How did a crisis in February 2022 kick off inflation in (checks notes) May 2021? Through the magic of narrative journalism, my friends, through the magic of narrative journalism. CBS News offered up this Twitter hot take on two major Biden administration failures by blaming them on Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

Check out the big ratio on this one:

Seventeen thousand replies against 1900 likes? Narrative journalism isn’t as effective as it used to be, I suppose.

The actual story itself focuses more on future effects on both economic crises. That’s certainly legit, as long as it acknowledges the existing crises as well. Does CBS News cover that well enough? At least it doesn’t suggest, as their tweet does, that Ukraine is the source of either problem:

Although many Americans may prefer that the U.S. stay out of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the brewing violence and political fallout are already hurting their wallets. Gasoline prices, which have hit eight-year highs — could surge even further if the hostilities escalate or if U.S. lawmakers pass another round of sanctions.

The economic impact could also move beyond the gas pump, Wall Street analysts warn. Sanctions or export controls against Russia could make current semiconductor shortages even worse, while restrictions on wheat or metals could drive the fiercest bout of inflation in decades to climb even higher.

And suddenly CBS News seems interested in connecting dots to the working and middle class. It’s a bit late, months after Joe Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain called inflation and supply-chain crises “high class problems”:

Rising prices for commodities would leave U.S. consumers paying more for fuel and other necessities, leaving less money for discretionary spending.

“As costly as another European war would be in human and economic terms, its economic burden in the United States would fall hardest on the middle and working classes,” Brusuelas said.

True enough, and we’ll have more shortly on the range of responses to the oil-price shocks that will act as a force multiplier to inflation.

What none of this explains, however, is CBS News’ contention in its tweet that these issues exist “due to the Ukraine crisis.” They will certainly get exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine, but they existed long before this present crisis emerged. The Ukraine crisis will have at most an incremental impact on inflation and supply chains, but it won’t be the cause of those problems or even their most significant factor. In fact, we went eight years after Russia used proxy militias to seize de facto control of the Donbas and outright seize and annex Crimea without any significant inflation or supply-chain issues. It’s not too difficult to figure out that the Ukraine crisis will be a tertiary issue at best in resolving inflation and/or the supply chains from that perspective.

This is nothing more than a cheap and transparent attempt to excuse Biden from any responsibility for inflation and the supply-chain crisis. It’s so bald in this effort that it borders on self-parody, as is the fact that CBS hasn’t taken this tweet down as of this writing despite the roars of laughter and gales of criticism they’re getting on Twitter over it.

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