On Wisconsin Jobs, Biden Won And Trump Lost -- So Fox Whines About 'Trolling'

On Wisconsin Jobs, Biden Won And Trump Lost -- So Fox Whines About 'Trolling'

President Joe Biden announcing major new Microsoft hub in Wisconsin on May 8, 2024

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden traveled to Wisconsin on Wednesday to announce a new multibillion-dollar project by Microsoft, which stands in contrast to a notorious failure of local economic development in the state during the Trump administration. In response, Fox News’ purported “straight news” coverage accused Biden of “trying to troll” the public and otherwise dismissed the new project.

Biden traveled to Racine County to tout Microsoft’s $3.3 billion investment in a data center, which builds on other university partnerships and business projects the company has in the state. Notably, the data center will be constructed on land that was previously allocated for a factory to be built by Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, in a deal pushed in 2017 by then-President Donald Trump and then-Gov. Scott Walker (R).

“Foxconn turned out to be just that,” Biden said Wednesday. “A con.”

The Vergereported in 2020 on the colossal failure of the Foxconn project. Though state and local governments spent at least $400 million on land and infrastructure, the factory never went into operation. And, far short of the 13,000 jobs that were promised, the company had hired fewer than 300 people by the end of 2019 and made a failed attempt to fill out its payrolls enough to qualify for state tax subsidies.

On the May 8 edition of MSNBC’s All In, host Chris Hayes said the Foxconn deal — along with many other Trump promises about saving jobs, reviving American manufacturing, or building important infrastructure — was “a big, glitzy announcement that turns into nothing.”

Hayes also revisited Trump’s remarks at a 2018 groundbreaking event in Racine County, in which he claimed the factory would be “the eighth wonder of the world.”

In Fox News’ telling, however, it was Biden’s event, rather than Trump’s failed promises on the Foxconn deal, that was politically suspect, and a cover-up for a supposedly failing economy to boot. (The American economy is objectively strong, despite the right-wing smear campaign to convince the public otherwise.)

  • Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner said people in Racine should ask the president why his economic policy “doesn’t … work for us, the American people.” “If anybody would like to raise their hand there — you don’t need to be a reporter, just be a citizen who is curious,” Faulkner said. “Mr. President, why doesn’t your economic policy work for us, the American people? Why is it not working for millions of people? And do you know when you wipe away the tax breaks you’re gonna hurt middle-class Americans too?” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 5/8/24]
  • Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich claimed that Biden “turned to a new strategy of trying to troll voters” by touting the new data center at the site of the failed Foxconn project: “Is that what he’s left with, to just troll Trump?” Fox News anchor John Roberts added that the Microsoft AI center is “scheduled to be built — we’ll see if they actually break ground on it. We’ll find out soon.” Roberts then dismissed Biden’s remarks on job creation, saying, “Take off the rose-colored aviators” and changing the subject to attack Biden on the issue of inflation. [Fox News, America Reports, 5/8/24]
  • Fox Business host and former Trump administration economic adviser Larry Kudlow accused Biden of “trying to buy votes” while defending Trump’s failure on the Foxconn project. “And I might add, the Trump years, the money was allocated to Foxconn, but the foreign investor pulled out so it never got done,” Kudlow said. “So, such is life, nothing you can do about that.” (Right-wing commentators often accuse Democrats of “buying votes” through various government programs, even as people like Kudlow defend economic interventions by Republican administrations regardless of whether they succeeded or failed.) [Fox Business, The Big Money Show, 5/8/24; Media Matters, 9/29/15, 4/9/24]
  • Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

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