The New York Times has been obsessed with the idea that Russian "meddling" somehow affected 2016's presidential election results and prevented a Hillary Clinton presidency. The Times has also served as a conduit for several leaks by opponents of President Donald Trump and others who are sympathetic with (or even part of) Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation.
So it's more than a little ironic that Times reporter Raymond Zhong, in a Friday report (for Saturday's print edition) covering China's imposition of tariffs on certain U.S. imports, noted with how its tariffs "were chosen to hit President Trump’s supporters" without characterizing them as a clear attempt at election meddling — one with far more potential impact than clumsy attempts at social media manipulation allegedly orchestrated by Russia.
Fox News's Tucker Carlson noted the Times's double standard as he wrapped up his Fox News show Friday evening:
TUCKER CARLSON: I want to close tonight with a short quote from the New York Times. This is describing China's retaliatory tariffs against the United States.
Quote: "Beijing said on Friday that its levies had kicked in immediately after the Trump administration’s tariffs went into effect, just past midnight in Washington. The 545 goods targeted by China for tariffs, which include beef, seafood, dairy and other farm goods in addition to automobiles, were chosen to hit President Trump’s supporters in the agricultural and industrial parts of the Midwest."
Ha! China is "hitting Trump's supporters in the Midwest"? That sounds like election meddling to us. It sounds like China may be hacking our democracy in a way far more significant than buying a few Facebook ads.
Yet for some reason the New York Times just spent a year decrying "democracy hacking," is not demanding an investigation. In fact, they didn't even notice, it didn't seem like.
Why is that? We'll leave you the weekend to think about it.
Meanwhile, the sense of alarm the U.S. and international press are attempting to build over U.S.-Chinese trade tensions is not shared by the people who carry the goods involved in international trade every day, as Bloomberg News reported on Thursday:
Will somebody please tell commodity shippers there’s a trade war going on?
Whether it’s the price of hiring giant freighters to haul hundreds of millions of tons a year of iron ore and coal, or smaller carriers moving grains, there’s a theme emerging: dry-bulk shipping rates are rallying despite an escalating trade war that may yet damage China’s economy.
“Freight traders don’t believe in that,” said Eirik Haavaldsen, a shipping analyst at Pareto Securities AS in Oslo. “They don’t see that weakness. They are not afraid of China slowing down, or a massive drawdown in inventories.”
There are two main reasons why commodity shipping markets aren’t yet feeling the pinch, according to Espen Fjermestad, who follows shipowners at Fearnley Securities in Oslo. The first is that China’s economy is so far proving resilient, the second is that direct trade between the U.S. and the Asian country is relatively small within the context of overall commodity shipping demand.
It was clearly frustrating to Bloomberg reporter Alaric Nightingale that shippers didn't share the press's reflexive gloom-and-doom sentiment.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.