The Latest From Hackwatch

USA Today Helps Corporate Landlords Deflect Blame For Housing Crisis

Don’t fall for Big Real Estate’s self-serving claims about “renter fraud”

Vishal Shankar and Andrea Beaty, March 17th, 2024

April’s CPI numbers proved, yet again, that rent is a major driver of the inflation hurting Americans’ pocketbooks across the country. “Rentflation” isn’t some natural phenomenon that comes out of nowhere; as tenant organizers have long argued (and the RealPage scandal proves), rent is being driven up by corporate landlords padding their profits with no regard for decency… Read more

Biden Can Run & Win on Big Oil GOP Donors Colluding to Raise Gas Prices

The FTC’s revelation of an oil price-fixing scheme by GOP donors and foreign powers places blame for economic pain where it belongs: on the profit-maximizing fossil fuel industry.

Kenny Stancil, May 10th, 2024

It’s well-established that recent inflation has been propelled to a large extent by corporate price-gouging, not workers’ modestly growing wages. It’s rare, however, that we see text messages showing a Republican fossil fuel tycoon conspiring with domestic and foreign oil producers to fleece Americans. But that’s exactly what happened last Thursday when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) exposed how Scott Sheffield, the founder and ex-CEO of fracking giant Pioneer Natural Resources, colluded with U.S.-based drillers, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and OPEC+ to constrain the global supply of oil. The production cuts he organized contributed to higher gasoline and home heating prices while lining the pockets of fossil fuel executives… Read more

Keep Yellen’ At Larry Summers

The Treasury Secretary Is Right To Point Out Summers’ Record Of Failed Predictions, And Other Democrats Should Too.

Henry Burke, May 3rd, 2024

On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stood before the House Ways and Means Committee and said what we at Hackwatch have been trying to get across for almost two years: Larry Summers is often wrong. Specifically, Yellen said of Summers that “he’s a person who’s been wrong in the past.” She then proceeded to point out that Summers had once said only a massive recession could calm inflation but that has proved to be manifestly untrue. For this, the unobtrusive and moderate Yellen seems like a maverick… Read more

Another Win For The UAW Means Another Loss For Centrist Pundits

Will the auto union’s latest victory get Yglesias to reconsider his position on labor?

Julian Scoffield, April 26th, 2024

Last Friday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) notched a big win by unionizing a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The election was a landslide, with 73 percent of eligible workers voting in favor of joining the union. This historic drive rectifies two prior failed attempts in 2014 and 2019, and marks the first time the UAW has unionized a Southern auto facility by election since the 1940s… Read more

New Website Takes a Closer Look at Friends of the Court

The SCOTUS Justices’ billionaire benefactors have an oft-overlooked means of peddling influence: amicus briefs.

Will Royce and Vishal Shankar, April 19th, 2024

One year ago this month, ProPublica launched a groundbreaking series of investigations into the rampant corruption and conflicts of interest at the Supreme Court. Beginning with a bombshell exposé on Clarence Thomas’ friendship with billionaire Harlan Crow, the ProPublica team (and The New York Times’ Abbie VanSickle and Steve Eder) revealed that the Court’s conservative justices routinely accept undisclosed luxury gifts and trips from right-wing oligarchs like the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo, libertarian billionaire Charles Koch, and hedge fund tycoon Paul Singer. Their findings have further eroded the Court’s already-dismal approval ratings, led the Senate Judiciary Committee to authorize subpoenas for Crow and Leo (and issue one last week to the latter), and prompted Chief Justice John Roberts to issue a flimsy “ethics code” for the justices in a failed attempt to save face… Read more

Let’s Be Direct (File)

As the Taxman Cometh, The IRS’ Enemies Throw Everything and the Kitchen Sink

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, April 12th, 2024

Yesterday, I filed my taxes using the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) direct file tool. As seems to be generally the case, it worked well for me and I was mostly happy with the experience, despite some frustrating little quibbles. For instance, in the “review” stage of filing at the bottom of each section you review, there’s a button that says “return to checklist.” It’s the biggest button and the only one at the bottom of the section you look over, so you’d think it would direct you back to the list of sections you’re reviewing. However, it actually takes you back to the home screen where you put all of the information in in the first place and you have to go and reopen the review section again. To avoid that, I simply clicked a smaller link hidden in the top left (which you can see at the start of reviewing any given part, but not at the end unless you scroll back up) that said “go back.” It really annoyed me for maybe five minutes until I figured it out, but it turns out you also can skip the entire review step, so the frustration was a little self-inflicted. Other than that, it was smooth sailing. And, unlike with TurboTax Free (what I’ve previously used), there were never random pop-ups that tried to dupe me into paying for add-on services I didn’t need… Read more

Maybe Financial Regulators Shouldn’t See The Best In Everyone

Sometimes it’s not a lack of education. It’s just fraud.

Henry Burke, April 5th, 2024

Last Friday, former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair decided to offer her two cents on the broader conversation surrounding the recent sentencing of Sam Bankman-Fried . Her takeaway from SBF’s trial and conviction on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy? We need financial literacy classes for children… Read more

Furman’s Frustration

He’s Mad That Robert Rubin’s Gang No Longer Reigns Supreme

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, March 29th, 2024

Jason Furman is someone that we mention fairly often in our economic media coverage, but not someone on whom we spend a whole lot of dedicated column space. Honestly, as bad as his views often are, they’re bad in a very normal way. He doesn’t seem to have as vast an inscrutable jumble of corporate ties as Larry Summers, nor is he filmed calling for workers to get canned while relaxing on a beach. Generally, Furman’s faults are largely lapses due to the inapplicability of his preferred traditional macroeconomic framework to the real world. His scandals are goofy and demonstrate a corporatist bent— notably this notorious defense of Walmart — but they aren’t outright evil or (potentially) illegal like some of the other hacks we cover. And he isn’t out to cut social spending into oblivion, like the Committee For a Responsible Budget (though he isn’t exactly a reliable defender of it, either)… Read more

Crypto Is Hoping You Won’t Notice Their Redoubled Influence Campaign

The media has done a good job highlighting the cryptocurrency industry’s continued attempts to influence elections but crypto’s hiring of political insiders continues to go unnoticed.

Henry Burke, March 22nd, 2024

When FTX collapsed in November of 2022 it seemed as if the crypto industry’s influence in Washington would quickly become a thing of the past. Sam Bankman-Fried and his co-CEO Ryan Salame had been massive political donors, with Salame donating primarily to Republicans and SBF donating publicly to Democrats while surreptitiously funding Republicans as well. In the course of the 2022 election cycle they had propelled the crypto industry to prominence in DC through massive lobbying and fundraising efforts. After November 2022, with their company dead and SBF in jail, it seemed as if the industry’s influence would once again fade to irrelevance. Unfortunately for anyone not engaged in the fraud-riddled industry, that is not the case. The industry has continued to worm their way into power without their hoodie-sporting (30 year old) wunderkind… Read more

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of Touch

A quick roundup of some pundits striking out from their ivory towers to completely and utterly miss the point.

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, March 18th, 2024

Really Rampell?

In a follow-up to her shambolic defense of Wendy’s, Catherine Rampell recently returned to her opinion column in The Washington Post to chide Democrats for elevating a tweet from Cookie Monster (of Sesame Street fame) complaining about shrinkflation. And in her signature style, Rampell hurled retorts from the ivory tower, always, of course, keeping from hitting the actual point. As in Rampell’s last piece, this column’s arguments are woven from a blend of misrepresentations, condescension, and flippantly (probably purposeful), horrible reading comprehension… Read more

Responding To Larry Summers

We asked the media’s most prominent economist about his many corporate entanglements. His defense? Stop asking questions.

Henry Burke, March 8th, 2024

Last week, Revolving Door Project’s Executive Director, Jeff Hauser, published an op-ed in the Harvard Crimson. The piece highlighted Professor Larry Summers’ numerous corporate jobs, and the conflicts of interest that they create. Despite clearly not complying with Harvard policy regarding conflict of interest disclosure, Summers responded to the Crimson’s publication of the piece with an indignant letter to the editor. The letter is seemingly incredulous that the editors of the Crimson would publish anything calling Summers out, and attempts to cast aspersions on Hauser’s piece, implying it is somehow untrue or dishonest. This is yet another instance of Summers providing a veneer of disclosure in an attempt to deflect attention away from his lack of real disclosure. Used to receiving deference from the press, Summers is playing to the refs, expecting a whistle to save him from public scrutiny. It’s worth examining his efforts in expectation of future flopping attempts… Read more

A Decade-Long Week And SOTU Thoughts

Economic stories you may have missed in this week’s freneticism, plus our initial reaction to Biden’s big speech.

Vishal Shankar, March 8th, 2024

Between the Supreme Court’s Trump v. Anderson ruling, Super Tuesday, and last night’s State of the Union address (somehow, George Santos returned), it’s been a decade of a week. So we thought we’d first catch you up on some wonky economic stories you may have missed… Read more

Larry Summers’ Undisclosed Corporate Ties Threaten Harvard’s Credibility

This piece was originally published as an op-ed in the pages of The Harvard Crimson.

Jeff Hauser, March 1st, 2024

Americans of all political persuasions hate the revolving door between government and corporate America. And with good reason: Conflicts of interest threaten to privatize governance, undermining confidence that government is by and for the broader public.

But revolving door issues aren’t limited to the government. They can plague universities too, with much the same corrosive effects.

Thanks to current University Professor and former University President Lawrence H. Summers, they exist right here at Harvard… Read More

Departing RealPage Exec’s Flimsy Rant Against Rent Control

As he leaves the scandal-plagued firm, Jay Parsons offers one last defense of rent-gougers.

Vishal Shankar and Andrea Beaty, March 1st, 2024

If you’re a regular reader of this newsletter, you’ll be familiar with real estate tech firm RealPage. According to a bombshell ProPublica investigation, RealPage’s rent-setting software YieldStar has helped corporate landlords illegally collude to keep rents artificially high… Read more

On Larry And Ledes

Larry Summers’ latest departure raises questions new and old. And we wish Politico had buried this lede, preferably at least six feet deep.

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis and Hannah Story Brown, February 23rd, 2024

As we pointed out earlier this week, our good pal Larry Summers suddenly jumped ship earlier this month from Block (formerly Square), Jack Dorsey’s payment processing company. The move came as a surprise, with Summers abandoning a board seat he’s held since 2011 well before the term was up… Read more

Celebrating A Year Of All In

Let’s Examine The Tech Dufuses Who’ve Become Twitter’s Economic Pundits As A Result Of Elon’s Algorithm Fixing

Henry Burke, February 9th, 2024

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter (we refuse to call it X) has changed the site a lot. Despite his promises to end the bots, they’re now ever-present. Dumb guys paying for blue checkmarks now comprise the top replies to every tweet no matter how moronic their reply. And Twitter now rivals 4Chan for the internet’s most racist place. But perhaps one of the most consequential changes of Musk’s Twitter was his decision to promote the podcast that perfectly encapsulates the Silicon Valley dunce: All In… Read more

Conspiracy (Taylor’s Version)

On Conservative Crazies, The Media Definition of “Economist,” And Our Humble Little Clown Show

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, February 2nd, 2024

Welcome to February! For today’s Hack Watch, we’ve got a series of quick hits for you. 

It’s a fun roundup. And no, the title isn’t clickbait! We know everyone relies on us for all the latest Swiftie gossip. Let’s dive right in… Read more

The Ambassador for Crypto

Sean Patrick Maloney, an adviser to Coinbase, is nominated as the U.S. representative to the OECD, which is building regulatory frameworks for crypto.

Henry Burke, January 19th, 2024

It’s been more than three months since Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) temporarily stepped down as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in light of his indictment for allegedly taking cash and gold bars in return for political favors. Now, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) has the difficult task of restoring credibility to a committee that was led for years by a man alleged to have been accepting bribes from a foreign nation… Read more

AI Evangelists Won’t Stop Highlighting The Danger Of Their Technology. Can 2024 Be The Year Journalists Stop Parroting Their Claims?

Can the media learn something from the crypto bubble and start interrogating those espousing revolutionary technological progress?

Henry Burke, January 12th, 2024

The veneer of technological utopianism espoused by the proponents of cryptocurrency and NFTs has been tarnished, leaving American media with a void in their coverage. With once-popular crypto fixtures like Sam Bankman-Fried, Coinbase, and Binance relegated to courtroom battles, the media has turned to a new technological savior to fill their quota of fawning profiles and apocryphal predictions of doom: Artificial Intelligence (AI)… Read more

Shame on WSJ for Distorting Seniors’ Economic Well-Being to Push Social Security Cuts

Just days after House Speaker Mike Johnson reiterated his desire to slash crucial benefits, the newspaper allowed a pair of Hoover fellows to embellish the material circumstances of elderly Americans.

Kenny Stancil, January 5th, 2024

A couple of months ago, freshly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced his plans to “immediately’” establish a “bipartisan debt commission” designed to do behind closed doors what voters staunchly oppose: Gut popular social insurance programs. Mere days later, a pair of GOP lackeys took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal opinion section to tell us that older Americans are doing quite well—so well, they argued, that now is the opportune time to slash Social Security, Medicare, and other entitlements. The authors’ thinly veiled ploy was unconvincing and yielded a letter to the editor that stated “I see where this is going.”… Read more

Ghosts of Economic Predictions Past And How DeJoy Stole Christmas

2023 was a year of meltdowns, outlandish forecasts, and failed economic prophecy – let’s take a moment to remember some of our favorites. Plus, the Grinchmaster General’s plan to stop Christmas

Henry Burke and Vishal Shankar, December 22nd, 2023

The end of 2022 came with dire predictions about the economy in the year ahead. In December of last year, the Financial Times reported that 85% of economists polled expected a recession this year, while prominent neoliberal economists continued to call for intentionally creating a recession in the hopes of quashing the tight labor market that they blamed for inflation. Tragically for Summers, Furman, and others hoping to see a Fed-induced recession (and good for literally everyone else in America), their hopes did not come to pass. The past year has shown increasing evidence that transitory conditions and sellers’ inflation were driving price hikes, while the (blameless) job market has remained stable. As a result, we at Hackwatch wanted to relive three of the worst economic predictions of the past year… Read more

Bidenomics Needs A Corporate Crackdown On Rent-Gougers

The RealPage scandal gives Biden a real opportunity to rally working-class support for his reelection campaign.

Vishal Shankar and Andrea Beaty, December 15th, 2023

Earlier this week, our colleague Emma Marsano wrote for The New Republic about a huge opportunity that the Biden Administration (which is facing flagging approval ratings heading into the 2024 election) should take advantage of: pick big fights with the corporate crooks rigging our economy. This would be a sharp break with Biden’s current strategy, which as Emma notes largely entails “whining to anyone who will listen about unfair voter views of [his] economic policies.” With housing costs (the largest monthly expense for millions of Americans) now at an all-time high and half of renters now spending 30% or more of their income on rent, it doesn’t take a political genius to figure out why so many voters (particularly working families) are turned off by Biden’s triumphalist economic messaging… Read more

Credulous Press Shouldn’t Buy That Binance Will Be OK

Overemphasizing the fines leveled against the crypto exchange ignores the true point of the settlement: regulatory compliance.

Julian Scoffield, December 8th, 2023

Late last month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had reached a plea deal with Binance Holdings Limited, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, and its founder and CEO, Changpeng Zhao (known as CZ). Most notably, the settlement will… Read more

CFPB Under Siege and a Note on Henry Kissinger

Corporate shills are not moderates, no matter what the mainstream media tells you. Plus some final words on the least moral “sage” ever.

Vishal Shankar and Kenny Stancil, December 1st, 2023

It’s been a busy week in Washington, from the death of Henry Kissinger (more on that later), to the looming expulsion of George Santos from the House of Representatives, to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s long-awaited subpoenas of Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo. You’d be forgiven if you missed another major event on the Hill this week: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra’s semi-annual report to Congress… Read more

Biden Should Double Down on Backing Unions Against Greedy Bosses

More Picket Lines, More Applause Lines

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, November 21st, 2023

The past twelve months have put on full display a newly energized, resurgent labor movement. From railroads to Hollywood and just about everywhere in between, workers have felt emboldened to strike and fight for what they need in new contracts. Even though they haven’t won anywhere near everything they wanted, this still feels like a genuine turning point after decades of decline in organized labor. Unions are now hugely popular and among the most trusted and supported institutions in the country, and they show no signs of slowing down… Read more

Don’t Roll The Credits On Hollywood’s Labor Uprising Yet

Thoughts on the summer of strikes, the rise of the machines, and coming attractions.

Vishal Shankar, November 17th, 2023

A REALPAGE-TURNER: Hack Watch readers might remember our previous issue on RealPage, the rental software company that helped a cartel of corporate landlords collude on rent hikes. ProPublica reported yesterday that the Department of Justice has officially backed a massive tenant antitrust lawsuit against the company’s rent-gouging scheme (read the full filing here). This news is the latest reason why mainstream outlets must stop quoting RealPage executives like Jay Parsons as neutral, credible sources on housing issues. (If you’re not blocked by Jay on Twitter like we are, consider asking him what he thinks of ProPublica’s new scoop!)… Read more

Hurricane Fain: A Post Mortem Of The Coverage Of The UAW Strikes

Chris Lewis, November 3rd, 2023

In this week’s Hack Watch, we look back at some of the worst coverage the United Auto Workers (UAW) endured while fighting for improved working conditions, higher wages, and stronger benefits.  From Steve Ratner to Jim Cramer, media figures (and industry officials) maligned the union and the “boss” Shawn “Hurricane” Fain. Now the strike is over, it’s time we really take a look at some of the terrible coverage the strikes got… Read more

Larry Summers And The Crypto Con

Don’t forget who helped legitimate the crypto ponzi scheme.

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, October 27th, 2023

This morning, my colleagues Julian Scoffield and Henry Burke have a piece out in The American Prospect about Larry Summers and the ever growing but little known ties he has to an array of shady financial companies. The latest development is that Digital Currency Group (DCG), a firm that Summers advised for years, and its subsidiary Genesis Global Trading now face prosecution from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the New York Attorney General for fraud. Oh, and the Department of Justice has been investigating since earlier this year. It’s getting hard to keep track… Read more

Hollywood Bosses Fight SAG-AFTRA With PR Flacks’ Help

The hired guns at the Levinson Group are still helping the AMPTP block a fair contract with workers.

Vishal Shankar, October 20th, 2023

In case you’d forgotten, Hollywood is still on strike.

Though the Writers Guild of America (WGA) won its historic 148-day walkout for better compensation and working conditions, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) remains on strike. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade association representing the major Hollywood Studios, abruptly broke off negotiations with the 160,000-member actors guild on October 11th, just nine days after negotiations began (and 89 days after the strike began). As the SAG-AFTRA strike nears its 100th day, talks between the two parties have yet to resume (the AMPTP’s hand has notably been strengthened by California Governor Gavin Newsom’s cowardly decision to veto a SAG-AFTRA-endorsed bill making striking workers eligible for unemployment benefits)… Read more

How Do You Get Tricked By The Effective Altruist Schtick When The Guy Is In Jail?

Somehow, Author Michael Lewis Has Fallen For SBF’s Unkempt, Well-Meaning Genius Gimmick That Beguiled Most Of DC And The Media. He’s Held On To This Idea Almost A Year Since Bankman-Fried Was Exposed.

Henry Burke, October 6th, 2023

Last November, Sam Bankman-Fried’s empire, built on crypto and fraud, collapsed around him, leaving a million or more FTX users without access to their accounts, unsure what, if any, of their assets they’d see again. The silver lining of the incident was supposed to be that the idea that the young, slovenly dressed, disengaged, and unprofessional tech CEO archetype who was a genius visionary had finally been put to bed. But this week, author Michael Lewis, famous for publishing The Blind Side, The Big Short, and Moneyball, revealed that he was, somehow, the most gullible man alive… Read more

Hey MSNBC—Stop Booking Corporate Hack Neal Katyal

The ex-Solicitor General is a protector of oligarchy, not democracy.

Vishal Shankar, October 2nd, 2023

Last month, former Biden press secretary Jen Psaki had a familiar face on her new MSNBC show: former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal. In an extremely chummy interview, Katyal (fresh off a harrowing trip to Burning Man) dished out snarky criticism of Trump’s suggestion that outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley should be executed, saying “I don’t think Mr. Bone Spurs is in any position to criticize a member of our military… Read more

Harvard Professor Uses This One Weird Trick To Sound Smart

Predicting things accurately is hard and saying there are 50/50 odds makes it sound like you’re just guessing. Why not say “there’s a one in three chance” instead?

Henry Burke, September 22nd, 2023

According to many in the media, Lawrence “Larry” Summers is an economic Nostradamus. He single-handedly predicted inflation. His clairvoyance has been praised by all sides. The Wall Street Journalwrote “Larry Summers Nailed Inflation”, The Boston Globe stated “Larry Summers was right on inflation” and New York Magazine said, “Maybe We Should Have Listened To Larry Summers On Inflation.” They are, I have to admit, all partially right. Larry Summers did predict inflation. In March 2021, Summers predicted a ⅓ chance of stagflation – a combination of inflation and economic contraction… and a ⅓ chance of a recession, and a ⅓ chance of no inflation and steady economic growth. In short, he predicted every possible outcome and was still only partially correct on one of his 3 guesses… Read more

Won’t Economists Think of the Children?!?

It’s past time to consider what concerns around social spending do to our everyday lives.

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, September 15th, 2023

Earlier this week, new data on childhood poverty was released, confirming what everyone already suspected: there were far, far more impoverished children in America in 2022 than there were in 2021. In fact, more than twice as many. The rate of child poverty increased from a historic low of 5.2 percent in 2021 to 12.4 percent in 2022, a staggering year-over-year increase of 138 percent. According to UNICEF data, there are some 73.6 million children in the United States, meaning that this past year saw approximately 5.3 million children fall beneath the poverty line. For perspective, 5.3 million people is more than the populations of 28 states. That’s like the entire population of Minnesota going from above the poverty line to below it in twelve months… Read more

Please Stop Bringing Jim Cramer On To Talk About Labor Unions

In this week’s Hack Watch, I took a look at what the media has been saying about the potential auto workers’ strike.

Chris Lewis, September 8th, 2023

The “Summer of Strikes” (Or, as the New Yorker has called it, “Hot Labor Summer”) has garnered significant media attention and made workers rights a major topic of public discourse. Whether it’s discussing both the writer and/or actors’ strike(s) over wages and job security, the narrowly avoided UPS strike over pay and working conditions, or the looming United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against the “Big Three” Detroit automakers (General Motors (GM), Ford, and Stellantis) over their next contract, odds are you have subjected to the media discussion of the strikes (and much of it has not been great, to put it kindly). Let’s take a step back, look how we got here, examine some of the UAW’s demands, and then look at how the media has covered it all… Read more

Don’t Fall For Hollywood Bosses’ New PR Spin.

Instead of cutting a fair deal with writers and actors, the AMPTP has hired new strike-busting comms consultants. Their spin campaign is off to a pathetic start.

Vishal Shankar, September 1st, 2023

Today marks the 122nd day of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike and 48th day of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike. The dual work stoppages have brought Hollywood to a standstill, with production halted on films and television programs, and premieres and other promotional events either scaled back or canceled. Both guilds are striking over demands that are more than reasonable, particularly given studio executives’ record pay. These demands include fair compensation for streaming media (particularly better residuals, which currently pale in comparison to what they are for network and cable broadcasts), robust studio support for health and retirement funds, and safeguards around the use of artificial intelligence. (For more on why WGA and SAG-AFTRA are on strike, read the excellent reporting of Jacobin’s Alex Press)… Read more

Yet Another Reason To Ignore The Hacks At CFRB

If A Republican Senator Tags You In His Tweet Calling For Social Security Cuts You’re Worth Ignoring

Henry Burke, August 29th, 2023

Joe Biden has no interest in an Obama-style grand bargain to cut Social Security, but Republicans on Capitol Hill are still searching for neoliberal, ostensibly Democratic partners to force bipartisan cuts to the program. On Friday, August 18th, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) took time out of his August recess to tweet “The 2020 election was not stolen, but Social Security is going insolvent. That is what we should be talking about.” A Republican senator advocating Social Security cuts is nothing new, but in a reply to his first tweet, Cassidy attempted to start a conversation within the Beltway by tagging more than a dozen “wonks,” wannabe wonks, and opinion columnists. Among them were two purportedly nonpartisan hacks known for their influence over moderate Democrats — Maya MacGuineas and Marc Goldwein of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget… Read more

Lesson Number #8976829 That The Media Has Not Learned Since 2016

Republicans Posit Dangerous Policy Proposals And The Media Still Only Cares About Performance.

Chris Lewis, August 25th, 2023

In this week’s hack watch: I’ll break down the Republican Presidential debate, which I watched so you don’t have to…and honestly…you didn’t miss out. 

Ah yes, the Republican Presidential debate. A once weighty event— that allowed serious conservatives seeking to be the leader of the free world to pitch their policy platforms and lay out plans to make Americans’ lives better— has devolved into a cacophony of catchy one-liners and catty bickering best suited for the Real Housewives of New JerseyRead more

Memo to the Media: Stop Quoting RealPage

A company under federal antitrust investigation for helping landlords jack up rents is not a reliable or independent source.

Vishal Shankar and Kalimah Muhammad, August 18th, 2023

If you’ve been reading about America’s rental housing crisis lately, there’s one company you may have seen frequently quoted in the press: RealPage. The property management software company is regularly cited by the media as a credible source of data and analysis on the rental housing crisis. Many of these quotes come courtesy of RealPage’s chief economist Jay Parsons, a former Dallas Morning News reporter who has quickly become the media’s go-to “explain the rent numbers” guy… Read more

Stop Trying To Dunk On Consumers

Let’s just admit economic media’s talking heads are out of touch.

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, August 14th, 2023

Back when this newsletter was still getting off the ground, I wrote a column about how the media was ganging up on workers by platforming economic pundits excitedly calling for millions of Americans to be laid off and undermining rail workers’ case for going on strike. That very same day, our Senior Fellow (then Research Director) Max Moran ran a piece in The American Prospect discussing former Federal Reserve official Richard Clarida’s jocular, aloof tone when discussing condemning millions of workers to unemployment… Read more

Mainstream Media Can’t Keep Losing the Money Trail

We Need to Be Direct About Corporations’ Actions & Incentives.

Emma Marsano, August 4th, 2023

Amid this week’s record temperaturesmany mainstream outlets covered a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, which found that almost three quarters of Republicans prioritize economic growth over addressing climate change. Further, almost half of Republicans said climate change would not have a significant impact on their communities. These statistics run counter to Americans’ opinions overall, with a solid majority believing that addressing climate change is worth some negative impact on the economy, and that climate change will impact their lives… Read more

The Democratic Party Has Moved Past Larry Summers. Why Can’t The Media?

Reporters Need To Toss Outdated Rolodexes And Contact New Economic Minds. If Summers Can’t Even Stand Moderate Democratic Policy Priorities, How Can He Be A “Democratic” Talking Head?

Henry Burke, July 28th, 2023

Earlier this week, Former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers joined the Peterson Institute for International Economics for a discussion about American industrial and foreign policy. Summers served as the Democratic counterweight to George W. Bush’s U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick… Read more

Can We Keep This Anonymous?

I’m Threatening People With Homelessness But Don’t Want To Be Known For My Cruelty.

Henry Burke, July 21st, 2023

Irresponsible press coverage isn’t limited to Washington as Hollywood journalists take cues from Trump’s White House Press Corps by providing anonymity to sources where there should be none. While the entertainment media has been generally bad at covering the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA strikes (including an instance where Deadline was forced to publicly apologize for misconstruing the words of actor Matt Damon,) giving a studio executive carte blanche to publish a one-sided management propaganda piece while remaining anonymous is a new low… Read more

The Crypto Industry Thinks Gary Gensler Should Recuse Himself From Enforcement Actions.

Pay them no mind.

Timi Iwayemi, July 14th, 2023

Late last month, the Blockchain Association released a paper and Fortune op-ed outlining a legal case for Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler to recuse himself from the agency’s enforcement actions. It’s a nonsensical demand based on a curious reading of the Wells process, which guides most SEC enforcement actions. This sort of half-baked argument should have no place in serious media outlets. It’s a public disservice when editors platform industry voices that simply aim to undermine much needed corporate enforcement… Read more

The Supreme Legislature…Err…Court

It’s Getting Harder to Tell the Difference

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, July 7th, 2023

As June rolled to a close last week, so did the Supreme Court’s session. This latest round of verdicts largely cemented the court’s rightward swing, which has been the case since Trump reshaped the court’s dynamic with the appointment of three conservatives to the bench. While nothing can outdo the shock of last year’s overturning of Roe v. Wade (and threatening other rights based on an implied right to privacy, including same-sex and interracial marriage), the court’s contempt for the public has also reflected in its clear mission to hollow out the administrative stave by stripping the federal government of the tools required to protect Americans from rapacious corporate interests… Read more

The Dangerous Cult Of The Entrepreneurial “Innovator”

It shouldn’t take a catastrophe for reporters to critically engage with entrepreneurial notions of so-called innovation.

Julian Scoffield, June 30th, 2023

The now-wrecked Titan submersible has dominated headlines in the U.S. and internationally for the past two weeks. On Sunday June 18, Stockton Rush, Hamish Harding, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and Shahzada and Suleman Dawood embarked on their journey to see the ruins of the RMS Titanic. By the following day, the submersible had lost contact with its surface-level guide ship, setting off a frenzy of rescue efforts by international governments and private actors alike. On Thursday, June 22, after four days of unsuccessful searching, debris from the Titan was found and its five passengers were officially pronounced dead… Read more

Republican CFPB Opponents Are Crooked Corporate Shills

Every word from their mouths is paid for by Big Business. But the mainstream media won’t follow the money.

Vishal Shankar, June 16th, 2023

This week, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra delivered his semi-annual report to Congress. Chopra, as I’ve written before, is a champion for everyday Americans. In just two years on the job, he’s hit repeat-offenders like TransUnion and Wells Fargo with record fines and lawsuits, stopped scammers from preying on veterans and the elderly, and returned $2.6 billion to defrauded consumers. Recently, he’s led the charge against junk fees and spearheaded a rule to root out lending discrimination against women and minority-owned small businesses (the “1071 Rule”)… Read more

End Crypto’s Presumption Of Legitimacy and Other Quick Hits

It’s Time That The Media Accept What Even Wall Street And Venture Capitalists Have – Crypto Is One Massive Grift. Those Involved With It Should Be Treated Accordingly.

Henry Burke, June 9th, 2023

This week the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced lawsuits against both Binance and Coinbase – the world’s largest and second-largest cryptocurrency exchanges respectively. The SEC has taken its time to build the caselaw needed to go after these massive cryptocurrency exchanges and it has spent the past two years winning 130 cases related to digital assets. While some have attacked this process, SEC Chair Gary Gensler understood the need for legal precedent before going after the crypto industry’s largest fish. After years of catching minnows, Gensler clearly feels he is finally in the position to crack down on the entire crypto ecosystem that has flourished by plainly violating securities law… Read more

Larry Summers Thinks Starving Older Americans Serves A “Useful Function”

Summers’ evaluation of the deal President Biden struck with House Speaker McCarthy includes tepid support for work requirements.

Julian Scoffield, June 2nd, 2023

Earlier this week, Harvard University Professor and extramural extraordinaire Lawrence “Larry” Summers gave the opening speech at a joint conference hosted by the Peterson Institute of International Economics and the International Monetary Fund. The event, titled “Rethinking fiscal policy — global perspectives,” was an opportunity for researchers to gather and discuss the impacts of interventions taken by various governments around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic… Read more

Everyone’s So Worried About The President Getting Sued About the Debt Ceiling, No One Seems to Have Noticed He Already Was

Plus, the contradictions of objectively reporting on non-objective scholarship.

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis and Julian Scoffield, May 26th, 2023

As the ominous X-date approaches—the date when the United States will hit the debt ceiling—the media can focus on little else. Unfortunately, as we’ve covered before, much of the coverage is treating the situation as a game of political chicken. Far too many journalists are breaking out their preferred horse-race style coverage as if this is just another national political story. But it isn’t, as The American Prospect’s David Dayen has explained. Holding the debt limit hostage is a departure from the political norm; it is not just another procedural fight that comes up every so often. In truth, the only other time the debt ceiling has been used in this way was in 2011, when President Obama agreed to disastrous terms that hamstrung the federal government for a decade… Read more

It’s Time To Discuss The Real Stakes Of Negotiating The Debt Ceiling

Henry Burke, May 19th, 2023

The Biden Administration has to choose; are they going to attempt to negotiate with Kevin McCarthy’s House Republican Caucus, or are they going to end the unconstitutional farce of the debt ceiling once and for all by challenging its legality under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution? Biden has given no indication that he will take the second option despite pressure from even moderate members of his party to do so (Crooked Media did a good explainer on why any negotiation is a failure). Progressive groups are preparing for the worst, defending their chosen priorities from the negotiator’s chopping block as a result… Read more

The Right And Wrong Ways To Interview Elite Economists

Henry Burke and Max Moran, May 12th, 2023

In a recent interview with Former Treasury Secretary and frequent austerity pundit Larry Summers, tech journalist Kara Swisher finally asked what we at the Revolving Door Project have been beseeching the media to spotlight for months. To Summers’ clear displeasure, Swisher asked why he has been so comfortable legitimizing the fraudulent cryptocurrency industry… Read more

The Pro-Powell Camp Was Completely, Disastrously Wrong

They said Powell would keep rates low and his bank deregulations didn’t matter. Powell has raised rates, and his bank deregulations have set off a crisis. Oops?

Max Moran, May 5th, 2023

A year and a half ago, President Joe Biden renominated Jerome Powell for a second term as Federal Reserve Chairman. This came after a protracted, public debate among journalists, think-tankers, activists, and some members of Congress… Read more

New York Times Lets Trump Alumni Test-Drive Antitrust Arguments

Are the “reasonable Republicans” who served the most corrupt President in history really all that different from him?

Max Moran, April 21st, 2023

On Wednesday, the United Kingdom blocked Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of video game giant Activision. The move sent markets reeling and corporate mouthpieces foaming. Two such mouthpieces, Jay Clayton and Gary Cohn, got a slot to talk about it on The New York Times Opinion page the next day. As the Times writes in their author bios, “Mr. Clayton was a chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Mr. Cohn was a director of the National Economic Council in the Trump administration”… Read more

The Case Of Too Many ‘Flations

How did corporate profiteering as a driver of inflation go from crockery to common sense?

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis and Max Moran, April 21st, 2023

In a recent episode of their ultra-popular “The Odd Lots” podcast, Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway introduce us to Ken Jarosch, a baker in Chicago’s suburbs who had an idea a few years ago: the next time there’s a major news event that affects some element of the baking industry, he could jack up his prices without making his customers angry, even if he wasn’t actually affected by what was happening in the headlines. “Whether it’s rye flour, or bird flu that impacts eggs, when it makes national news, just running a business, it’s an opportunity to increase the prices without getting a whole bunch of complaining from the customers,” Jarosch said… Read more

Is Larry Summers Exempt From Editors’ Notes?

Bloomberg rightly discloses conflicts of interest for their journalists. Why not their top talking head?

Dylan Gyauch-Lewi, April 17th, 2023

Bloomberg included an editor’s note in their Supply Chains newsletter on Wednesday to disclose that the author’s family had been quoted in the piece, and to apologize for not initially disclosing upon publication. The note clarified that Bloomberg’s disclosure policy “is to disclose any real or perceived conflicts of interest.” That’s all well and good; mistakes and oversights happen and the right thing to do is fix and own them. But that stands in stark contrast to how the outlet treats former Treasury Secretary and current regular Bloomberg talking head Larry Summers. His financial interests are both wide and adjacent to the economic policy and issues he regularly discusses with Bloomberg and BloombergTV… Read more

Campus Activists Fight Back Against Academic Reputation-Laundering

Plus, the contradictions of objectively reporting on non-objective scholarship.

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis and Max Moran, April 7th, 2023

Last week, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard (FFDH), a student activist group fighting the influence of oil companies at their university, published an open letter to Professor Jody Freeman. Freeman also serves on the board of oil giant ConocoPhillips. The Biden administration just greenlit Conoco’s Willow Project, a massive drilling initiative in Alaska that will do as much environmental damage as dozens of new coal-fired power plants. (For more on the perils of Willow, read our Hannah Story Brown’s newsletter on the subject, here, and her related appearance on “The Majority Report with Sam Seder” hereRead more

Two Percent Is Just A Number

There’s nothing special about the Fed’s target inflation rate

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, March 17th, 2023

The Federal Reserve has aggressively leaned into its inflation-fighting role over the past year, which effectively means deliberately stripping workers of wealth and bargaining power via rate hikes without tackling the cause of our current inflation. One number that keeps coming up in all of the coverage: 2 percent. Reporters know that that’s the target inflation rate the Fed likes to see…but that’s usually where the conversation ends, even for some of the savvier journalists covering the central bank. The Fed will be satisfied when it gets the inflation rate down to the 2 percent target. But why? What’s so special about 2 percent? Read more

Article Originally Published in The Nation Magazine

Why Is Larry Summers So Obsessed With Tech Bros?

The former Treasury secretary’s business partnerships may have influenced his early calls to bail out Silicon Valley Bank.

Max Moran, March 15th, 2023

For the past two years, former Treasury secretary Larry Summers has begged, berated, and bullied federal policy-makers to suck as much wealth as possible, as fast as possible, out of the economy. He just never meant, you know, his wealth or his friends’ wealth… Read More

The Willow Project Is Not A “Both Sides” Story

To placate ConocoPhillips, reporters have to feign a fireable degree of ignorance.

Dorothy Slater and Toni Aguilar Rosenthal, March 10th, 2023

The Interior Department is expected to issue a final decision about ConocoPhillips’ Alaska Willow Project as early as this week. Stakeholders of all kinds are trying to get their last words in: Indigenous activists from Alaska traveled to D.C. this week to express their opposition; a #StopWillow social media campaign is trending on TikTok; Alaska’s Congressional delegation met with President Biden for over an hour last Thursday to plead their case for approval; those same members of Congress wrote op-eds in The Hill and CNNRead More

Media Continues To Rehabilitate Disgraced Former Fed Vice Chair

Insider-trading can’t keep Powell’s right-hand man from becoming CNBC’s new favorite expert.

Vishal Shankar, March 3rd, 2023

A year after resigning as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, Richard Clarida is enjoying what has become an increasingly common second act among former government officials: a media career… Read More

“Economic Science” Is Whatever Larry Summers Wants It To Be

The language of scientific certainty helps neoliberals disguise their ideology…and ignore inconvenient facts.

Max Moran, February 24th, 2023

On December 18th, 2020, economist Larry Summers took to Bloomberg’s “Wall Street Week” to call for “a more just and generous society” after the Covid-19 pandemic. “Above all, though, we need to run this economy strong,” Summers said. “And have an economy where the dominant theme is jobs trying to find workers, rather than the dominant theme being workers trying to find jobs… Read More

Debtors And Lawyers And Trusts, Oh My!

Here are three quick takes on media coverage of the economy this week.

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, February 17th, 2023

Yesterday, Politico released a report breaking down the data available about applicants to President Biden’s student relief program. The upshot is basically that everything the program’s centrist and Democratic-leaning critics complained about seems to be a moot point… Read More

Larry Summers, TV Star: Part 1

Why does Summers have a weekly interview slot on Bloomberg, and how has he used it?

Max Moran, February 10th, 2023

The stock-market show is a TV news institution. Ticker tapes, staccato theme music, brassy anchors, and a constant barrage of jargon are recognizable genre tropes, invoked and parodied for years… Read More

Media Helps Corporate Landlords Spin Biden’s Watered-Down Renter Protection Plan

Mainstream outlets are failing to tell the full story on the White House’s new tenant protection actions.

Vishal Shankar, February 3rd, 2023

Last month, the Biden administration unveiled a slate of new agency-level actions it claimed would “protect renters and promote rental affordability.” The announcement followed nearly a year of public pressure from Congressional Democrats and the tenant-led Homes Guarantee campaign to get President Biden to crack down on rent-gouging and unjust evictions. In late January, the campaign sent the White House a list of 11 essential policy directives to include in its tenant protection plan… Read More

The Myth of Jeffrey Zients

There is no reason to trust a longtime corporate stooge to serve as President Biden’s chief of staff.

Max Moran, January 27th, 2023

On Sunday, The Washington Post reported that Jeffrey Zients would replace Ron Klain as White House chief of staff. Democratic Party insiders unsurprisingly heaped praise on the decision. Biden confidant and former Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Mark Gitenstein called Zients “the best manager that I’ve ever worked with.” Pod Save America, perhaps the Biden administration’s most supportive media organ, assured the Democratic faithful that any skeptics weren’t being fair. “I generally have a problem with criticism that is only about someone’s past and résumé, and not of the actual decisions and policies they have implemented during their time in government,” said Jon Favreau, who overlapped with Zients in the Obama administration… Read More

The Fairness Doctrine Strikes Again

Media Outlets are Calling Republicans’ Austerity Pushes a Debt Ceiling “Showdown”

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, January 20th, 2023

If you haven’t heard, the United States government just hit its debt ceiling – it’s borrowed as much as it can. Sort of. The Treasury Department has actually bought some time with some good old fashioned financial finagling. Unfortunately, a number of media outlets are massively mischaracterizing the issue… Read More

New York Times Uses Bahamian Third Person To Carry Weight For A Con

On the 2nd day of Christmas NYT gave to me…a textbook example of how to excuse white-collar crime.

Julian Scoffield, Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, and Max Moran, January 13th, 2023

On December 26, 2022, New York Times reporter Rob Copeland published an article titled, “In the Bahamas, a Lingering Sympathy for Sam Bankman-Fried.” “Residents there [in the Bahamas] have a generous view of the disgraced FTX founder, who has been accused of misusing billions of dollars in customer funds,” Copeland writes. However, rather than convincingly argue his point, Copeland instead relies on the sentiments of (often unnamed) Bahamian citizens, SBF’s philanthropic history, and supposed differences between white-collar and blue-collar crime to manufacture sympathies for the former crypto billionaire… Read More

Why Are We Reading Jamie Dimon’s Eighth-Grade Social Studies Essay?

A wealthy businessman’s opinions aren’t newsworthy just because he’s a wealthy businessman.

Max Moran, January 6th, 2023

Jamie Dimon is not a foreign policy expert. He has never studied international relations. He has never worked in diplomacy. He runs the multinational banking firm JPMorgan Chase, but as the CEO, he presumably doesn’t personally analyze international commerce or get deep into the weeds on policy minutiae with foreign dignitaries. Even if he did, global banking rules are just one small part of foreign policy. They’re not the same thing as writing treaties, managing alliances, or projecting a clear philosophy of when military intervention is or isn’t justified… Read More

Meet the former Biden Advisor Using “Climate Advocacy” as a Trojan Horse for Corporate Interests

Don’t be fooled by her green-sounding credentials – Heather Zichal is a revolver for hire.

Emma Marsano, December 19th, 2022

With the Senate’s rejection of Senator Joe Manchin’s permitting reform legislation as a notable exception, last week was a bad one for fossil fuel disasters and corporate accountability. In Kansas, a Keystone pipeline leak caused the largest US crude oil spill in a decade. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, investigators found ongoing gas leaks in Equitrans’ pipeline storage facilities that released massive amounts of methane in November — enough to erase 50% of emission gains from US electric vehicles sales this year… Read More

Reporters Know There’s A Reason For The Threatened Rail Strike, Right?

What parts of the rail strike story don’t get told by mainstream outlets says more than what they do write.

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, December 2nd, 2022

Two months ago, I wrote for this newsletter about the media’s egregiously one-sided coverage of a potential rail strike. Since that piece ran, the 12 unions which represent railroad workers held up-or-down votes on the tentative deal that the Biden administration brokered between them and the railroads. Eight unions voted to accept the deal, but four, which together constitute a narrow majority of actual workers represented by the 12 unions, voted to reject it…. Read More

Summers’s Cyber Speculation

How The Former Treasury Secretary Boosted Crypto Bros

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, November 16th, 2022

Crypto was always a scam. Now, as Sam Bankman-Fried, the industry titan who especially sought a cloak of legitimacy, flails into bankruptcy, the farce is more apparent than ever. This past Monday, our own Timi Iwayemi had a great piece in The Nation looking into Bankman-Fried and the crypto “empire” he built upon pillars of sand and financial trickery. If you haven’t already, give it a read…. Read More

Corporate Scammers Aren’t Independent Voices

White-collar crooks are behind the campaign to kill the CFPB, but don’t expect the mainstream media to tell you that.

Vishal Shankar, November 4th, 2022

If you hate scammers, I have some good news and some bad news for you.

The good news: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), under the leadership of Director Rohit Chopra, is cracking down on corporate predators at a record pace. Since taking office last year, Chopra has taken sweeping enforcement action against companies who repeatedly rip off their customers. These include banking giants U.S. Bank and Trustmark for abusing consumer data and discriminating against minority borrowers, student loan servicer Edfinancial for trying to dupe borrowers out of loan forgiveness, payment processor Brightspeed for scamming the elderly, and pawn lenders FirstCash Inc. and Cash America West for charging high-interest loans to military families… Read More

Debunking the Big Budget Bogeyman

The government is hardly some reckless teenager on a spending spree.

Hannah Story Brown, October 28th, 2022

What is the media’s job?

You can imagine many bitter answers to this question: to brainwash you, to sell you something, to parrot elite talking points. But even the fiercest defenders of the media’s value can acknowledge that mainstream media is floundering in some serious systemic ways… Read More

Big Real Estate’s Hackery On Housing

Why are actual tenants only allowed to tug news consumers’ heartstrings, not actually say how they want their problems to be solved?

Vishal Shankar, October 21st, 2022

The rent is too damn high.

What was once an eccentric political candidate’s favorite slogan (and the title of a very catchy autotune remix) is today an unpleasant reality for millions of Americans. September’s CPI report showed that rent jumped a jaw-dropping 7.2% over the past year – the largest increase in four decades. According to an analysis by People’s Action and the Groundwork Collaborative, the median tenant is now paying $97 more per month in rent than they were last year. With rent comprising a third of CPI and housing now the single biggest line item in family budgets, millions of Americans are on the brink of homelessness… Read More

Raimondo’s Constituency: New York Times Pundits

The Commerce Secretary’s commitment to 90’s centrism has won her support from the Gray Lady, and hostility from actual voters.

Max Moran, October 14th, 2022

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: I have a column idea for Tom Friedman. It’ll give him a chance to refute the assumption, held by myself and others, that he’s basically a mindless parrot for whatever the last rich person who called him up happens to think. He’ll get to show that he’s not a tool who’s incapable of fact-checking, lacks the basic skepticism required of a reporter, and takes an awfully high number of unverifiable taxi rides where the cabbie just happens to agree with him on international legal doctrine… Read More

Larry Summers And Jason Furman Aren’t Really Democrats

Identifying people who don’t support the party’s key policies as Democratic thought leaders only serves to reinforce outmoded center right ideology.

Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, October 7th, 2022

This week, we’re taking a look at how media deference to a certain group of economic pundits can lead to serious misrepresentation of important political and policy nuances. We’ll be looking at two articles: this one from The Washington Post and this one from The New York Times. Each publication sets the tone for the debate that is continued on from cable news to econ Twitter to the Halls of Actual Power. The Post piece is actually quite a good article overall, documenting a shift in where (and from whom) the Biden administration gets its economic policy advice. On the other hand, what we get from the Times article is absolutely unhinged economic coverage that is ridiculously one-sided commentary from the right about a budget run amok. The common feature? They both enshrine a specific type of moderate economic stance as the stance of economists. Let’s start with the Post… Read More

Politico Rolls Out The Red Carpet For Ripple And Securities Fraud

Events like these have become a major revenue source for trade publications across the board.

Timi Iwayemi, September 30th, 2022

Last Tuesday, Politico hosted an event, Writing the Rules of Crypto, which was sponsored by Ripple — the crypto platform currently being sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for raising over a billion dollars through the sale of token XRP in unregistered securities transactions. No doubt, corporate sponsorship of editorial products is a key part of Politico’s operation (hardly unprecedented, to be sure; the New York Times ran 819 op-ed page “advertorials” from Mobil from 1985 through 2000). Chevron, ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute are regular sponsors of its Power Switch newsletter which is supposed to be a “guide to the political forces shaping the energy transformation.” The guide is presented by the political forces blocking the energy transformation… Read More

So About Those Rate Hikes…

Few of the pundits who sprang to Jerome Powell’s defense last year have acknowledged that their analysis was exactly wrong.

Max Moran and Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, September 23rd, 2022

On Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Reserve announced it was hiking interest rates by 75 basis points (0.75%, 1bp = 0.01%). More importantly, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, in his press conference discussing the rate hike’s announcement, promised to “keep at it,” making it clear that the central bank isn’t done yet. The Fed is now projecting that rates will rise further up to about 4.4 percent, a whole point higher than it projected in June. This comes as reticence from economists and business leaders is building… Read More

From Inflation To Rail, The Media Beats Up On Workers

It’s easy to call for higher unemployment if you won’t be caught without a job, and hard to look at rail workers’ demands when you already have sick leave and family time.

Max Moran and Dylan Gyauch-Lewis, September 9th, 2022

Here’s a thought experiment for you: if a labor leader paid $16 million to settle an alleged kickback scheme with the third-largest pension fund in the country, would the media give them free airtime? If they did get airtime, would the host let them go the whole segment without asking about the self-dealing and rumors?… Read More

Economists Outraged That Politics Is Hard, Actually

If student debt cancellation is too blunt for Jason Furman and Melissa Kearney, what’s their actual alternative plan?

Max Moran, August 30th, 2022

We’re living through a real renaissance of political-economic thought. Thinkers across the country are resurrecting and updating older traditions; fusing once-separate schools of thought; and developing completely novel approaches to solve today’s problems, from climate change to financialization to healthcare… Read More