Eric Boehlert’s Final Press Run

When I received this newsletter by Eric Boehlert, founder of Press Run on Monday, I set it aside, knowing I wanted to use it in a blog post, but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet.  Yesterday I learned that on Monday, the same day this article was published, Eric Boehlert was hit and killed by a train while riding his bicycle.  That news took my breath.  Eric Boehlert has done a fine job of holding the media accountable, holding their feet to the fire, and he will be sorely missed by those of us who read and appreciated his perspective.


Why is the press rooting against Biden?

Burying great news

Eric Boehlert, 4 April 2022

Like clockwork, the first Friday of the month brought another blockbuster jobs report. The U.S. economy under President Joe Biden added another 400,000-plus new jobs in March, it was announced last week.

Biden is currently on pace, during his first two full years in office, to oversee the creation of 10 million new jobs and an unemployment rate tumbling all the way down to 3 percent. That would be an unprecedented accomplishment in U.S. history. Context: In four years in office, Trump lost three million jobs, the worst record since Herbert Hoover.

Yet the press shrugs off the good news, determined to keep Biden pinned down. “The reality is that one strong jobs report does not snap the administration out of its current circumstances,” Politico stressed Friday afternoon. How about 11 straight strong job reports, would that do the trick? Because the U.S. economy under Biden has been adding more than 400,000 jobs per month for 11 straight months.  

The glaring disconnect between reality and how the press depicts White House accomplishments means a key question lingers: Why is the press rooting against Biden? Is the press either hoping for a Trump return to the White House, or at least committed to keeping Biden down so the 2024 rematch will be close and ‘entertaining’ for the press to cover? Is that why the Ginni Thomas insurrection story was politely marched off the stage after just a few days of coverage last week by the same news outlets that are now in year three of their dogged Hunter Biden reporting? (“ABC This Week” included 19 references to Hunter Biden yesterday.)

Just look at the relentlessly dour economic coverage. For the press, inflation remains the dominant, bad-news-for-Dems economic story. Even on Friday, the day the stellar jobs report was released, “inflation” was mentioned on cable news nearly as often as “jobs,” according to TVeyes.com.

Axios contorted itself by claiming Biden’s promise to add “millions” of new jobs (which he’s already accomplished), was being threatened because there aren’t enough workers, because so few people are out of work— or something.

The home-run report itself was often depicted as a mixed bag. These were some of the glass-half-empty headlines that appeared in the wake of the latest runaway numbers:

Totally normal journalism, right? The president announces another blockbuster jobs report and the press presents it as borderline bad news.

Note that the above headlines about the sour mood prevailing despite the great jobs, and how uncertainty looms, came from the Post, the same outlet that slotted the March jobs report into 87th placed on its website on Friday.

That afternoon readers on the daily’s homepage had to scroll down 87 headlines before they saw the first reference to the great economic news. Among the headlines that ran higher on the Post site that afternoon were, “What’s The Best Way to Share My Old Home Videos?” and “The Duke-North Carolina Rivalry, By the Numbers.”

On-air, CNN also downplayed the jobs report, according to Dean Baker, senior economist for Center for Economic and Policy Research. “CNN’s coverage of the report quickly turned to inflation,” he wrote. “In its more general coverage of the economy, the jobs report — which tells us about the employment and earnings situation for more than 160 million people — was barely a blip.”  

Sunday’s “Meet the Press” round table featured two segments with assembled pundits. One focused on how immigration might be a problem for Democrats in the midterms, the other on how Trump might be a problem for Democrats in the midterms. As usual, Biden’s historic economic record was ignored.

That’s why, according to a recent poll, 37 percent of Americans think the economy lost jobs over the last year, when it’s gained 7 million. (Just 28 percent of people know jobs were up.)

Virtually all the Beltway coverage today agrees on this central point: When it comes to the economy, Biden’s approval rating is taking a hit because Americans are freaked out by inflation. But maybe it’s taking a hit because Americans are under the false impression that jobs are disappearing. Voters don’t know what they don’t know because the press isn’t interested in telling them about record job success and an economy that’s years ahead of where experts thought it would be coming out of a global pandemic.

Biden is facing not just one organized opposition in the form of the GOP, but another in the form of the Beltway press corps.

Last week, they hit Biden with 14 separate questions at a press briefing over the supposed “gaffe” he made, expressing his moral outrage over the mass killings Russian President Vladimir Putn has unleashed in Ukraine. So focused on trying to trip up Biden, the press didn’t ask a single question about the state of the Ukraine war.  

And remember all winter how the press treated Covid as the most important “crisis” Biden faced and hung the pandemic around his neck? Today, the topic has vanished, the press has given the White House no credit for steering the country back to normalcy, and instead has latched onto gas prices as being a defining issue under Biden. The buried Covid coverage represents a telling example of how an issue that the press itself claimed would define the Biden administration gets translated into no news when it turns towards positive territory.

The Beltway press needs to take its thumb off the Biden scale.

R.I.P. Mr. Boehlert … you will be sorely missed.

33 thoughts on “Eric Boehlert’s Final Press Run

  1. I never came across Eric Boehlert’s work, but it would seem it is up to every one who cared for his work to take up his torch, even if each one is a small light, they can grow.
    It does seem a tragic accident, you would think that considering the size and noise made by trains no one would ever get hit by one, and yet they do, regularly. Who knows in this case? Lost in thought? Reckoning he could get past it? Slipped. The notion of being stalked by an assassin using a train, which has to run on tracks just does not work (Unless of course you are a 9/11er). My Dad a fireman for 25+ years had this saying ‘It was not supposed to happen. That’s why they are called accidents,’

    I feel sorry for Joe Biden, naturally The Right hate him, so let’s not waste our time with them. I guess those on the Centre-Left expect him to deal out Old Testament justice upon the previous mal-administration and after 6th January hound Trump and his rabble into a Guantanamo; which would have been a tempting play, but there again that would have started off the Ulster Scenario. And considering recent events The Ukrainians can be grateful that didn’t happen. My philosophy when I was a low-level manager in the old ‘Rev’ (HMIT) was. ‘If senior managers are dissatisfied with you. Your staff don’t like you. Your fellow managers distrust you. But the public like you. You must be getting something right,’
    Thus if Keith approves of President Biden, that is good enough for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed … each of us can, and in fact has an obligation to carry on his work, hold the press accountable.

      That was my thought, too … trains aren’t exactly quiet! But, it was after dark, and perhaps as you say, he was lost in thought, or perhaps had earbuds in, listening to music. And, it may not have been a designated crossing, so the train in that case wouldn’t have been required to blow his whistle. A lot of questions, but so far I have seen nothing to indicate any form of foul play.

      Re: Biden — as you say, the right hates him and they would hate him no matter what, for they are conditioned to hate anybody in the Democratic Party. But it is the reactions of Democrats that most disturbs me … they are holding him to account for things over which he has no control, and expecting that which he cannot give. Unless the Democratic Party wishes to hand over the reins of power to a proven imbecilic madman in 2024, they damn well better start pulling together instead of trying to split the party. That said, I think it’s a shame that it all boils down to political party, but such is the state of the nation in this, the 21st century. Someday, something will happen that will force us all into a fight for survival and then perhaps petty partisan politics will be abandoned. Maybe.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Everyone in American society should—operative word there is SHOULD—recognize that when there exists no (reasonable) counter-viewpoint on an issue or topic in the sociopolitical and/or economic arena, there is a (good?) chance you are sitting inside of, reading, or listening to a Kangaroo Court and biased judge/jury. Simple mechanics of civic engagement that SHOULD’VE been learned in high school (NOT home-schooling!) then under-grad university. It’s not rocket science and thank goodness and in the spirit of a Republic democracy bound to and led by a laws of our Constitution (in theory?)… we did have Eric Boehlert for 28+ years.

    Indeed a massive loss for fair journalism and media-critics domestically & globally. Genuine condolences to his wife and two children. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, the operative word there is ‘should’. What we see today is reminiscent of a herd of sheep following their leader blindly, being reined in when they stray. And, what we see today is the result of a massively failed education system in this nation … well, partly, anyway. The populist movement with its roots in the Arab Spring, immigration, and climate change is also a contributor, but if our education system taught people to THINK for themselves, to reason, to apply logic, then we could overcome the populist movement and work toward unity, toward solving our problems rather than exacerbating them.

      Yes, Eric Boehlert contributed more than most people do and he will be sorely missed!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry for America’s loss. I didn’t know him, but reading this article I realize how good he was, and how twisted things are everywhere. Likewise in France there are maybe a dozen very high level journalists who probably bang their heads on the wall every time they finish and send their “piece”. What is wrong with the world?
    (Your next appointment is in May, right? I’m loosing sense of time…)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Brian! He was the conscience of the U.S. media, held them accountable when they got it wrong. I hope somebody will follow in his footsteps, for we need that.

      “What is wrong with the world?” you ask? Heck if I know, my friend. It’s a question I ask at least ten times each day! There seems to be a lack of common sense, a lack of conscience these days. Sigh.

      Yes, May 2nd. I’ll keep you posted. The last few days, I feel that I am regressing a bit … more tired and weaker than I have been. Perhaps it’s the change in weather?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: ERIC BOEHLERT’S FINAL PRESS RUN. |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  5. There was nobody like him Jill. It’s a void that must be filled, but I don’t know how it can be done. I hope someone steps up because his shoes will be tough to fill. So sad.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Eric Boehlert was a gem, and his loss at this point—when his clear vision and candid writing are so urgently needed—is immeasurable.

    And what a superb Final Press Run—marshaling the evidence that many of us believe is a big contributor to Biden’s otherwise unfathomable low poll numbers! Thank you, Jill. Such a grievous loss of a young man with a growing, well-earned megaphone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, his influence will be sorely missed.

      It seems, as I was just telling Keith, that the press has become disillusioned since the reign of the former guy and now goes in search of the negative, overlooking the positive altogether. Boehlert held their feet to the fire, called them to account, reminded them of the facts. Who will do that now?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jill, as we discussed about ten days ago, Biden is in a tough position poll wise – he is not progressive enough for the far left of the Democrat party and since too many in the GOP only focus on false narratives by opinion hosts and conspiracy parrots, he gets poor marks there. In truth, Biden has done better than these two groups credit him with, but not as good as the rest of the Democrats say. As an independent and former Republican, I am so glad he has returned the presidency to more normalcy away from the constant focus of the previous president to look good each twelve hour news cycle.

    What many people do not fully understand is presidents get too much credit and blame for the economy, as at best they only provide headwinds or tailwinds. Yet, the last president claims to have created a great economy, but was handed the reins of an economy that was seven and one-half years into monthly economic growth which has six years in a row of 2 million jobs added. To his credit it continued and with the tax cut had a sugar rush for about fifteen months before crashing with the pandemic.

    Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    • Agreed … in most situations, he’s “damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t”. Like you, I’m just happy to see sanity restored to the Oval Office, at least for now, and I think he is held to blame for far more than he actually has control over. But, the press could at least take the initiative to give him credit where credit is due, and instead, they seem to go digging for something negative. Is this, perhaps, the fallout from the former guy … has the media become so disillusioned that they look for the negative without ever seeing the positive?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. OMG, sometimes I really think: Why do the best have to go while so many (insert any insulting noun!) stay and continue to cause hell, havoc, sadness to the world…. I never heard of Eric but I can clearly see that he was an upright, honest person. Being taken away from this earth in this way is really a great loss for those who seek honesty in others. RIP Eric Boehlert – and my condolences to all who ‘knew’ him, his family, friends.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It does seem to be the way of the world, doesn’t it? Wasn’t there a song, way back when … “Only the Good Die Young”? Look how many evil old codgers are the leaders of nations, while people who tried to make a difference, to make the world a little better, are long gone.

      Liked by 2 people

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