On Wednesday morning, ABC, CBS, and NBC chose to do something it’s only occasionally done in mentioning President Biden during their coverage of the porous economy. But, as one would expect, they absolved him of blame and instead commiserated with the “frustrated” President as he’s “[felt] the heat” from voters while “pointing fingers at” Republicans and “tout[ing] his economic agenda.”
Good Morning America co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos clearly got the memo in a tease: “The impact on home price, jobs, the stock market and the battle against soaring prices as President Biden feels the heat. Who he’s pointing fingers at for slowing down his plans.”
Co-host TJ Holmes added moments later that the economy’s been on Biden’s mind as he “feel[s] pressure and he is getting increasingly frustrated with Republicans.”
Stephanopoulos came back around in teeing up chief White House correspondent Cecilia Vega: “Inflation putting political pressure on President Biden. He's blaming Republicans in Congress for blocking his plans to get prices under control.”
Vega stated the obvious that “[t]his is a top issue for voters and they're really blaming him for this and that — that means that this is a top priority for this White House but, look, publicly and privately President Biden is really feeling the pressure on this and she’s, frankly, growing increasingly frustrated.”
She added that the griping “stems from the fact that the White House and officials here say they've done what’s in their control to try to combat some of these high prices,” but voters have unfortunately decided to still blame them.
Of course, she also had to frame it in terms of a pitfall for Democrats while fretting about the “steady drumbeat...from Republicans” (whom Biden insists are to blame for our country’s economic pain (click “expand”):
They are well aware that this could very easily threaten his agenda and, frankly, threaten his party's chances in the midterms come November. There has been a steady drumbeat — we’ve been talking about this for months — from Republicans, who have been really looking to cast this as Biden's price hike, so what you're seeing is what you just heard from President Biden, that shift in the narrative. He is really looking to cast blame on Republicans right now who he says are blocking his agenda on Capitol Hill.
He says if they can bring down things like lowering prescription drugs that would offset some of these other costs. He’s also going after oil companies more and more. He said recently Exxon, for example, is making more money than God. He’s certainly been blaming Putin and the war in Ukraine for the high-rise of energy costs but, look, George, you know this, the truth is, the White House can do little directly to bring down inflation.
CBS Mornings also puffed Biden in their opening: “Soaring inflation and fears of recession: Americans brace for the largest interest rate hike in decades as the President touts his economic agenda.”
Chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes joined Vega in making Biden a bystander: “Tony, you know, when it comes to inflation, there are a few tools that the White House has at its disposal, but the Federal Reserve has a jackhammer, and it’s poised to use that today.”
“In Philadelphia, Tuesday, President Biden acknowledged the toll high prices are taking, forcing families to spend nearly $350.00 more per month than they did last year to buy the same goods,” Cordes added.
The only sense of balance came when she conceded that even though “[t]he White House is urging Congress to pass funding bills that would ease the burden by lowering the cost of childcare and prescription drugs,” “Republicans argue pandemic era stimulus is already contributing to inflation and they don’t want to spend more.”
After Cordes, CBS had transportation correspondent Errol Barnett explain away gas prices as largely out of anyone’s control in Washington (click “expand”):
NATE BURLESON: From inflation to the gas station. Gas prices depend on factors far from America’s borders. So what really goes into the price you’re paying at the pump? Errol Barnett explains.
MAN: I pay $175.00 to fill up this car.
MAN: That was half a tank. A little more than $64.00 for half a tank.
BARNETT: We all know that feeling of pain at the pump.
MAN: And you don’t even know why.
BARNETT: But what you may not know is what exactly determines the price of fuel.
BARNETT: What makes up the bulk of the prices we see posted?
AAA NORTHEAST SENIOR PUBLIC MANAGER: ROBERT SINCLAIR, JR.: Oh without a doubt, it’s crude oil, and crude oil is a globally priced commodity.
BARNETT: Robert Sinclair is the spokesperson for AAA. He says there are four main contributors to the price of gas — taxes, distribution and marketing, and refining all playing a key role. But roughly two-thirds of what you pay is based on the price of crude oil, which itself is up 70 percent from last year. American oil companies lead the world in oil production, but we still consume far more than we make. Saudi Arabia is second in production, and Russia a very close third.
BARNETT: Now, you may remember some states instituted gas tax holidays, which suspend the tax for a short amount of time, President Biden said he is considering that on the Federal level, but energy experts say they’re just not enough to offset this increasing price in oil, Michelle, and if there’s any hurricane that disrupts production in the Gulf, experts say you can expect prices to kick even higher.
Over on NBC’s Today, correspondent Tom Costello also had down the White House talking points:
COSTELLO: President Biden under pressure and, in an election year, taking aim at Republicans.
BIDEN: Problem is Republicans in Congress are doing everything they can to stop my plans to bring down costs on ordinary families.
Moments later, Costello trumpeted Biden’s targeting of oil companies for allegedly being one of the two reasons why gas prices has surged to record levels (with the other being Vladimir Putin).
These shameless acts of doing the White House’s bidding was made possible thanks to advertisers such as Dawn (on CBS), Macy’s (on NBC), and Verizon (on ABC). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.