The current baby formula shortage crisis was predictable, notwithstanding President Biden’s claim about having to be a mind-reader to see it coming: A story warning of shortages appeared in the Wall Street Journal back in January.
Also predictable: The New York Times circling the wagons to protect the Democratic president’s reputation from unfair, even “xenophobic” Republican attacks.
Congressional correspondent Annie Karni on Friday covered the White House’s modest response in “Pressed to Act, White House Says It Will Address Formula Shortage.”
The announcement came as Republicans, sharpening their attacks on Mr. Biden and Democrats before midterm congressional elections, sought to weaponize the baby formula shortage. It was further evidence for their claim that unified Democratic rule in Washington had led to inflation, high gas prices and other economic challenges, they said.
Karni did what she accused Republicans of doing: Politicizing a serious issue.
Though the event was focused on the most basic of human needs, hard-right Republicans transformed it into a forum for airing some of their favorite attacks against Mr. Biden, trying to tie the formula shortage to his border policies and even efforts to reduce drug overdoses.
Karni used an overheard argument to resurrect the paper’s botched attempt to fact-check a damaging (to Biden) story broken by the Washington Free Beacon and backed up with hard physical evidence.
[Rep. Mike Waltz (R)] was apparently referring to a debunked claim, stoked by a conservative news website, that the Biden administration planned to pay for crack pipes as part of a drug overdose prevention program.
The paper’s fact checker Linda Qiu joined in.
The shortage has become fodder for political attacks from Republicans, who have fused the issue with criticisms of the administration’s immigration policies. Democrats have countered that those opposed to providing migrant infants with formula belong to a “pro starvation caucus,” as one lawmaker put it.
Isn’t it also “inaccurate” (and tasteless) to throw around terms like “pro-starvation caucus”? No fact checks incoming?
Karni followed up on the formula issue Saturday, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s move to address the crisis, barely noting that the White House should have been prepared.
“We have to move with caution as well as speed,” Mr. Biden said at the White House on Friday, when asked whether the administration had responded quickly enough to a shortage that began in February. He called it the most urgent issue he was facing.
Karni tried to focus on Republican “weaponizing,” perhaps to distract from the actual shortage crisis.
[Biden’s] quick timetable and Ms. Pelosi’s plans reflected a growing urgency to address the shortage, which has become a national crisis and a political challenge as Republicans work to weaponize the issue before the midterm elections.
The reporter really stretched the plain meaning of “xenophobia” to neutralize GOP criticism of Biden’s slow response.
Republicans have latched onto a xenophobic talking point, amplified by Fox News and other conservative outlets, that Mr. Biden has prioritized undocumented immigrants over Americans by providing pallets of baby formula to detention centers on the southwestern border.
Name-calling aside, the fact remains that illegal immigrant families currently have far easier access to vital baby formula than do many U.S. citizens. Perhaps a little liberal empathy might be in order?