Wheeling Intelligencer readers: you may think that you read an unbiased Associated Press assessment of Trump’s first year in office earlier today.
You didn’t. You read a highly-edited AP report that kept the positives while dropping most of the negatives.
Last night, the Associated Press assessed the Trump presidency on a wide range of topics as the president gets ready to deliver his first State of the Union address tonight. Unfortunately for local readers, the Intelligencer edited out much that was neutral or negative while keeping most of what was positive. (36% of the original article was removed.) Here are some examples with the part that was removed from the original in bold.
Under UNEMPLOYMENT: The Intelligencer tells us that the unemployment rate has fallen under Trump’s presidency. However, it drops this comparison to the Obama presidency that provides some context:
The economy added slightly more than 2 million jobs in Trump’s first year, a figure that is close to the 2.2 million jobs created during Obama’s final year in office.
The Intelligencer does print some of the AP’s critical points on RACE RELATIONS but it fails to include a number of the AP’s examples including some of Trump's more controversial comments on race:
More people think race relations have worsened since Trump’s election in November 2016. Back then, 25 percent of those surveyed by the Pew Research Center expressed optimism that having the politically inexperienced New York businessman in the Oval Office would improve relations between the races. By December 2017, the percentage who felt that way had sunk to 8 percent, according to Pew. Forty-six percent in the November 2016 survey said Trump’s election would worsen relations. That figure grew to 60 percent by last December.
Trump has weathered a number of racially charged controversies as a candidate and since taking office, including saying there were “very fine people” on both sides of a white supremacist protest and counterprotest in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer. He most recently dismissed African countries by using a vulgarity that describes a filthy toilet.
On TRADE DEFICITS: the Intelligencer fails to include the AP statistics that document the increase in our trade deficit especially to China and Mexico (I don’t know how you could include the topic and then drop the actual statistics!):
Trump made America’s trade deficits with China and other countries a central tenet of his campaign, vowing to move toward trade that he deems fair and reciprocal to protect the U.S. from being taken advantage of financially. Within days of taking office in 2017, Trump pulled the U.S. out of a sweeping trade pact with 11 Pacific Rim nations. He is renegotiating NAFTA, a decades-old agreement with Canada and Mexico, as well as a separate, bilateral trade pact with South Korea.
The deficit in goods and services was $513.6 billion from January through November 2017. That’s 11.6 percent higher than the $460.2 billion deficit recorded for the same period in 2016, the final year of Obama’s term. The deficit for all of 2016 was $504.8 billion, and the 2017 figure already exceeds that with December’s total still to be counted.
The deficit in goods with China was $116.7 billion for the first 11 months of 2017, up 12.3 percent from the same period in 2016.
With Mexico, the deficit was $65.7 billion, 9.6 percent higher than the same period in 2016.
Finally on the OPIOID EPIDEMIC, the Intelligencer eliminates the last two AP paragraphs which argue that the administration’s efforts have been largely symbolic:
If the Trump administration made any progress on this front, it was mostly in public awareness. A presidential task force, a White House speech and the declaration of a public health emergency shined a spotlight on the number of overdose deaths, but critics say Trump’s gestures are mostly symbolic without new funding from Congress.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy remains without a permanent director after Trump’s first pick withdrew.
Reading the Associated Press’ assessment of Trump’s first year in office, the reader likely concludes that the first year of the Trump presidency has brought a mixed bag of results. Reading the Intelligencer’s version of that article, however, probably leaves the reader with the sense that the Trump presidency has had many more positives than negatives. And that’s the point of these changes. Wheeling’s “newspapers” are not about informing the public; they are about propagandizing for President Trump and the Republican Party.