Source: Brad Slager

The Washington Post approving Biden’s enforcement of a Trump policy that it demonized typifies contemporary journalism.

It is such a cliche’ any longer that it almost feels mythical; suggesting the press would outright oppose an issue not on its merits but merely because Donald Trump had proposed it has become legend. We saw it throughout his presidency, and it reached depths last year during the pandemic. It had become the punchline; when the press approached any story it did not begin with an exploration of facts, but instead started with “What is Trump’s position?”

The latest example of this is not a massive bombshell but instead is completely innocuous. That non-impactful nature says everything however because it shows just how deep this reactionary opposition to Trump resided within the press. Joe Biden recently came forward with a new budgetary standard in regards to federal spending and placing a priority on American-made goods. The intent with this is to support and strengthen domestic industry production and solidify and even grow the job market.

The proposal, made public earlier Wednesday, would require that goods purchased with taxpayer dollars contain 75 percent U.S.-made content by 2029, up from a current threshold of 55 percent. The threshold would rise to 60 percent once the rule goes into effect, and then gradually grow to 75 percent.

This was a rather straightforward report, essentially repeating the fed lines from a fact sheet released by the White House. This was made in tandem to Biden’s visit to a truck manufacturing facility last week, in Allentown, PA. The announcement was likely lost amid the other story Biden created, that being his apocryphal claim that he had driven 18-wheelers back in the day. But there is a revelation, from back in other days.

The WaPo article featured no negative approach to Biden’s announcement. Most people would think that the concept of buying domestic products is a good thing and, as mentioned in the piece, it is a policy that has been around for generations and backed by most Presidents. The paper was not the least bit critical, not that it was expected to be — unless it intended to remain consistent.

In stating that most Presidents support a Buy American policy, that would in fact include Biden’s predecessor, and it was an item that was covered by the Washington Post…in a completely different fashion. While WaPo dutifully repeats this week that Joe Biden wants to “bolster U.S. industry”, there was a completely different assessment of this position when Donald Trump took office. Following his inaugural address, the paper took exception to Trump’s American exceptionalism; we were told how there is “A dark side to ‘Buy American’”.

In that piece, from January 2017, we were ushered through the various problems with this proposition, and this being Trump who was promoting this policy that was seen for generations, you could probably guess into what those problems were rooted. 

Campaigns urging us to buy U.S.-made products are as old as the republic, but they are often shrouded in racism. Trump’s program might sound appealing. But the Buy American exhortation follows a long history of similar campaigns steeped in racism. Buy American presumes an imagined economic nation that pits working people in the United States against those of other countries, casting them as the enemy. 

From there, it’s often been a quick step to racial distinctions and attacks, as the past has shown. Buy American also has played into the hands of transnational corporations and other elites, who are happy if working people in the United States turn against those from other countries, while the corporations themselves flit about the world seeking low-cost labor.

Now, one could say there was not exclusive blame being placed on Trump in this hectoring article. After all, he had simply indicated what his intentions were, at the time, and the piece noted that this was a generational issue, something witnessed for decades. Of course, a couple of things have to be ignored. The first is that the intent was to say Trump would be embracing this deeply problematic approach to federal spending, another sign of his pathological racism that the press loved to allude to.

The second issue is what is not seen today. If encouraging domestic spending has such a history of trauma where was mention of this following Joe Biden’s proposal? The Washington Post was inspired to unearth all aspects of the nefarious nature of this effort when Trump was sworn in, but today they are perfectly content to cut-and-paste an administration PR tearsheet.

It says everything that the problematic nature of this policy was suddenly evident four years ago but then evaporates entirely when the new President sports a bold blue letter “D” beside his name.