CNN’s Poppy Harlow Fights Kudlow, Downplays Good Economic News

August 11th, 2020 8:56 AM

CNN’s newsroom tried to downplay the impressive Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) July jobs report, and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow wasn’t having any of it.

During Friday’s edition of CNN Newsroom, co-anchor Poppy Harlow kicked off a contentious interview with Kudlow with negative spin, asking Kudlow: “Does the slowdown worry you and the president?” Kudlow immediately slapped back at that idea: “I don’t know that there’s a slowdown. I mean, these jobs numbers will go up and down.” 

Harlow interrupted Kudlow to strangely point out last month’s jobs numbers: “4.8 million jobs were added the prior month.” Kudlow responded: “I think the big story here is this survey was taken in the middle of July, July 12th to July 18th.” He continued: “That was the heart, that was the heart of the hot spot problem, where some states had to pull back in the southwest and so forth. Therefore, we didn’t get hurt near as much as many people feared.” A chyron for CNN’s spin-segment read: “1.8 million jobs added in July, but recovery is losing momentum.”



Kudlow pointed out that the 1.8 million jobs added in July had in fact topped the expectations of economists (1.48 million). That’s a 320,000 disparity. To still achieve that kind of a jobs number, with unemployment dropping to 10.2 percent in the face of a coronavirus case spike, and with new shutdowns in July, is remarkably good news. But, if you’re CNN, good economic news is still bad news. 



“The idea that we won’t get a single-digit unemployment rate is off the boards now,” Kudlow said. Harlow then pivoted to get in the last word before shifting topics: “I hope you’re right. Although, only 9 percent of CEOs now surveyed think we’re going to see the V-shaped recovery that you have been promising.” Did Harlow consider The National Association for Business Economics (NABE) recent survey that showed two-thirds (66%) of 104 members surveyed expecting a “sharp rebound” in the economy?

Later in the contentious segment, Harlow pushed propaganda via an alleged statement by her “friend’s mother” as a shot against Kudlow’s assertion that extending unemployment benefits would disincentivize work. Harlow paraphrased the alleged statement: “‘I don’t want a handout, I want to go back to work.’” Kudlow retorted by saying that “We’re the ones offering payments, benefits [and] rewards for going back to work!” 

Harlow interjected again: “Larry, it’s not safe!” Kudlow responded again by pointing to the federal guidelines issued on masking, testing and distancing in order to address the issue of safety. Harlow interrupted Kudlow to speculate on a tyrannical federal mask mandate: “Wouldn’t a federal mask mandate make a lot of sense?”



Kudlow rebutted the idea, saying the responsibility should be left up to the American people: “People should act responsibly as individuals. We don’t know about mandates.” Harlow interrupted again to say, “Why not? Goldman Sachs says that a federal mask mandate could prevent the need for a lockdown that could wipe out five percent from GDP. What’s the downside?” 

Kudlow didn’t take the bait, and slapped back at Harlow’s advocacy for federal overreach:

“Bear in mind, the power and authority here is not the federal government. We are recommending.” Harlow, true to form, interrupted again: “Well you could. There could be a federal mask mandate.” Kudlow rebutted her again: “I don’t think so. I don’t know how it would be enforced. The states and the localities are the ones who make these decisions.”

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