Accuracy in Media

In a new piece, Esquire asks Republicans, “What would you do about inflation?”, while not asking the same question of any Democrats at all.

That is, the people currently in power don’t have to answer for what their being in power has caused. We can see this in the headline: “Republicans Claim They’ll Fix Inflation. We Asked 8 GOP Senate Candidates How.” So, why aren’t any Democrats asked that same question?

The subhead gets, to those who are economically informed, worse: “Just four answered — and none of their solutions will make much of a difference for years.” That’s the problem with inflation: Once it becomes established, it takes some years to get rid of it. This is not, by the way, anything even remotely controversial among economists. The reason we shouldn’t allow inflation to occur is that it takes years to get rid of it.

In the Esquire explanations of why the Republican ideas would not work, we get this about the Keystone pipeline: “In total, it would have transported up to 830,000 barrels a day, less than 1% of daily global consumption. Prices went from $70 a barrel in Fall 2021 to more than $100 for much of 2022, so it’s not clear how XL would have made the difference at the pump.”

They’re comparing the flow of oil to American refineries with the global market for oil. Further, they’re ignoring how markets work. Prices are set at the margin – that last 1% is exactly what produces both the local and global price for anything, not just oil. Again, this is not controversial economics, it’s textbook stuff.

 But the really annoying part of this? It is only Republicans who are asked here. And yet we see this: “As far as spending, the American Rescue Plan that Democrats passed in March 2021 added to inflation. The estimates vary: Some left economists put it at 1-2%—out of an 8.3% total year-on-year increase—while some conservative economists have put it as high as 3%. The bill was too big and likely pumped too much money into the economy too soon after the trillions in stimulus passed under Trump.”

So, it is true that highly partisan – this bill and then the very amusingly named Inflation Reduction Act were passed on party-line votes – laws have created this burst of inflation. But only those from the party against the inflation, against those bills that led to the inflation, are asked how they would solve it.

No Democrats are asked how they’d sort out the problems that Esquire has just insisted Democrats caused.

Esquire ranks at No. 124 for American news and media outlets. It gains some 29.3 million visits a month from that position. Of course, the title, from its magazine past, carries greater weight than that too.

Yes, we know this is a close election season. We know that Senate control is an issue. But the point of having an independent media is to inform, not to propagandize. Calling up all the Republicans to explain how they’d solve a problem caused by non-Republicans might be seen as bias. Especially when none of those non-Republicans are also asked how they’d solve the very problem they’ve caused.

That no Democrats are being asked how they’d reduce inflation they’ve caused is the bias here.




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