On Friday, NBC’s Today show went all in pushing false White House spin that months of record-high inflation and soaring gas prices were somehow exclusively caused by the two-week-old war in Ukraine rather than bad economic policy from the Biden administration. The coverage even parroted the President’s dishonest talking points word for word by repeating the phrase “Putin’s price hike.”
“Well, here at home, the toll of the war is having an ever greater impact on the U.S. economy. With soaring inflation and gas prices, Americans are paying more,” co-host Savannah Guthrie announced as she attempted to tie long-term surging prices entirely to the recent war in Europe. In the report that followed, correspondent Morgan Chesky dutifully repeated Biden’s fraudulent political messaging:
This morning, new inflation numbers confirming the struggle facing millions of Americans....Fuel, food, and shelter the biggest drivers behind inflation’s highest increase in four decades. The Consumer Price Index report showing a 7.9% rise over the last year. And in Washington, the Biden administration acknowledging it may get even worse before it gets better, blaming Putin’s war in Ukraine as a prime contributor.
A soundbite ran of the President proclaiming: “The American people know how important this fight is. I think they know that as painful as the prices today the costs are going to be higher if we do not act now to deal with this tyrant.”
Absolutely no fact check was attempted, despite NBC knowing better. On Thursday’s Nightly News, correspondent Jo Ling Kent actually provided some crucial context: “But prices surged last month almost entirely before Russia invaded Ukraine. And inflation has been soaring above five percent since last May.”
Why did Friday’s network morning show suddenly choose to leave out those key details?
Appearing again on 3rd Hour Today in the 9:00 am ET hour, Chesky touted: “...the Biden administration is very much calling this ‘Putin’s price hike,’ with this war ongoing, there will be a significant impact going forward.” That came after this leading intro from co-host Craig Melvin:
Meanwhile, that war in Ukraine having quite the impact here at home, where just about everything is costing more these days, in some cases a lot more....So, Morgan, the Biden administration acknowledged that inflation actually could get worse before it gets better? Do we know how much worse? And do we know the driving forces behind these price increases?
Minutes later, after allowing Chesky to parrot false White House talking points, Melvin briefly noted: “And here’s the thing, I mean, we were feeling the effects of inflation before the war.” Not exactly a pointed fact check.
Even former Obama administration adviser and current MSNBC economic analyst Steve Rattner called out Biden’s falsehood. Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Rattner scolded the President: “Well, no. These are Feb #’s and only include small Russia effect. This is Biden’s inflation and he needs to own it.”
On Thursday, CBS Mornings was the only network morning show to cover the release of the February inflation report live, with business analyst Jill Schlesinger specifically explaining: “This is actually, of course, is mostly the period before Russia invaded Ukraine, so we don't even account for that.”
Reporting from the White House on Friday’s Good Morning America, correspondent Mary Bruce admitted:
But, of course, this all comes as Americans here at home are starting to feel this economic fallout from this war. Prices continue to rise, especially at the pump. And the President is trying to put the blame for this squarely on Vladimir Putin, saying the pain Americans are feeling and will continue to feel is part of the, quote, “Putin price hike.” But Republicans have been quick to note that Americans were already seeing record-high inflation even before Putin began this war.
Despite knowing the truth from one of its own reporters and one of its own analysts, NBC’s Today show still chose to mislead its audience by wrongly claiming the war in Ukraine was a “prime contributor” and one of the “driving forces” behind rampant inflation and surging gas prices over the past several months. All in the name of sticking to the false narrative the Biden White House is promoting.
Here is a full transcript of Chesky’s March 11 Today show report:
7:08 AM ET
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, here at home, the toll of the war is having an ever greater impact on the U.S. economy. With soaring inflation and gas prices, Americans are paying more. NBC’s Morgan Chesky joins us with that part of the story. Morgan, good morning.
MORGAN CHESKY: Yeah, Savannah, good morning. And you do not have to look far to find a product impacted in this latest report. We’re at the original Market Diner in Dallas. They tell me just about every item on their menu costing them 20 to even 50% more. Eggs rising dramatically over the last year. And we do have some tough news for breakfast lovers because bacon has seen one of the sharpest spikes over the last year of any product. And right now there is no clear end in sight to when this surge will stop.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: U.S. Inflation Hits 40-Year High]
This morning, new inflation numbers confirming the struggle facing millions of Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN [RESTAURANT OWNER]: Every week is something new. It’s beef prices, it’s produce, it’s avocados, it’s takeout containers. Now it’s fuel.
CHESKY: Fuel, food, and shelter the biggest drivers behind inflation’s highest increase in four decades. The Consumer Price Index report showing a 7.9% rise over the last year. And in Washington, the Biden administration acknowledging it may get even worse before it gets better, blaming Putin’s war in Ukraine as a prime contributor.
JOE BIDEN: The American people know how important this fight is. I think they know that as painful as the prices today the costs are going to be higher if we do not act now to deal with this tyrant.
CHESKY: Many households already feeling the pinch, with rental costs soaring.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [RENTER]: Our rent has gone up. Our rent was just changed from 650 to 800.
CHESKY: And when it comes to filling up, the national average for gallon of gas hitting a staggering $4.33. A new AAA survey found for most Americans $4 a gallon is the tipping point where people start making changes to consumption habits. While others –
UNIDENTIFIED MAN B [GAS STATION CUSTOMER]: I don’t even want to know right now, I don’t even look. I just fill up the car.
CHESKY: Grocery staples nearly all on a steady rise. A gallon of milk up 50 cents, a dozen eggs up 40 cents, and bacon spiking more than $1.30 over the last year. At Dallas’s Beyond the Butcher, every little bit extra adding up.
RAFAEL ANDRADE [BEYOND THE BUTCHER]: Beef and pork, it’ll be a $3.50 charge for the pork.
CHESKY: Veteran cook Rafael Andrade turning out as many orders as he can with a profit margin slipping. So the price for this Philly cheesesteak stays the same, but what about the cost?
ANDRADE: The cost has gone up.
CHESKY: In what?
ANDRADE: From everything, man. From the mushrooms, from even the marinade, the onions, the peppers, the bread.
CHESKY: Pricier food, fuel, and shelter combining in a frustrating recipe for the days ahead. And there is some important context to this latest report. The cost of fuel was only factored in by a few days of the price hike we’ve been seeing. So when we see the March report come out, experts are saying expect to see that inflation rise even more, potentially surpassing eight. Savannah?
GUTHRIE: Alright, Morgan Chesky in Dallas for us. Thank you, Morgan.