You expect fear-mongering and a reluctance to fact-check their segments from those right-wing extremist “news” organizations that prioritize the pushing of their political agenda ahead of any commitment to the truth.
Yet here was CNN, a news channel with a reputation for residing in the center between Fox News on the far-right and MSNBC on the center-left — and already tarnished with Donald Trump’s constant attacks over the past five years as “fake news” — unquestionably accepting some dubious assertions from a supposedly middle-class family about the toll that the inflation, caused by the supply chain issues engendered by the pandemic, has affected their family grocery shopping budget.
The aim of the CNN segment was to highlight the effect that these rising food prices are having on an average American family, but the reporting immediately goes off the mark by choosing to focus on a Texas family, the Stotlers, who hardly seem representative of the average American family who in 2020 contained 1.93 children under 18 per family unit.
The Stotlers, by comparison, have two biological children of their own and have admirably decided to adopt and foster seven other children, bringing their family up to 11 members, far beyond the norm for this country.
Thus, any rise in grocery prices, no matter what the cause, is going to be magnified for such a large family.
As CNN accompanies the Stotlers on a weekly shopping trip to the supermarket, the footage is intercut with an interview in which the mother makes economic pronouncements that would be more credible coming from an actual economic expert, but the network allows to go unchallenged and un-fact-checked.
“I think that probably in June, it was about a dollar is worth a dollar. So now that dollar is worth about 70 cents,” Mrs. Stotler says.
“We started seeing everything going up. Grocery prices went up. A gallon of milk was $1.99, now it’s $2.79. But when you buy 12 gallons a week times 4 weeks, you know, that’s a lot of money,” she lamented.
"A gallon of milk was $1.99. Now it's $2.79. When you buy 12 gallons a week times four weeks, that's a lot of money."@EvanMcS goes grocery shopping with the Stotlers and shows us how badly inflation is hitting the middle class. pic.twitter.com/39hPPRHLja
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) November 4, 2021
It seems like a legitmate complaint, and CNN accepts her account unquestionally.
Luckily, the denizens of social media were a bit more skeptical of Mrs. Stotler’s claims.
In this same article, the price of milk adjusted for inflation was higher in 2017 than it was in 2020https://t.co/TcY9gRLY1k
— mary (@marynasca60) November 4, 2021
I did several months into the pandemic. But up until then, it had been almost impossible to find in DFW. Skim is often very hard to find. I can usually find Whole whenever I want and usually priced around $2.79.
— Jason Wright (@jasonwright) November 4, 2021
2/ The scam works thusly: 80% of the fridge space is devoted to the store brand, about 10% is given to the coop brand and the rest to the national brands.
Besides being cheaper, the coop brand *always* tastes best of all of them, t=so it sells out quickly.
— NC "F̵a̵c̵e̵b̵o̵o̵k̵ Meta Delenda Est" Steve (@TCFKA_NCSteve) November 4, 2021
A gallon of milk hasn't averaged close to $1.99 in the Dallas market since mid-2018.
So, shouldn't this be a story about how they're complaining about TRUMP causing 14.7% annual price inflation?
— Grant Stern is vaxxed (@grantstern) November 4, 2021
no some places did have cheaper milk. but even living in texas milk hasn't been 1.99 for almost 2 yrs. and still less than 2.79 when i went last week
— pollyanna thibodeau (@pollyannathibo1) November 4, 2021
“We talked to this average middle class family of 10 who each drink over a gallon of milk a week to see how inflation is affecting every person”
— ryan (@ryan_hoffman_) November 4, 2021
Their kids are foster kids too. (It’s not clear if it’s 7 or 9 of them are) but they get $800 per kid at minimum per month(rate goes up to 2700 depending on need.) So that’s $5600-7200 per MONTH.
— A. Monster Lives in the Pines (@AM_Pines) November 4, 2021
they dumped as much as 20% of the milk supply last year when depressed demand (the "free market") dictated prices should go down. Instead of lowering the price the cartel simply destroyed supply until the price met their target. This is how milk pricing works.
— gabaghoul (@goat_classic) November 4, 2021
If you have an ounce of common sense you know how much they are exaggerating the totals. I’m not even going to nitpick on what in particular they are buying. Epic fail of a news story.
— The Tao of Babbel (@WilliamBabbel) November 4, 2021
While milk prices can vary depending on where you live and on the promotional efforts of grocery stores, it’s obvious that fact-checking surrendered to the agenda-pushing in this particular story on CNN.
We expect better of CNN. Stories like this only serve to validate Trump’s epithets of “fake news” hurled at the channel and undermine the public trust in the media.
We want to hear what YOU have to say. Scroll down and let us know in our comment section!
Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.