met with applause in the audience, and asked how Brown managed to win re-election by a significant margin. Brown did not answer the question but then pivoted to talking about President Donald Trump.

“I think he’s been a terrible president who has betrayed workers,” Brown said. He also claimed Trump chose judges who prioritized corporations over consumers and workers.

However, Brown did not state his anti-Trump opinion almost a year ago while running for re-election. A Bloomberg article published in October 2018 specifically pointed out Brown’s support for Trump’s trade policy. The article, entitled, “The Liberal Democrat Who Backs Trump’s Trade War,” highlighted Brown’s support for Trump’s tariffs trade policy.

The article said, “No one would mistake Sherrod Brown for a Donald Trump supporter. Yet one of the most solidly liberal Democrats in the U.S. Senate is lining up behind the president on trade in his bid for a third term in Ohio, a state critical both in this year’s congressional elections and the 2020 presidential contest.”

Bloomberg pointed out that this “is unusual for a Democrat,” and many of the Democratic Party candidates leading up to the 2018 midterm elections took up anti-tariff views rather than Brown’s and Trump’s pro-tariff views.

The article explained Brown’s support of Trump’s tariffs policy, “Brown has been open about supporting Trump on trade and said he’s just following the same stance he has his whole career. He’s worked closely with the White House on a renegotiated Nafta and even blocked a bipartisan effort to derail Trump’s power to impose tariffs.”

Yet for Chris Matthews and MSNBC to not push back on Brown’s statement that he felt Trump is a “terrible president who has betrayed workers” is misleading at best, given Brown’s support for Trump on trade policy.

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