The Associated Press’s descent into an ever more reflexively anti-Donald Trump, anti-conservative outlet which disguises itself as a wire service continues. On Tuesday (apparently updated sometime on Wednesday, based on its current “Yesterday” label), the AP’s Marcy Gordon used a shopworn argument that a Republican or conservative who generally supports reducing government regulations and red tape is a hypocrite if he or she ever supports, even tentatively, any form of stronger regulation.
Gordon couldn’t handle the idea that President Trump, whose basic instincts have been to reduce regulations, could possibly be “entertaining the idea of restoring the Depression-era firewall between commercial banking and its riskier investment side.”
(This post won’t debate the pros and cons of the idea of restoring that firewall, except to note that if implementing that idea reduces the dominance of the four “too big to fail” major money-center banks — which currently control a larger share of the industry than they did before the housing and mortgage-lending implosions a decade ago — it would arguably result in banking, lending and brokerage markets that are freer and more competitive than they are now.)
The AP’s headline writer attempted to capitalize on Gordon’s dispatch to portray Trump as unfocused, undisciplined and indecisive: “Is he for or against regulation? Trump swings in 1 day.”
Here are Gordon’s opening paragraphs (bolds are mine throughout this post):
While Republicans in Congress craft a bill to unwind the tighter financial rules that took effect after the 2008 crisis, President Donald Trump is looking in another, seemingly opposite direction: He’s entertaining the idea of restoring the Depression-era firewall between commercial banking and its riskier investment side.
If Congress reinstated such a law, it might lead to the breakup of big banks.
Trump, who also has denounced the Dodd-Frank crisis financial law and promised to dismantle it, swung between those two extremes of restoring bank regulation and deregulating in a short space of time on Monday in two White House settings.
For heaven’s sake, Marcy.
For starters, repealing Dodd-Frank is not an “extreme” position. Given its role in slowing economic growth since its passage, one could make a stronger argument that passing Dodd-Frank was what was genuinely “extreme.”
Second, the presence of the post-Depression firewall between banking and investments existed for well over 60 years until the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999. Was the U.S. operating under “extreme” financial industry circumstances during that entire time? Of course not.
More fundamentally, as John Hinderaker at Powerline noted Tuesday evening:
I would hazard the wild guess that Trump is for some regulations and against others, like just about every other person in the world. But the AP is deliberately obtuse.
… one thing reinstating Glass-Steagall and repealing Dodd-Frank have in common is that both would be bad for the biggest banks.
The AP reporter presumably caught at least a glimmer of this reality, since she reported on Trump’s speech to an audience of community bankers, some of whom wore red baseball caps that said “Make Community Banking Great Again!” That should have been a clue, but the AP nevertheless persisted doggedly with its theme that the president contradicted himself by opposing some regulations, while being open to imposing other, completely different ones.
If that is the best the Associated Press can do, it is just as well that most Americans have given up reading newspapers.
Unfortunately, escaping AP content is not as easy as giving up reading newspapers, because “More than 15,000 news outlets and a range of businesses worldwide” subscribe to AP content in multiple formats. The sad reality is, if you hear it or see and it seems left-biased, there’s a significant chance that it’s fundamentally based on AP reporters’ output.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.