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Press: Breaking news: Media's frame is helping Trump

The Hill logo The Hill 12/14/2021 Bill Press, opinion contributor
Press: Breaking news: Media's frame is helping Trump © GETTY IMAGES Press: Breaking news: Media's frame is helping Trump

It's an old joke, but still carries a punch. Back in biblical days, the Pharisees were so sick and tired of hearing about how great Jesus was that they decided to start their own newspaper to tell their side of the story. One day, word spread that Jesus actually walked on water, whereupon the Pharisees rushed out a special edition with the headline: "Jesus Can't Swim."

Remind you of Joe Biden? It should. He's getting the same treatment today. Not just from the right-wing media, from the mainstream media as well -The New York Times, The Washington Post, CBS, NBC, ABC - who can't bring themselves to give Biden credit for anything, no matter how much he accomplishes.

The irony is that the only one whining about the media today is Donald Trump. He was still at it last week, complaining that networks won't give him air time to debate his totally debunked theory that the 2020 election was stolen from him. He complains too much. Even a casual glance shows that today's media coverage is actually helpful to Trump and harmful to Biden.

First, check any major news outlet. The narrative about Biden's presidency could not be more negative. The country's in total chaos. The economy's floundering, inflation's out of control, supply-chain delays are ruining Christmas shopping, COVID-19's worse than ever, Biden's failed to deliver on any major legislation, his poll numbers have tanked, Democrats have already lost both the House and Senate, and it's only a matter of time before Donald Trump's back in the Oval Office. It's all gloom and doom. No wonder people are depressed!


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Except that's not what's actually going on. Yes, there are problems. Inflation's at least a temporary problem. The delta variant's spawned a whole new wave of new COVID-19 cases. Infighting among congressional Democrats has hobbled Biden's efforts to pass his legislative agenda.

But here's what the media is not telling you: The Biden administration has delivered the fastest economic recovery in American history. The unemployment rate is now at 4.2 percent. The number of Americans filing unemployment benefits for the first time fell last week to a 50-year low. A CNBC economic survey found that, despite inflation, Americans plan to spend 13 percent more this holiday season than last.

And, despite Democratic in-fighting and all-out Republican opposition, in 11 months Biden has signed a $1.9 COVID-19 relief bill and a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the largest public works investment since President Eisenhower created the Interstate Highway System in 1956. And, whether it happens in December or January, he's on the verge of delivering on the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill, the nation's biggest social programs investment since Medicare. All good news you'd never know from reading or watching the morning news.

Meanwhile, the media's not only ignoring Biden's accomplishments, it continues to paint Donald Trump as a pitiful poor loser, complaining about the last election. Which he's not. Trump's far worse and more dangerous than that. He's today's Robert E. Lee. He's an active seditionist out to destroy our democracy by undermining faith in the electoral process, endorsing candidates and empowering state officials who vow to overthrow the will of the people. It's the media's duty to tell the truth and expose and condemn Trump as such, instead of portraying him as just another failed, disgruntled politician.

Don't underestimate the power of the media. If America's nightmare happens and Donald Trump is reelected in 2024, blame it on the way the media's treating him and Joe Biden today.

Press is host of "The Bill Press Pod." He is author of "From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire."

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