Networks Play Up Tariff ‘Fallout,’ But Ignore Good Economic News

Once again, the broadcast networks have proven they care more about economic news that makes President Donald Trump look bad, than stories that make him look good.

On June 25, CNBC reported that its All-America Economic Survey found “more than half the public approving” of the president’s economic decisions for the first time and more people who said the economy was “good or excellent” than in the past decade.

That good news didn’t make it into ABC World News, CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly News reports that day. But all three shows did cover the same bad economic news about the American motorcycle company Harley-Davidson.

Harley-Davidson announced it would need to move some production overseas for bikes to be sold overseas due to 31 percent tariffs imposed by the EU against its motorcycles. The tariffs were retaliating against Trump’s tariffs on European steel and aluminum.

Evening News told viewers, “Trump’s trade war appears to be backfiring” near the top of the program.

Later, anchor Jeff Glor said, “We are beginning to see more fallout from the president’s controversial tariffs approach. The Dow fell by more than 300 points today amid growing worries about trade.” He then announced specifics about Harley-Davidson’s decision to move some production overseas and the following report told of other companies losing business and laying off workers because of higher materials costs (due to tariffs).

CBS also spoke with nail manufacturer Chris Pratt who said tariffs “put our operation into crisis mode.” Pratt’s company was forced to lay off some of its workers.

Like CBS, World News and Nightly News both covered the tariffs’ effect on Harley-Davidson.

“Stocks take a plunge and American icon Harley-Davidson moving jobs out of the U.S., blaming spiraling costs on the escalating trade war,” Nightly News anchor Lester Holt said.

Correspondent Tom Costello provided the NBC report, not just about the trade war impact on Harley-Davidson prices and production, but other industries including makers of movie theater seats.

Those same three evening news shows have been far less interested in covering economic news that might reflect positively on the Trump administration. They all ignored the new survey from CNBC that found Trump’s economic approval rating rose to 51 percent in the latest survey, up 6 points. That same survey also found that 54 percent of respondents think the economy “is good or excellent,” which was the the highest CNBC found in the 10 years of the survey.

“Positive views on the economy have surged 20 points since the election,” CNBC reported.

Since Trump took office, the networks also often ignored positive economic forecasts, jobs reports and estimates of GDP growth, among other things.


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Economy ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Jeff Glor Lester Holt Tom Costello
Julia A. Seymour's picture