This plays into two important issues: crime and economics.
Start with the crime. When something bad happens, like an increase in murders, the media tells us that it’s happening and how we understand it too: why it happened, what it means, and who can be blamed.
As you probably know, murders increased significantly when the epidemic started. Here are some of the acting characters: In Jacksonville, Florida.There were 131 murders in 2019, rising to 144 in 2020, then declining to 109 in 2021. Fort Worth, There were 71 murders in 2019, which rose to 115 in 2020 and 118 in 2021, the highest the city has seen in decades.
I chose these two cities because they have roughly the same population as San Francisco—even though both Jacksonville and Fort Worth have Republican mayors and state attorneys general. However, they commit far more murders than San Francisco, which registered 41 in 2019, 48 in 2020 and 56 in 2021.
If you don’t remember the national media headlines that state “Strict Republican prosecutors increase in defense of crime,” it’s because there hasn’t been any such coverage. However, there were many stories like This is from the Wall Street Journal: “The attorney general’s progressive movement has been tested by rising crime and angry voters.”
The main subject of that and many others is San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Bowden, who Facing a well-funded impeachment vote Tuesday. He was elected in 2019, and like his Republican counterparts, he did not drop the murders.
San Francisco’s politics, like every big city, is very complex. Bowden had been in feud with the city police since before he took office; There are allegations that the police actively I tried to sabotage for him. The problems that anger city residents — especially property crime and homelessness — go back decades.
But in the national media, this story was framed as a progressive prosecutor whose liberal political ideas failed and produced a backlash. The fact that there were few prosecutors, and that the increase in crime occurred everywhere in the country, is buried in paragraph 17, if it is mentioned at all.
What that means is that the story that Republican politicians and conservative media want people to believe – crime is out of control, and it’s all Democrats’ fault – is reinforced by the media narrative. This narrative is not necessarily wrong about the particular facts it includes, but it does add a significantly misleading picture. And if Bowden loses the summons, there will be a flurry of stories about how even voters in liberal cities reject the liberal approach to crime prevention.
Now let’s move on to the economy. at recent days The Economist-YouGov Poll, 55% of Americans said we’re in a recession, which is insane and completely inexplicable. Among the people who voted for Donald Trump in 2020, the number was 74 percent. Even 40 percent of Biden voters said we’re in a recession.
We sure Not stagnant. The economy has created more than 8 million jobs since Joe Biden took office in January of last year, an absolutely staggering pace of job creation; The unemployment rate is now only 3.6 percent.
Of course, most people don’t know the technical meaning of the word “recession” (generally defined as a major downturn in the economy, or one that lasts for two or more consecutive quarters). To the average citizen, “recession” just means “the economy is really bad right now.”
The real state of the economy is complex. On the one hand, there has been almost no better time in the last half century or so to find a job and get a raise. On the other hand, inflation is particularly high gas prices.
You may notice that inflation is something people experience in their own lives, seeing gas prices on giant banners everywhere, and that’s true. But media narratives tell us how to frame and extrapolate the things we see in our lives, and how to fit them into a broader picture of the state and the world.
Regular news consumers see nearly a billion stories every day About gas prices, complete with endless snapshots of gas station signs and interviews with Joe and Jane American at the pump, shaking their heads about how much this is eating into their budgets. This kind of attention suggests that high gas prices are not just an unfortunate thing that we hope will soon ease, but are causing catastrophic suffering – an idea then reinforced by Republicans’ constant attacks on the president for not solving the problem, when in reality there is not much he can do to control in prices.
The lesson from these two cases is not that Republicans can only dictate any story line to reporters. Every time they succeed in doing this, there are many times they try and fail. But in two of the biggest stories right now, the media is giving them exactly what they want.