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Media Bias in One Meme

Summary:
By: Robert Aro There is a circulating meme illustrating the mainstream media bias towards the current wave of (price) inflation. Inflation is first and foremost an economic issue. When it comes to unilaterally increasing the prices of all goods and services, and creating asset bubbles, increasing the money supply is the best way to achieve this. Yet the media shows little understanding here. Links to the articles are included below: Other than the dates of the four articles not being in chronological order, they are all real news stories published this year. The Washington Post article positions the inflation narrative as a partisan issue, referring to the Republican party: They’re citing the specter of “Bidenflation” to derail the progressive agenda. When inflation is considered

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By: Robert Aro

There is a circulating meme illustrating the mainstream media bias towards the current wave of (price) inflation. Inflation is first and foremost an economic issue. When it comes to unilaterally increasing the prices of all goods and services, and creating asset bubbles, increasing the money supply is the best way to achieve this. Yet the media shows little understanding here. Links to the articles are included below:

Other than the dates of the four articles not being in chronological order, they are all real news stories published this year.

The Washington Post article positions the inflation narrative as a partisan issue, referring to the Republican party:

They’re citing the specter of “Bidenflation” to derail the progressive agenda.

When inflation is considered from an Austrian economic standpoint, no targeted amount of annual inflation is deemed necessary, no matter which political party is in power. The word Bidenflation could easily have been Trumpflation if Trump presided over the same inflationist policies. Currency debasement might mean one has more money in their pocket. But if that money buys less, it can hardly be called a sound economic policy.

The Forbes article uses quotes, stats and charts all geared towards telling us to not worry about inflation, saying:

The 2021 Inflation Scare is another in a series of false alarms going back several decades. It may not quite qualify as Fake News, but it is close.

Calling concerns over inflation as fake news also doesn’t qualify as an economic argument. Looking back several months later, the article turned out to be a bad prediction and was hardly informative.

CNBC didn’t make as bold of a prediction about inflation, but misunderstands it, making it sound like inflation is something the Fed controls at the push of a button:   

The Fed likes to keep inflation around 2% but said it is willing to tolerate even higher readings if the longer-term average stays around that level and the economy has not yet achieved full and inclusive employment.

Citing the arbitrary 2% inflation target is one thing, but the second half of the quote delivers a barrage of talking points, referring to both inclusivity and the dual mandate trade-off (of inflation and unemployment). Strange because the St. Louis Fed noted there is no correlation between the two, calling it a: Cloud of Points.

The pinnacle of absurdity is achieved by MSNBC. The quote from the meme is taken from a tweet made for the article: How Covid became the unlikely hero of our inflation crisis.

FOX News covered the story, saying:

Critics blasted the column after MSNBC shared it on Twitter writing “Why the inflation we’re seeing now is a good thing.”

Understandably, MSNBC went on damage control, deleting the tweet and replacing it with this:

Despite the original tweet being deleted, the article offers an incredible display of mental gymnastics:

Even though millions of Americans lost their jobs, enhanced unemployment benefits and stimulus payments left many of them better off, not worse. And the stock market, after initially falling, boomed.

Followed by:

The result of all this was that Americans ended 2020 $13.5 trillion richer than they were at the beginning of the year. Most of that wealth increase went, of course, to the already wealthy. But lower-income households benefited, too.

It’s difficult to argue with someone who claims Covid is the unsung hero, or that Americans are better because of it. And even though MSNBC  has since scrubbed the tweet from existence, its memory will continue to live on in cyberspace through a clown meme.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media continues to show lack of a basic understanding with the cause and effects of monetary expansion, spinning inflation to meet its narrative using fallacies or economic dogma. The meme is more clever than kitsch, but who are the real clowns? Or is the entire State apparatus just one big circus at this point?

Is the problem the Federal Reserve who puts these ideas in the minds of the people? Or is it the mainstream news outlets that employ authors who know very little about economics? The Fed says one thing. The media questions nothing. And mainstream academia stays silent on everything. Congress and Wall Street are all that’s left and they are laughing all the way to the bank.

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The Mises Institute, founded in 1982, teaches the scholarship of Austrian economics, freedom, and peace. The liberal intellectual tradition of Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) and Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) guides us. Accordingly, we seek a profound and radical shift in the intellectual climate: away from statism and toward a private property order.

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