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Margaret Sullivan Complains Voters Are Too Worried About The Economy Instead Of ‘Democracy’

Margaret Sullivan speaks during a webinar
Image Credit SPJ DC / Youtube

Margaret Sullivan, a corporate media veteran who now enjoys a cushy gig at Columbia Journalism School, complained during a Monday webinar that voters are irrationally concerned about the economy while suggesting instead that the “existential” concern of the 2024 election is Donald Trump’s alleged threat to “democracy.”

In the webinar hosted by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sullivan suggested concerns about the economy are overblown because “the economy is doing very, very well right now.”

“You know, everybody says in these polls, as poll respondents, that they’re so concerned about the economy. Well, the economy is doing very, very well right now. Inflation is low, unemployment is low, growth is strong, even the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner was lower in 2023 than it was the year before,” Sullivan said.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an average Thanksgiving dinner in 2023 cost $61.17 compared to $64.05 in 2022. What Sullivan left out, however, is that a Thanksgiving dinner cost less than $55 during the entire duration of Donald Trump’s presidency, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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“But somehow everyone wants to talk about how bad the economy is and you know, I don’t think that we’re getting that story across either, although I actually have my doubts about whether that’s really on people’s minds,” she continued.

The current national average for gas is $3.62 per gallon. A Gallup poll from February found 61 percent of voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy. Inflation also notched another year-over-year increase in March, according to new data. Meanwhile, a recent report from the National Federation of Independent Business found that small business optimism hit its lowest level since 2012.

While dismissing Americans’ concerns about the economy, Sullivan said she thinks the 2024 election is an “existential one” because if Trump is elected again, he will start “taking down some of the restraints and the guardrails that kept him and his administration from doing as much harm to democracy as they could have the first time around.”

Sullivan also suggested journalists should stop worrying about looking partisan and instead should focus on how a second Trump term would allegedly hurt “democracy.”

“I don’t think it’s so far afield to have our coverage reflect that democracy issues and truth are important,” she said, insisting “we don’t need to be so defensive all the time about orienting coverage that way.”

Sullivan claimed the media have historically taken “refuge” in trying to treat political candidates the same with their coverage, but doubled down on her belief that corporate media should no longer apply those traditional journalistic principles of objectivity to Trump. “These candidates are not the same at all and so to equalize them is actually very, very misleading,” she said.

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