Monday Edition


1. The Media Can’t Help Themselves When It Comes to Trump

Bubba’s Two Cents: On the recent controversy over Donald Trump’s “bloodbath” remarks, National Review contributor A.G. Hamilton might have put it best when he said, “Trump says a ton of legitimately offensive and newsworthy things, but the mainstream press can’t seem to help themselves but focus on misrepresenting something he said, thereby losing credibility with any non-committed audience.”

Trump’s comments at a speech in Ohio on Saturday make clear he’s talking about a “bloodbath” in the context of U.S. auto-manufacturing. (NBC News)

Trump: We’re going to put a 100% tariff on every single car that comes across the line, and you’re not going to be able to sell [cars built in foreign plants] if I get elected. Now if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole — that’s gonna be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country. That will be the least of it. But they’re not going to sell those cars. They’re building massive factories.”

But most news outlets removed the vital context in framing or headlining the story:


Top Democrats, including President Biden and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pounced on Trump’s comments. And like much of the media, they ignored that he was talking about economic harm to automakers and workers.

This is pretty rich. A day after Trump’s speech was widely misinterpreted in the press, The New York Times published a report warning of the danger of “disinformation” coming from Trump and his allies.

There are many examples of media outlets being so thirsty to attack Trump, they end up reaching for downright silly criticisms.

Biased media coverage of Trump has undoubtedly played a role in this happening:

2. Kevin McCarthy’s Parting Gift

Bubba’s Two Cents: Donald Trump made China’s threat to the U.S. a mainstream issue. But it’s former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s farsightedness and deep knowledge of Congressional inner workings that laid the groundwork for what could be one of the biggest legislative wins on the China issue. The irony is McCarthy was ousted last year by hardline conservatives who viewed him as too “establishment” and claimed he was an impediment to the “MAGA” agenda.

The House voted 352-65 last week in favor of a bill that would force the sale of Chinese-owned TikTok, which China-hawks view as a national security threat. (WSJ)

It’s a rare bipartisan win in an era defined by Congressional gridlock and antagonism. President Biden already signaled he’s ready to sign the bill if it clears the Senate.

There were multiple efforts to get a similar bill passed last year, but none of them succeeded. What changed this time, according to McCarthy’s former deputy chiefs of staff, was their boss using his understanding of Congressional structure to get around the politics and red tape that hampered past attempts. McCarthy established the House Select Committee on China at the start of the 118th Congress, and it’s been the key to getting the bipartisan TikTok bill across the field.

Matthew Sparks and John Leganski: “The structure of House committees—with jurisdictional lines essentially unchanged since the 1970s—doesn’t lend itself to efficient legislating. Turf battles emerge among and within standing committees, stalling good legislation in its tracks. … When it comes to an issue like China, more than a dozen different committees could claim legislative ownership. That’s far too many for the coordinated approach needed to tackle such a complex issue. Enter the Select Committee on China, which has been a clearinghouse to investigate and propose policy solutions that could be turned into legislation by the appropriate committees of jurisdiction—in this case, the subject-matter experts at House Energy and Commerce led by Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.). This is a model both independent of and cooperative with the current committee structure in Congress.”

3. What Immigration Says About Your 2024 Choices

Bubba’s Two Cents: Immigration crystallizes your options this year. The way each candidate is responding to the issue tells you a good deal about them. It seems like Donald Trump and many Republicans are being purposely provocative to rile people up. On the other end, President Biden and the Democrats look silly when they clutch their pearls in response to people saying mean things about criminals.

At an Ohio rally Saturday, Donald Trump referred to immigrant criminals as “not people,” prompting outrage from liberals and media. (The Daily Beast)

Trump: “Young people, they’re in jail for years –– If you call them people. I don’t know if you call them people. In some cases, they’re not people, in my opinion. But I’m not allowed to say that because the radical left says that’s a terrible thing to say. … I’ve seen the humanity, and these are bad people. And we have to stop it. We can’t have another [Laken Riley]. They’re sending their prisoners to see us. … These are hardened criminals.”

Earlier this month, Biden said he regretted using the word “illegal” to describe the undocumented immigrant accused of murdering Georgia nursing student Laken Riley.

  • “I shouldn’t have used ‘illegal.’ It’s ‘undocumented,’” Biden said, following backlash from immigrant rights groups and fellow Democrats.

Trump has a long history of inflammatory immigration rhetoric and Biden has frequently criticized him for it.

With the border crisis still raging, recent polling shows American voters’ top concern is the number of migrants entering the country.

4. Administrative Bloat Comes to Public School

Bubba’s Two Cents: It’s an extremely bad look when the education system appears to be set up to benefit bureaucrats over students. There’s a rising tide of dissatisfaction with public schooling in America, and a lot of it may stem from the perception that people in the school system are in it for themselves more than for the kids.

A data analysis by Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy shows more and more public school staff are being hired, while less and less students are enrolling.

Since the 2016-2017 school year, public schools have added roughly 300,000 employees. Over the same time period, enrollment has dropped by about 1 million students. Most of the people hired have been administrative staff, not teachers.

The ratio of administrative staff to students and teachers has been growing for decades.

Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn in 2022: “[A]s the numbers show, the public education system works to the detriment of teachers and for the benefit of bureaucrats. The teachers unions themselves, some of the largest of the public employee unions, claim to be defending teachers and children. That cannot be more than half true, given that they are defending an administrative system that has grown by leaps and bounds while the number of teachers has grown very little.”

5. The GOP’s Influencer Era

Bubba’s Two Cents: Congressional resignations are reaching unprecedented levels, with multiple lawmakers citing dysfunction as the reason they’re bowing out. It’s a sign of how the job has changed, and the rise of the attention economy has been a big reason why it’s changed. In the GOP, the shift has been particularly notable post-Trump, and many lawmakers have complained they came to Washington to pass laws, not become social media influencers.

Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is facing a lawsuit and a potential ethics inquiry for promoting a Texas dental practice in a viral social media ad. (WaPo)

It’s not clear whether Noem was compensated for the ad, but if she was, she may have run afoul of Federal Trade Commission regulations.

But what’s more telling is what the ad says about the photogenic South Dakota governor’s status as a minor league celebrity and influencer. A few days after the Texas dental practice ad, Noem posted a video promoting Fit My Feet, a custom insoles company.

Conservative journalist Mary Katharine Ham reacting to the Fit My Feet ad: “I would say this is weird but I guess it is also just the logical conclusion of politicians being celebs/influencers.”

Noem is far from the only GOP politician who has recognized the importance of getting attention online.

  • Former GOP congressman Madison Cawthorn once told colleagues he’d built his staff “around comms rather than legislation.”

  • From the time he was sworn into office in 2017 to April 2021, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., appeared on Fox News at least 179 times.

  • A leaked staff handbook for Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., showed staffers were expected to book Mace at least 15 TV appearances per week.

  • A former senior aide said of Mace’s decision to vote to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy: “She saw the votes on the board and said, ‘Fuck it, I’m just gonna vote for it just so I can go on TV and talk about it.’”

And of course there’s the big dog himself: Donald Trump. No politician better embodies the power of media attention than Trump, who speaks directly to supporters on platforms like Twitter and Truth Social, and is said to obsessively follow cable news.

By the way, Democrats have caught the celeb/influencer politician bug, too.


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