Tuesday Edition


1. The New News

In a world where most people already think the media is biased, would it be better if news outlets just dropped the pretense of objectivity altogether? (Semafor)

That’s the idea driving Courier Newsroom, a network of local news sites funded by Democratic organizations. The company doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a partisan outlet trying to score wins for Dems. An analysis by Semafor found Courier News spending on Facebook ads to its stories regularly spikes during major elections.

Chart: Semafor

Courier’s mission is in line with a trend toward viewing objectivity as a shield wielded by the privileged. It’s sparked the rise of so-called “advocacy journalism,” with newsrooms hiring “justice and race” reporters. “Objectivity, to me, has been a silencing force,” trans journalist Lewis Raven Wallace said at a panel discussion in 2022.

Courier Newsroom publisher Tara McGowan: Objectivity has always been a fallacy. Every news organization in this country makes decisions about what to cover, how to cover it and how often to cover it. And anyone who claims different is full of sh*t. … And I think that the reason that trust in media in this country is at an unprecedented historic low is because people never believed that people were objective or media was objective. And so to hear that people stand for certain things, whether they agree with them or not, that can cultivate trust.”

It’s not just Democrats. In 2014, the National Republican Campaign Committee was criticized for creating “fake news” sites that attacked Dem House candidates. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has used a small online news outlet to circumvent the legacy media. Top Republican campaigns in Illinois reportedly used an online portal to request stories from media outlets posing as local newspapers.

Bubba’s Two Cents: News” that’s directly bought and paid for by political parties will make some level of small impact, but I’m not betting on political campaign operatives to change the media landscape. Ultimately, they’re hiding behind a facade, just like much of the rest of the media does with objectivity, and they’re fooling very, very few. You’re not going to win an audience’s trust by posing as a news site when you’re really just a mouthpiece for politicians.

2. This Election Is Going to Be Painful

Americans are finally sitting up and paying attention to the 2024 election race, but neither side is particularly thrilled about it. (Puck)

First, the common ground, according to a new Echelon Insights poll:

  • 52% of voters are paying more attention to the campaign compared to the end of last year.

  • 61% of likely voters feel frustrated, anxious, disenchanted, or indifferent about the 2024 election.

  • Only 14% of surveyed voters feel hopeful, and just 4% feel energized about the upcoming Biden vs. Trump election.

  • 70% of likely voters oppose using campaign donations to cover legal fees (something Donald Trump is very guilty of doing), including 51% of Republicans.

  • More than 60% of voters say fundraising texts and emails don’t motivate them to donate, a sign of growing annoyance with a common fundraising tactic.

Democrats are particularly gripped by anxiety, while Republicans are more likely to say they’re “frustrated,” according to the poll.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Maybe it’s the sense of stagnation that comes with a rematch between a 77-year-old candidate and an 80-year-old, maybe it’s exhaustion with the constant bickering that’s plagued U.S. politics for years and only seems to be getting worse, maybe it’s burnout from sensational media coverage. The outlier here is if you find yourself psyched about the upcoming Biden-Trump contest…

3. What Losing Faith In Institutions Does to a Man

Tucker’s Carlson’s intellectual journey over the past two decades has in some ways mirrored America’s.

A few examples of his thoughts from his appearance on the mega-popular “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast:

  • Intel agencies are probably blackmailing U.S. congressmen.

  • Joe Rogan’s platforming of InfoWars host Alex Jones was a “revolutionary act.”

  • Republicans who defend the U.S. dropping the atomic bomb on the Japanese are “evil.”

Tucker in 1999, reacting to political commentator Pat Buchanan’s criticisms of Israel, which had been called antisemitic: “Someone who’s so truthful that he’s being hunted down by the conspiracy that runs Washington? I mean, it’s all a bit much. Maybe Pat Buchanan just says things that are kind of kooky and that’s why he’s being criticized.”

Tucker in 2012 on whether there’s evidence for 9/11 conspiracy theories: “[No evidence] that I’ve ever seen. And I’ve done a lot of shows on it and read a lot about it. I know there are a ton of coincidences. There always are.”

Tucker in 2012 on Alex Jones: “Alex Jones? F**k you! Alex Jones freaks me out.”

Carlson is far from the only one who’s reconsidered their confidence in our government and institutions.

  • In 2006, Americans ranked highest in trust in national institutions among G7 countries (the world’s most advanced economies), tied with Britain, according to Gallup polling.

  • By 2023, America's trust in its national institutions dropped to the lowest among G7 countries.

  • Over 20 years, American confidence in national government fell from the highest to the lowest in the G7.

Tucker’s comments to Joe Rogan on why he initially dismissed 9/11 conspiracy theories give some insight into why his outlook has changed so dramatically: “So when I think looking back, the reason that I did was because if you call that into question, you had to ask a lot of other really obvious questions you didn't want to deal with. And you might arrive at the conclusion that a lot of your most basic assumptions are false and that you've been had. And it's just too destabilizing.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: Tucker is just one guy who’s become a rallying point for many Americans because he speaks directly to their loss of trust in authorities they once relied on. In the grand scheme of things, the weird stuff he says is not the problem. The problem is what drove him (and millions of Americans) to lose faith in our institutions so quickly.

4. Checking In on Marriage & Kids

The long decline in marriage rates has led us to a historic milestone: For the first time, the share of childless single Americans (18-55) is greater than the percentage of married adults with children. (Institute for Family Studies)

Chart: Institute for Family Studies

A number of pro-marriage books have recently picked up lengthy coverage in the pages of The New York Times, The Atlantic and NPR.

  • A recent Gallup survey found married people are 16 percentage points more likely to rate their lives positively compared to those who have never married.

  • Studies have found married couples tend to be healthier, wealthier and live longer.

But studies also show the growing share of single Americans are pretty OK with their lot in life.

  • 53% of Gen Z, 59% of Millennials, 64% of Gen X, and 73% of Baby Boomers say they enjoy being single more than being in a relationship.

Bubba’s Two Cents: There are reasons big and small to care about whether Americans are getting married and having kids less than before — economic, societal, etc. And while freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want it can be awfully appealing, there are major tradeoffs. For instance, loneliness has gotten so bad in America our surgeon general has declared it a “public health epidemic.”

5. Revisiting the 2017 Tax Cuts

AEI senior fellow Phil Gramm testified before the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month on the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. (AEI)

According to Gramm:

  • Following the tax cuts, real median household income rose by a record $5,220, the largest increase since 1967, while the poverty rate experienced its most substantial drop in 50 years, hitting an all-time low.

  • Reducing the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% contributed to a 3% increase in gross national product in 2018, marking the highest growth rate in 13 years.

The benefits of lower corporate tax rates flowed largely to American workers and consumers. For instance, a recent Treasury study showed that 92.6 million families pay more in corporate taxes than in personal income taxes.

Gramm: “Corporate tax rates receive less attention than personal income tax rates only because Americans don’t understand that corporations do not pay taxes. … Most economic studies suggest that 50-70% of a corporate tax increase is borne by workers and 30-50% borne by investors.”

On the other hand, critics say the tax cuts had their shortcomings.

  • Wealthy bias: Top 1% of earners received an average tax cut of $61,090 compared to less than $500 for the bottom 60%​​, according to the Tax Policy Center.

  • Deficit increase: The tax cuts’ projected cost of $1.9 trillion over ten years, significantly increased the federal deficit, according to the left-leaning Brookings Institution.

  • Underperformance: The tax cuts resulted in only modest economic improvements that did not match the fiscal losses, and revenue fell $275 billion short of projections in fiscal year 2018.

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.