Accuracy in Media

The New York Times showed clear bias in its reporting about Chinese trade talks, painting Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow as somehow trying to obstruct his boss and omitting key facts about U.S.-Chinese trade.

“Larry Kudlow Breaks With Trump, Saying ‘Both Sides Will Pay’ in Trade War With China,” the Times reported, claiming that Kudlow as “contradicting” President Trump and that “Mr. Kudlow’s acknowledgment was merely a recognition of Economics 101. But it flew in the face of one of the president’s favorite arguments: that trade wars are easy to win, and that the pain falls disproportionately on America’s trading partners, which he accuses of having exploited the United States for years through predatory trade practices.”

The Times failed to provide important context about the size and scope of Chinese trade flowing from both sides, a fact that is not lost on either the president or Kudlow. According to World Bank data, China’s economy overall is 19.8 percent exports, while just 12.1 percent of the U.S. economy is exports. As a percentage of overall GDP, Chinese trade to the United States is a much bigger proportion of its economy. Chinese imports from the United States were $179.3 billion in 2018, according to the U.S. Trad Representative, while exports to the United States were $557.9 billion. China’s economy is estimated at $12.238 trillion while the United States’ GDP is $19.485 trillion, according to the World Bank.

Beyond China and export debates, the Times also couldn’t resist widening their shot at the Trump administration, portraying it as fractured and disorganized.

“The daylight between Mr. Kudlow and his boss on tariffs is not unusual in this administration,” the Times opined–in a piece marketed as straight reporting. “There are also fissures between the president and his national security team on how to deal with adversaries like Iran and North Korea. But the resulting muddle in the administration’s messages has fueled criticism from former officials that this White House does not have a coherent plan for dealing with China.”

In an article supposed to be analyzing the Trump administration’s internal dynamics, the Times also quoted a non-Trump official speaking publicly on a TV show.

“‘The Chinese have an advantage because they have a strategy and we don’t,’ Robert M. Gates, who served as defense secretary to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said Sunday on the CBS News program ‘Face the Nation,’” the Times wrote.

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