Tuesday Edition

Is TikTok a conservative platform? Plus: The government is taxing air.

If you like an article today, screenshot it and text it to someone who should read it. Tell them to go to Bubba News to read today’s edition and subscribe.

1. TikTok Trump

Right-wingers, including Donald Trump, are surprisingly popular on TikTok, whose audience skews young and liberal. (Puck)

While he was in the Oval Office, Trump tried to ban TikTok –– now he’s more popular on the platform than President Biden.

  • Since November, TikTok’s hosted 1.29 million pro-Trump videos/images with 9.1 billion views versus 651,000 pro-Biden posts with 6.15 billion views.

  • From January of last year to May, #Trump2024 content received 472.8 million likes and 6.5 billion views, compared to #Biden2024's 50.9 million likes and 558 million views.

Meanwhile, conservative influencers who have warned about the national security risks posed by Chinese-owned TikTok are outperforming Democrats on the app.

  • Follower counts for conservative media stars: Charlie Kirk (1.1 million), Johnny McEntee (2.3 million), Ben Shapiro (2.5 million), Tucker Carlson (1.3 million).

  • Follower counts for popular liberals: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., (988,000), David Pakman (925,000), the Biden campaign (316,000).

This isn’t a new phenomenon: A 2020 study of 8,000 TikTok videos found pro-GOP creators outnumbered pro-Dems, and GOP content racked up more shares and likes.

A recent NBC News poll found Trump voters are much more likely to get their news from social media and platforms like YouTube, whereas Biden supporters get their information from traditional media sources, like newspapers and major networks.

  • This helps explain why China-skeptical conservatives are doing so well on TikTok.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Some of this is happening because Biden is struggling with young voters. But the things conservative influencers and Trump say tend to get a lot of engagement on social media for two reasons: 1) The left/woke/libs/whatever you want to call them give conservatives a lot of fodder to work with, and 2) The mainstream media’s not saying it.

2. How China Plans to Beat Us

China and the United States’ work cultures appear to be diverging at a time when the rivalry between the two nations is heating up. (Pirate Wires)

The latest: A top PR executive for Baidu, a major Chinese tech company, resigned after backlash over her comments about extreme dedication to the office.

  • Qu Jing shared videos to social media last week emphasizing her high standards and strict management style.

  • In one post, she criticized an employee who refused a 50-day business trip during the COVID-19 pandemic, dismissing concerns about the employee's family.

  • Qu also admitted to forgetting her elder son's birthday and not knowing what grade her younger son was in due to her intense work schedule.

In 2021, China's Supreme People's Court outlawed the infamous “996” schedule (working 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week).

The average Chinese citizen’s working hours have been increasing for years.

In contrast, the pandemic seems to have pushed many people in the U.S. away from the “live-to-work” mentality.

  • Last year, the share of Americans who said they’re “disengaged” with their work hit a 9-year-high, per Gallup.

Bubba’s Two Cents: China and the United States’ work cultures are a reflection of each country’s values, and it’ll be interesting to see how those values shape the competition between the two nations. Pirate Wires managing editor Mark Naida might have put it best when he said, “Obviously our economy is more dynamic, and our founders are more creative, but as U.S. founders beg for glowing headlines by spouting off about 4-day workweeks and no Slack after 5pm, let’s keep in mind that the skyscrapers of Shenzhen and Beijing and stay lit long after dinner, and those workers are trying to build a future that has America in second place.”

3. More Taxes That Don’t Make a Ton of Sense

 Check out this great headline from Reason:

The government has instituted a complex and convoluted formula to tax alcoholic cider. Part of the equation includes a tax based on carbonation levels, otherwise known as the "bubble tax."

Chart: American Cider Association

Current Tax Rates:

  • Hard cider: $0.226 per gallon.

  • Sparkling wine: $3.40 per gallon (1,400% higher than hard cider).

These relatively arbitrary classifications can have a big impact on cider makers’ wallets. For 100 gallons of cider:

  • If classified as hard cider, the tax is $22.

  • If classified as sparkling wine, the tax is $340.

Reason contributor C. Jarrett Dieterle: “Craft cider makers are doing their best to diversify the carbonation levels and fruits in their ciders to respond to consumer demand, but it's clear the industry has a hard ceiling on its growth due to these tax rules. This is why many cider makers state that their ability to expand—and the ability of the industry as a whole to thrive—is being pointlessly inhibited.”

4. The Double Standard

The latest: According to the New York Post, Biden made 15 false statements in just 17 minutes during a recent CNN interview. (New York Post)

A sampling of Biden’s fibs

What Biden said: “You know we have 1,000 billionaires in America. Know what their average federal tax is? 8.3%.”

  • The reality: “The top 0.1% of earners, with more than $4.4 million in expanded cash income, pay an average rate of 25.1% in federal income and payroll taxes,” according to Factcheck.org.

What Biden said: “[Inflation] was 9% when I came to office.”

  • The reality: Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation was only 1.4% in January 2021, when Biden took office.

What Biden said: “[Trump] is going to put in a 10% tax that’s going to increase average Americans’ cost $1,500 a year.”

  • The reality: As the New York Post’s editorial board noted, “Trump has proposed no such tax. Perhaps Biden means Trump’s plan for a 10% tariff on imported goods, which may or may not cost Americans more money.”

While mainstream media fact-checks of Biden do happen, they’re rare compared to the treatment Trump got from journalists.

  • As of February, Politifact had published only 286 fact-checks of Biden, compared to the 1,000 produced on Trump.

  • For four years, the Washington Post dutifully documented Trump’s 30,573 “falsehoods,” but stopped tracking Biden’s false claims after only a year.

  • A 2017 Pew Research Center study found 62% of Trump's media coverage was negative and 5% positive, compared to Barack Obama's 42% positive and 20% negative coverage.

Related: As we mentioned earlier this month, the Biden administration and The New York Times are currently feuding because the White House thinks The Times’ coverage of Trump is too objective.

Bubba’s Two Cents: The core issue is that journalism, especially at prestigious outlets, is dominated by people who tend to think alike - journalists are about 10x more likely to be Democrats than Republicans. This creates blind spots, even though plenty of journalists are smart and aim to be objective.

5. Checking in on Alarmism

One of the arguments for transitioning to renewables is that fossil fuels are going to run out soon, but how true is that really? (Just The News)

A new report from the Institute of Energy Research finds the U.S. has enough oil to last 227 years at current consumption rates. And it’s a similar situation with other fossil fuels.

  • Natural gas: 130 years at current consumption levels.

  • Coal: 485 years.

This contradicts the estimates often cited by environmentalists, which say most fossil fuel reserves will run dry within the next century.

Environmentalists have a history of getting a bit overzealous with their predictions:

  • ThinkProgress, July 2019: “We don’t have 12 years to save the climate. We have 14 months.”

  • French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, May 2014: “We have 500 days to avoid the climate chaos.”

  • Canadian Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, March 2009: “We have hours to act to avert a slow-motion tsunami that could destroy civilization as we know it.”

  • Ecologist Kenneth Watt in 1970: “By the year 2000 if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say,`Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

Bubba’s Two Cents: It’s not crazy to want to move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. But I think a more effective way of approaching the green issue is to take an analytical approach –– in other words, what’s an optimal strategy for making it happen soonest based on a cool-headed review of the data? Instead, we often get a fear-based approach that seems to want to persuade people to take action through alarming messaging.

Did you like an item in today’s edition? Do us a favor and forward it to a friend to help spread the word about $001 News. Also, click here to subscribe today.