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Liberal pundits and journalists have claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is the true catalyst behind the rising cost of American goods, including gasoline, all while deflecting criticism aimed at President Biden and his administration.
Despite the possible impact of the White House’s rampant spending and progressive energy policies, many outlets brushed and laughed off criticisms levied against the Biden administration, instead bending over backward to link inflation and the cost of oil explicitly to the turmoil in Ukraine.
Last Thursday, Biden said the recent inflation report is representative of the negative impacts Americans are feeling as a result of Putin’s actions.
“Today’s inflation report is a reminder that Americans’ budgets are being stretched by price increases and families are starting to feel the impacts of Putin’s price hike. A large contributor to inflation this month was an increase in gas and energy prices as markets reacted to Putin’s aggressive actions,” Biden said in a written statement.
“PUTIN’S PRICE HIKE”
“Well, here at home, the toll of the war is having an ever greater impact on the U.S. economy. With soaring inflation and gas prices, Americans are paying more,” co-host Savannah Guthrie said at the top of a Friday NBC “Today” segment.
That same day on “3rd Hour Today,” co-host Craig Melvin provided an intro reminiscent of Guthrie’s words.
“Meanwhile, that war in Ukraine having quite the impact here at home, where just about everything is costing more these days, in some cases a lot more,” said Melvin, before asking correspondent Morgan Chesky about the “driving forces” behind the price increases.
“…the Biden administration is very much calling this ‘Putin’s price hike,’ with this war ongoing, there will be a significant impact going forward,” Chesky responded.
During MSNBC’s “MTP Daily with Chuck Todd,” chief Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell said that calling inflation “Putin’s price hike” was a “great way” to message the issue.
The show’s host, Chuck Todd, also hopped on the “Putin price hike” bandwagon during the segment and added that Biden’s commitment to keeping the war in Ukraine, by utilizing sanctions, was another possible way for the president to portray the issue positively to the American people.
BLAMING PUTIN AND ENERGY COMPANIES
Many show hosts, as well as their guests, also urged viewers to ignore Republican claims that Biden is responsible for rising gasoline costs and instead instructed them to blame Putin and American energy companies.
“[Republicans] are blaming Biden for rising gas prices. Meanwhile, guess who gets off scot-free? Not just Putin, but the big oil and gas companies,” said Mehdi Hasan during his Monday MSNBC show.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki made a similar critique of gas companies from the briefing room.
“These [oil companies] are private sector companies. We recognize that. Many of them are making record profits. We see that. That is all publicly available data. They have pressure to return cash to investors and their shareholders,” she said.
On CNN, media correspondent Brian Stelter asked whether the media could engage in an “honest” conversation on gas prices, before pivoting to lambast media outlets “exaggerating” fuel costs. The “Reliable Sources” host then made mention of a New York Times “fact-check” explicitly entitled “Republicans wrongly blame Biden for rising gas prices.”
On March 10, “CNN Newsroom” co-host Alisyn Camerota engaged in a discussion on inflation with global economic analyst Rana Foroohar.
“Politicians act as though it’s President Biden that caused inflation and that he can fix this,” Camerota said as Foroohar laughed.
AMERICANS ARE OK WITH PAYING MORE
Some personalities even defended rising gas costs by asserting that Americans are more than willing to put up extra dollars if it means standing alongside Ukraine and sticking it to Putin.
“Higher gas prices are a small sacrifice to make compared to what the brave Ukrainians are going through,” said Jonathan Capehart during “PBS News Hour” on March 11.
“The American people are behind this and more likely are willing to take a hit at the pump,” Mitchell told Todd on MSNBC that same day.
The average price of gas has risen 57 of the last 59 days, a recent AAA report showed, including a 41-cent bump over the last seven days.
Gas prices have risen 59% since Biden took office — prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — with the nationwide average hovering just over $4.30, according to the report.
Inflation is also expected to rise above 8% this month, continuing upward at a level unseen since 1982.
Fox News’ Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.