NY Times Condescends to Trump Voters on Page 1: He’s No Friend of the ‘Little Guy’

December 19th, 2017 2:00 PM

The New York Times put a condescending, left-wing populist screed disguised as “news analysis” on Monday’s front-page. Reporters Michael Tackett and Jim Tankersley misleadingly assume the tax-cut bill moving through Congress is a sop to the wealthy, then use that false fact to portray Trump as a hypocrite for pushing it, in the would-be expose “Ally of the ‘Little Guy’ In Words, Not Actions”:

President Trump rarely misses a chance to offer himself up as the champion of “forgotten” Americans, men and women who feel ignored or derided by elites and believe, as he frequently says, that the “system is rigged” against them.

“You will never be ignored again,” he said this month at a campaign-style rally in Pensacola, Fla., a phrase that became the banner headline the next morning in the local newspaper.

To make their case, the reporters have to sign on to the myth that this is only a tax cut for the rich, when in fact there is a progressive tilt in the bill:

But this week, the president hopes to sign with great fanfare a tax bill that would deliver its largest benefits, not only in dollar terms but also as a percentage increase in income, to corporations and the wealthiest Americans....

While Mr. Trump’s insurgent populist message helped send him to the White House, he has yet to fulfill his promise to storm the castle of the establishment. In fact, in many ways he has helped prop it up.


Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, pushed back on the criticism, pointing to economic gains in the last year as evidence that Mr. Trump had helped ordinary Americans.

But the reporters’ anti-Trump narrative relies on ignoring a booming economy so far under Trump that is benefiting those same “little guys” they claim he is ignoring.

And the views of Mr. Trump among his stalwart supporters are not likely to be altered by in-the-weeds regulatory rollbacks, or even tax breaks that benefit the wealthy. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said that while “elites” in places like Washington might find dissonance between what Mr. Trump says and does, his supporters are most likely viewing him primarily through the lens of a steadily improving economy.


The tax bill could ultimately make a political difference. Millions of middle-class taxpayers are likely to see their taxes go up, though the typical middle-class taxpayer would see a tax cut next year. And the structure of the tax cut tends to favor owners of businesses over drawers of paychecks. While the tax cuts for corporations would be permanent, those for individuals carry an expiration date. Special interests preserved numerous tax breaks and carved out new ones.


If economic growth, buoyed by the corporate tax cut, does show up in workers’ paychecks, he could be vindicated. If not, a tax cut that polling indicates is already unpopular might become even more so.

The Times has nervily mocked the tax bill’s unpopularity in polling, while ignoring its own furiously biased push to make it unpalatable through its own reporting.

The Times stretched and jumped to whatever conclusions would make the tax plan look like a windfall for business:

On Thursday, Mr. Trump congratulated the billionaire Rupert Murdoch on his deal to sell most of 21st Century Fox to the Walt Disney Company. While it will be a financial boon to Mr. Murdoch, analysts say the deal could lead to hundreds of job losses.

The same day, the president showcased what he called the “most far-reaching regulatory reform” in American history. His deregulatory efforts have been cheered by businesses, and economic indicators have shown increased business confidence, but environmental groups and consumer advocates say the rollback has left Americans with fewer protections.

Being the champion of the “little guy” is a staple of presidential rhetoric, and wealthy occupants of the Oval Office like Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy have used it to great effect. But Mr. Trump has taken it to a new level, and Democrats have been quick to note that there is little in his background to suggest any basis for empathy for those who live paycheck to paycheck.


Mr. Trump’s campaign-style rallies, like the one in Pensacola, are packed with supporters who sign up for tickets in advance, and he rarely hears dissident voices. He knows his audience, and he almost always returns to the theme of being the guardian of the working class.

But others see a yawning gap between the emerging list of winners in the Trump era and the little guy he pledged to help.

Mike Walden, a retired Teamster from Ohio who drove a truck for more than 30 years, visited Washington this past week to try to lobby for pension security. He did not vote for Mr. Trump, but he has voted for Republicans like his home-state senator, Rob Portman. The president, he said, has done little to help the workers in his union.


“Where is this ‘I am for the working man’? I don’t see anything there,” Mr. Walden said, adding: “What has he done for the working man? I am not totally against him. He’s president of the United States. But on the same hand, you don’t get elected by the working class and then throw them under the bus.”

The Times is underselling Walden, presumably for effect: He is not merely a humble retired truck driver but president of the National United Committee to Protect Pensions, a little fact the Columbus Dispatch managed to sniff out, if not The New York Times.