How is “fake news” created by the media and published by the Boston Globe? Today’s example shows us how.
Bank of America does a quarterly survey on small business trends. Last May, the media covered the results and Yahoo News reported them this way: “59% of small business owners say tariffs won’t affect them.” (see photo three). The May Yahoo News story is here: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/bank-of-america-small-business-survey-tariffs-134105906.html.
Bank of America just released its most recent survey and the Globe covered an AP account of the results. But unlike May’s news, this is reported as a negative story about Donald Trump.
The headline is “Survey finds small businesses hurt by Trump tariffs.” Wow, what a turnaround. If the survey found such results, the numbers must have taken an incredible dive. What percentage of these small businesses were “hurt” by the “Trump” tariffs? Get ready, because the answer is stunning. The percent hurt by the tariffs is “nearly a fifth.” In other words, 18 or 19%.
The May story didn’t even mention this, so I went back to the Bank of America results directly and the percent who were worried over tariffs essentially hadn’t changed. It was 18%. (See https://about.bankofamerica.com/assets/pdf/Spring_2019_SBOR.pdf).
The AP story that the Globe based its short piece on is here: https://apnews.com/a565abf3785743a59cee37fd3a5a759c The AP story did not include “Trump” in its headline, but its copy was just as bad. It conflates tariff “effects” as bad effects, when half are mixed. And of the respondents who reported an increase in harm, the number went from “18% in the spring” to “nearly a fifth” now. As I have already explained, that is again the same result. No increase.
So the May article emphasized that most small business owners were unaffected while the December story reported this small number who were negatively affected, even though it wasn’t the majority of the responses. So it begs the question, how many in the most recent survey reported being unaffected? The number was 56%. That is almost the same as in May. Sounds like a number close to the margin of error.
So in the latest survey, 56% of the survey respondents did not think the tariffs would be harmful, yet the Boston Globe’s headline is that the survey found the opposite. That is classic Fake News, meant to cast President Trump in a negative light.
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