President Biden signs CHIPS and Science bill
President Biden signs the CHIPS and Science bill as Senator Cantwell looks on (White House photo)

Since pub­lish­ing the ini­tial results from its Biden v. Trump bat­tle­ground states polling project yes­ter­day, the polit­i­cal bureau at The New York Times has been busy writ­ing “reac­tion sto­ries” to its own pub­lic opin­ion research.

The lat­est of those is by reporters Maya King and Lisa Lerer, and it is titled: “As Black Vot­ers Drift to Trump, Biden’s Allies Say They Have Work to Do,” with this sub­head: “A New York Times/Siena Col­lege poll paint­ed a wor­ri­some pic­ture of the president’s stand­ing with a cru­cial con­stituen­cy. Demo­c­ra­t­ic strate­gists warned that the ero­sion could threat­en his re-election.”

Much of the arti­cle con­sists of on the record state­ments from voters.

This one in par­tic­u­lar got my attention:

Key­on Reynolds-Mar­tin, a father of one in Mil­wau­kee, praised what he saw as Mr. Trump’s pri­or­i­tiz­ing of the econ­o­my and domes­tic pol­i­cy, recall­ing the stim­u­lus checks he received dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. Mr. Trump ini­tial­ly did not sup­port the relief checks, which were spear­head­ed by Democ­rats. He lat­er affixed his sig­na­ture to them, rep­re­sent­ing the first time a president’s name had appeared on an Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice disbursement.

Mr. Reynolds-Mar­tin, 25, said he planned to vote for Mr. Trump next fall, when he casts his first bal­lot ever.

Of Mr. Biden, he said, “He’s not giv­ing mon­ey to help the Unit­ed States, but he’s giv­ing mon­ey to oth­er coun­tries,” adding, “At least Don­ald Trump was try­ing to help the Unit­ed States.”

The very next para­graph is a sen­tence intro­duc­ing read­ers to anoth­er Black vot­er. There’s no dis­cus­sion of the fact that what Reynolds-Mar­tin said is false, wrong, non­sen­si­cal. The state­ment that Biden is “not giv­ing mon­ey to help the Unit­ed States, but he’s giv­ing mon­ey to help oth­er coun­tries” is prov­ably false.

Since becom­ing Pres­i­dent, Joe Biden has request­ed and won tril­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing from Con­gress for Amer­i­ca’s pri­or­i­ties. That’s tril­lions, with a t. (It’s actu­al­ly Con­gress’ respon­si­bil­i­ty to make appro­pri­a­tions and pass budgets.)

Biden pro­posed, and Con­gress passed, the Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan, which includ­ed direct cash assis­tance to mil­lions of Amer­i­cans like Key­on, rent sta­bi­liza­tion aid, an exten­sion of unem­ploy­ment insur­ance ben­e­fits, a pover­ty-slash­ing Child Tax Cred­it, and more finan­cial help for busi­ness­es affect­ed by the pandemic.

Biden pro­posed, and Con­gress passed, the Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act, which is help­ing to tack­le our nation’s infra­struc­ture deficit with mon­ey for pri­or­i­ties like clean drink­ing water infra­struc­ture, reli­able high speed Inter­net, and expand­ed pas­sen­ger rail ser­vice. (Biden is in Delaware today to make an announce­ment about fund­ing pas­sen­ger rail projects, incidentally.)

Biden pro­posed, and Con­gress passed, the CHIPS and Sci­ence Act, which allo­cates about $280 bil­lion in new fund­ing to boost Amer­i­can research and man­u­fac­tur­ing of semi­con­duc­tors, which are essen­tial com­po­nents of mod­ern elec­tron­ics, now used in every­thing from cars and home appli­ances as well as com­put­ers and mobile com­put­ing devices.

Biden pro­posed, and Con­gress passed, the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act, which invest­ed long over­due funds in mak­ing the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice work bet­ter for tax­pay­ers, final­ly allow­ing Medicare to nego­ti­ate the cost of pre­scrip­tion drugs, extend­ed health insur­ance sub­si­dies to pre­vent around three mil­lion Amer­i­cans from los­ing cov­er­age, and pro­vid­ed tax cred­its to encour­age invest­ments in clean ener­gy and elec­tric vehi­cles that don’t emit pol­lu­tants from tailpipes.

Trump, mean­while, request­ed and signed leg­is­la­tion to give the wealthy and large cor­po­ra­tions big tax cuts. He talked about doing an infra­struc­ture bill, but nev­er fol­lowed through. It was Biden who signed a big infra­struc­ture bill into law.

Does Key­on Reynolds-Mar­tin know about any of this? I’m guess­ing not.

Reynolds-Mar­tin was inter­viewed for the arti­cle. That means there was a con­ver­sa­tion between him and the staff of The New York Times.

Did King or Lerer push back and cor­rect Reynolds-Mar­tin after he wrong­ly said that Biden is “not giv­ing mon­ey to help the Unit­ed States, but he’s giv­ing mon­ey to help oth­er coun­tries”? If not, why did­n’t they? And why run this demon­stra­bly false state­ment in The New York Times with­out dis­cussing Biden’s actu­al record?

This is jour­nal­is­tic mal­prac­tice, in my book.

Seek truth and report it is sup­posed to be a a key guid­ing prin­ci­ple for jour­nal­ists. It’s right up there at the top of the SPJ’s Code of Ethics.

Here, the truth about Biden’s record is appar­ent­ly just not impor­tant enough to put into an arti­cle in which vot­ers are weigh­ing on in Biden’s record.

Is it any won­der that many vot­ers in Amer­i­ca know more about Don­ald Trump’s scan­dals than Joe Biden’s laws? What they know is a reflec­tion of what the mass media decides to pri­or­i­tize. And to bor­row a line from a mem­o­rable Pat­ty Mur­ray stump speech deliv­ered in the 2004 cycle: They’ve got the wrong priorities!

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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