How Media Outlets on the Right and Left Covered the Latest Inflation Numbers

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Prices rose 3.3 percent in May from a year earlier, according to data released Wednesday, a lower number than expected. Partisan media outlets covered that number very differently.

Conservative sites acknowledged there has been progress in the fight to bring down inflation. But they also used the announcement to criticize President Biden’s handling of the economy, saying the figure was too high to begin with.

Some liberal sites celebrated the news as a victory for Mr. Biden’s economic agenda.

Inflation is a key concern for Americans in this fall’s election, polling shows. And for most voters, their assessment of the economy mirrors the media landscape: Democrats tend to approve of Mr. Biden’s handling of the economy, while Republicans disapprove of his job on the issue.

Here’s how a sampling of outlets covered the news:

Conservative commentators and outlets have persistently blamed Mr. Biden’s policies for spurring high inflation, driving up the cost of everything from basic necessities to airline tickets. Like Republican lawmakers, conservative outlets have repeatedly referred to the increasing prices as “Bidenflation.”

Inflation reached a four-decade high of 9.1 percent in June 2022. The rate has since fallen considerably, but it remains higher than the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent.

A conservative site, The Daily Wire has been critical of Mr. Biden’s handling of the economy, running a four-part series looking at how “‘Bidenomics’ is eviscerating the American people.”

In an article with the headline “Joe Biden’s Fragile Economy,” the writer Jim Nelles said the promising inflation report, along with a booming stock market, showed an economy that was strong on the surface. But those numbers masked deeper problems, he said.

“The cumulative impact of inflation, combined with high interest rates, is putting the dream of home-ownership further out of reach for most young and working-class Americans,” Mr. Nelles wrote.

Reacting to Wednesday’s inflation report, The National Review, a conservative news site and magazine, published an article with the headline “3.3 Percent Is Not Good Enough.” The writer Dominic Pino argued that the Federal Reserve, which has raised interest rates to bring down inflation, must keep those rates where they are until inflation comes back down to 2 percent. His view stands in contrast to that of many progressives, who say inflation is now low enough for the Fed to cut interest rates, which are squeezing poor Americans.

“The Fed’s duty is to price stability and full employment, not to the financial sector, or to whiny politicians who also want rate cuts,” Mr. Pino wrote.

They have often blamed large corporations for inflation rates, which they say would have been high regardless of who was president because of supply chain issues and the geopolitical instability caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The American Prospect, a liberal site that has long pushed progressive economic policies, used a Wednesday article about the inflation report to highlight a different policy endeavor of Mr. Biden’s: his effort to go after unexpected “junk” fees added to the cost of things like hotel stays and ticket purchases. Mr. Biden has listed the push as a key pillar of his effort to bring down consumer prices.

Americans have been “feeling that they’re getting less and paying more and even being duped in the process,” wrote David Dayen, the site’s executive editor. The Biden administration’s focus on hidden fees was an example of Mr. Biden “speaking to this discontent.”

MeidasTouch, a liberal media network, celebrated Wednesday’s news in an article with the headline “Biden Economy Does Better Than Expected (Again).”

In the article, Aaron Parnas argued that the economy under Mr. Biden has “repeatedly defied all expectations,” pointing to strong job growth and easing inflation. He also said Mr. Biden had done a better job than former President Donald J. Trump, who most voters say they trust more on the economy.

“​​President Biden inherited an economy that was bleeding jobs due to the failures during the Trump administration,” Mr. Parnas wrote.



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