Mother Jones, MSNBC, The Nation and Salon are among the mainstream media outlets that often do an excellent job debunking the lies and distortions that come from Fox News, Newsmax TV, Breitbart News and other right-wing media outlets. But there are other times when mainstream media outlets echo false claims that come from the far right. Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin, in her March 13 column, cites Fox News’ claims blaming President Joe Biden for rising gas prices as a false narrative that mainstream media outlets have picked up when they should know better.
“It’s increasingly obvious to those outside the right-wing bubble that the ‘news’ side of Fox often serves as a content provider for the MAGA propaganda machine,” Rubin explains. “But the rest of the White House press corps and cable TV news outlets also habitually repeat GOP talking points on energy, even as reliable print media debunks them.”
Rubin continues, “Headlines such as ‘GOP Blames Biden for Gas Prices After Pushing For Russian Oil Ban’ on ABC News’ website serve to amplify false claims. Politico’s ‘Biden Blames Putin for Inflation. GOP Blames Biden’ might be the perfect distillation of bothsidesism. And NBC’s ‘Republicans Cheer Russian Oil Ban snd Jeer Biden For Rising Gas Prices’ epitomizes coverage that treats the topic as a contest of partisan claims.”
The Post columnist, herself a Never Trump conservative who has voted Republican in many presidential elections but supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020, cites the New York Times as an outlet that has debunked the false claim that Biden’s policies are to blame for rising gas prices in the United States.
“The pandemic brought the economy to a halt, reduced energy demand and slowed production; when demand popped back, supply was low and prices increased,” Rubin explains. “Moreover, the (Biden) Administration has not reduced domestic production since the Trump Administration…. As for the (Biden) Administration’s cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, another go-to GOP attack, our imports from Canada increased 70% without it…. So, if GOP talking points are factually incorrect, why does the White House press corps repeat them, giving them the air of legitimacy?”
Rubin elaborates, “It is part of a familiar pattern in which mainstream TV reporters and White House press equalize the two political parties. Republicans say X; the White House says Y. That is the prevalent notion of ‘balance’ and being tough on an administration, even though the current one does not routinely lie the way its predecessor did. When facts are verifiable, the media’s pretense of balance is misleading.”
Reprinted with permission from Alternet