How AP Frames Who's to Blame for the Issues of the Day Is Definitely Noticed

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Posted: May 18, 2022 12:00 PM
How AP Frames Who's to Blame for the Issues of the Day Is Definitely Noticed

Source: AP Photo/Chris Carlson

The Associated Press tweeted quite the take late last week regarding issues plaguing the country, primarily inflation and the baby formula shortage. As the mainstream media is prone to do, it focused on how Republicans are reacting and putting the issue on Democrats, the party that controls both chambers of Congress and the White House. 

The tweet is an expanded take on Paul J. Weber's headline, "GOP's new midterm attack: Blaming Biden for formula shortage." 

As our friends at Twitchy pointed out, people were quick to take aim. There were 2,200 replies, and of the 664 retweets, 526 were quote retweets expressing disdain. 

From Weber's opening: 

Republicans aiming to retake control of Congress have already sharpened a message centering around blaming Democrats for high inflation, expensive gas, migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and violent crime in some cities. 

But GOP leaders landed on an issue this week that it hopes could prove even more potent: tying President Joe Biden to a shortage in baby formula.

Parents are suddenly running into bare supermarket and pharmacy shelves in part because of ongoing supply disruptions and a recent safety recall. But in an election year that was already shaping up to be rocky for Democrats, Republicans sense that the shortage could prove to be an especially tangible way to argue that Biden is incapable of quickly solving problems confronting the U.S.

Not only are Democrats the party in power, but their policies are to blame for these issues, though the Biden administration has blamed a variety of other sources, including and especially Vladimir Putin and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. These issues have predated the late February invasion, though. There is no mention of that blame game in Weber's reporting. 

Further, when it comes to the baby formula shortage, the White House's poor response is mentioned in Weber's report, but there is zero mention of how the Republican Party has been warning of this issue since February. 

Democrats, their allies in the mainstream media, and Twitter users took to blaming Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who also serves as the House Republican Conference chairwoman and is briefly mentioned in the AP piece. 

Not only is the Republican Party rightfully looking to appropriately blame the party in power, who is at fault, while they are on track to take control back of Congress, so are many Americans. 

Inflation is a top issue, according to multiple polls from FiveThirtyEight, Gallup, and Pew Research

Last month's CBS News/YouGov poll, which Spencer and I highlighted, shows that just 31 percent of respondents favor how Biden has handled inflation. That same poll shows that 65 percent of respondents think Biden could be doing more on gas prices, which have continued to go up to their highest ever. 

Immigration has consistently been an issue where Biden polls poorly. That CBS poll showed Biden with a 38 percent approval rating on immigration. Data from RealClearPolitics (RCP) for April 8-May 16 shows Biden at a 35.2 percent approval rating on the issue. 

The president also receives low marks on "violent crime," which Weber seeks to downplay by mentioning it as an issue "in some issues." Biden has a 39 percent approval rating in the CBS poll mentioned above. 

Weber does note that "Democrats believe outrage over the U.S. Supreme Court possibly ending the right to an abortion could galvanize women and other key voters, and thwart or at least lessen a Republican wave in November," but voters still prefer to focus on inflation, as an illuminating poll from FiveThirtyEight revealed on Tuesday. 

Further, when voters know the truth about the Democratic position on abortion, which is to not only codify the Roe v. Wade decision but expand it, they are much less likely to support it. More Republicans (6 percent) than Democrats (4 percent) cared about abortion, according to the FiveThirtyEight poll. 

The Republican Party is already poised to gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives and is now increasingly likely to gain control of the U.S. Senate. This is a matter of historical trends that the president's party in power loses seats for his first midterm election. Biden's particularly low approval ratings in the polls and the high number of Democrats retiring are further hurting the Democrats' chances when it comes to any hope of remaining in power.