Give President Joseph Biden credit: He’s getting major legislation passed through Congress that will, hopefully, strengthen and improve the quality of life for many Americans.
In August alone, Biden has signed the Chips Act and the Inflation Reduction Act into law, much to the chagrin of Republican lawmakers who are intent on trying to block anything that looks like good government coming from the White House.
This isn’t just Biden or Democratic Party hype. Look at what James Thurber, author and founder of American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, has to say about Biden’s efforts on the legislative front:
“What he’s gotten is, in my opinion, significant,” said Thurber in a recent CBC News article.
Well, tell that to mainstream and social media outlets that have returned to covering ad nauseum Donald J. Trump, the twice impeached former president who is the focus of federal and state criminal investigations, a political hack who is apparently intent on destroying democracy.
When Biden signed the Chips Act into law on Aug. 9, most media outlets led their newscasts with extensive coverage of a day-old FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, during which agents hauled out a trove a highly classified documents that belonged in a secure location, not the basement of the disgraced former chief executive officer of the country.
Important note: Trump tipped off the media about the raid and then yelled and screamed about how he and his lawyers had been mistreated. Second day coverage of an FBI raid on a borderline criminal’s house as opposed to leading with Biden’s signing a major piece of legislation into law? Seriously?
Skip ahead to this week when Biden signed the historic Inflation Reduction Act into law. Among other items, the $700 billion act provides for: creation of a 15 percent corporate minimum tax rate (think of those billion-dollar companies not paying any tax at the moment); prescription drug price reform; IRS tax enforcement (on habitual tax dodgers, not the average American taxpayer); extension of the Affordable Care Act subsidy; and energy security and climate change investments.
Talk about good government. Surely signing that bill into law is more important than anything Trump was doing at the time.
Nope. Media coverage of the bill signing, while extensive, still gave more time and space to Trump and his lawyers — and their Republican cohorts in Congress — screaming for a judge to instruct the U.S. Department of Justice to release the affidavit that authorized the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago.
These are just two recent examples of how Biden’s attempts to promote good government are getting Trump-ed by the news media on a daily basis. Headlines on articles featuring Trump’s name, video and pictures highlighting the grifter who continues to promote the falsehood that he beat Biden in the 2020 presidential sweepstakes consume copious amounts of print and social media space and valuable minutes of broadcast news outlets airtime.
Trump and the Republican’s PR machine is masterfully keeping his name, face and outrageous lies about his political life front and center with a majority of media outlets.
Clearly, media executives — and the corporations that own them — believe scandal, anti-American actions and bullying tactics to persuade Americans to cast ballots for supporters of Trump’s “big lie” are more important than informing us about those other elected officials who are actually doing their jobs to govern the country for the good of all people.
Let’s go back to American University’s Thurber and his view on the Biden Administration’s governing efforts. Thurber, in the CBC News article, describes Biden’s first two years as more fertile legislatively than those of Trump’s, who got tax reforms but neither the health nor infrastructure bills he wanted. He also sees it as more productive than George W. Bush’s, whose most significant early bill was the anti-terrorist Patriot Act.
It’s not just Thurber, however, who views Biden’s legislative successes as good for America and Americans.
John Dearborn, author and scholar of the American presidency and Congress at Vanderbilt University, shares Thurber’s opinion that Biden’s list of early legislative wins could soon be closer to those of Ronald Reagan and his massive tax cuts; Bill Clinton and his NAFTA and crime bill; and Barack Obama’s stimulus bill and his health reform is shared by a colleague.
“This [Biden’s legislative wins] would be on the relative high end [among recent presidents],” he told CBC News.
Sure, that’s not as exciting or viewer friendly a statement as Trump whining about being mistreated by the Department of Justice and the FBI. Or his declaring for the hundredth time he is thinking about running for president again, even though he’s the target of criminal investigations that could prevent that from happening.
Thanks to the news media, Americans have become obsessed with political scandal and partisan high jinks. The endless articles and broadcast stories about Trump’s corrupt administration, as well as the years he has spent operating on the edge of criminality as a real estate developer and owner of numerous failed businesses continue to transfix most Americans.
His unethical, amoral antics help sell copies of what few major newspapers that are left on newsstands, score thousands of “hits” on social media sites and secure large viewing audiences for broadcast news networks.
Sad but true: Biden’s attempts at promoting good government are getting Trump-ed badly. Every day.
It’s not a good thing for democracy or the country.