amnesty, Bloomberg.com, deportation, Donald Trump, Gang of 8, Hillary Clinton, homophobia, illegal immigrants, Im-Politic, immigration reform, Jobs, John McCain, John Micklethwait, Labor Force Participation Rate, labor markets, LGBT, living standards, Mainstream Media, Mark Zandi, Max Ehrenfreund, media, media bias, part-time, productivity, The Washington Post, Vladimir Putin, wages
I sure hope all you RealityChek readers have had a great Labor Day weekend. Unless it was a complete disaster, it had to be better than the last few days’ performance just registered by the Mainstream Media.
On Sunday, I reported on a truly contemptible smear of white working-class Americans delivered by Time magazine uber-pundit Joe Klein. But published this weekend along with this display of mass character assassination was a swipe at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that can only be reasonably interpreted as homophobia, and an example of outright ignorance of the basic economic concept of productivity, and of recent U.S. labor market trends. For good measure, this second piece left out information on its main source that strongly suggests major political bias.
The homophobia was delivered courtesy of no less than John Micklethwait, the current Editor-in-chief at Bloomberg.com who previously held this post at The Economist. Think I’m exaggerating? See for yourself. In the course of an otherwise informative interview with Vladimir Putin, Micklethwait pressed the Russian president in this way for his views of Trump and his Democratic counterpart, Hillary Clinton:
“[Y]ou are really telling me that if you have a choice between a woman, who you think may have been trying to get rid of you, and a man, who seems to have this great sort of affection for you, almost sort of bordering on the homoerotic, you are really going to go for, you are not going to make a decision between those two, because one of them would seem to be a lot more favorable towards you?”
I had to go over this passage several times before convincing myself that I’d actually read it correctly. Even giving Micklethwait’s language the most charitable interpretation it deserves – that the journalist meant it simply as a joke – what exactly distinguishes it from the kind of sniggering locker-room-level humor that’s now recognized as demeaning and hurtful? Therefore, is it remotely plausible to doubt that Micklethwait himself believes that such emotions are fundamentally shameful, and that his attribution of such feelings toward Trump reveal a positively vicious bias against the maverick politician?
Here’s hoping that gay activist organizations come down hard on Micklethwait’s bigotry – and insist that his resignation is needed to guarantee the integrity of Bloomberg’s coverage of both American politics and LGBT issues.
The second major media stumble came in a Saturday Washington Post Wonkblog item spotlighting a claim that Trump’s immigration policies “could put Americans out of work.”
That’s of course an entirely valid and important possibility to report on, but author Max Ehrenfreund (and his editors) failed to fulfill a fundamental journalistic obligation by omitting from his article the unmistakable anti-Trump bias of Mark Zandi, the economist who came up with this finding. Yes, the piece mentioned that Zandi is a former aide to Arizona Republican Senator John McCain. But what it didn’t tell you is that McCain was a charter member of the “Gang of 8” – the bipartisan group of Senators that several years ago launched a powerful push for an amnesty-focused immigration reform bill. Nor did Ehrenfreund mention that Zandi has also contributed to Clinton’s presidential campaign – which has been pushing immigration reform proposals even more indulgent than the Gang’s.
As for the Zandi-Ehrenfreund case that Trump’s immigration policies would backfire powerfully on the U.S. economy, it could not have been more ignorant or incoherent economically. As Ehrenfreund explained it, “deporting [millions of] undocumented immigrants would increase costs for employers, because they would have to compete for the workers remaining in the United States, causing wages to rise.”
Full stop: Amnesty supporters have maintained for years that most illegals are simply filling “jobs that Americans won’t do.” Now they’re saying that if a the supply of American labor shrank due to deportation, increasing wages would summon forth replacements who are either native-born or legally residing in the country? Do tell! Ehrenfreund and Zandi might also have mentioned that robust wage increases have been one of the most conspicuously absent developments during the weak current U.S. recovery since it technically began some seven years ago.
Just as strange was the claim that “Already, the labor force has been shrinking as older workers retire, and the unemployment rate is under 5 percent, which suggests relatively few workers are looking for jobs.” Don’t Ehrenfreund and Zandi know that much of this shrinkage has taken place among working age women and especially men? Or that the number of Americans working part-time involuntarily still remains above pre-recession levels? In other words, there’s an enormous population in the United States that would bid for better-paying jobs.
Perhaps strangest of all is the Zandi-Ehrenfreund contention that “To compensate, businesses would have to increase prices. Some firms would lose customers and could be forced out of business. ‘Asking these folks to leave is going to put a hole in the economy that’s going to cost jobs,’ Zandi said. ‘It’s going to cost the jobs of American citizens.'”
That is, Zandi and Ehrenfreund have either omitted or ruled out the possibility that many companies will eventually respond instead by either automating and/or by otherwise improving their efficiency in ways that boost their productivity – thereby laying the ground for sustainable prosperity and living standard increases going forward. These two pessimists might believe that this venerable maxim of economics no longer holds, and that “this time it will be different.” But maybe they could do readers the courtesy of explaining why?
This Washington Post article’s descent into fakeonomics hardly stops here. But the above reasoning should be enough to establish its silliness – and to prompt the question if comparably doofy pro-Trump studies would ever see the light of day in the paper.
I closed my last post by asking why recent polls show Americans’ confidence in the media has stayed even in the low double-digits on a percentage scale. These Bloomberg and Washington Post pieces don’t merit even single-digit approval.