People who spend all day on Twitter need something to talk about. It’s a bubble of influential yet highly siloed media figures who simultaneously report on national and world events from the comfort of their East Coast urban apartments. The topic of conversation this week was milk. More specifically, it was mocking a large family, with a number of foster and adopted children, who consume a lot of milk.
It all stemmed from this segment on CNN about inflation putting pressure on the dairy product.
"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
Remarkably, CNN took a break from its wall-to-wall COVID-19 coverage to listen to an average American family struggling with the toll of increasingly expensive grocery bills. Instead of taking the report at face value, the rest of the media treated the segment as a joke, and a fair number of others took it a step further and relished in the opportunity to attack the family,
"why is the price of everything so high" as they wander through a grocery store unmasked during a pandemic.— Pé (@4everNeverTrump) November 4, 2021
Who among us hasn't purchased a very normal, not obscenely excessive 12 gallons of milk per week or 48 gallons per month?— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) November 4, 2021
How do you do, fellow milk drinkers? https://t.co/J5mar8c2Q3
Underlying the issue is, of course, the very real toll inflation is taking on American families. And it’s an issue that the media and elites have inexplicably ignored for the last several months. And, given the reception after this CNN segment, that attitude will likely continue. The average American family doesn’t have that luxury.
Inflation will likely soon impact the housing market, experts warn. Gas prices have climbed and reports suggest the price could get even worse. And, in a Facebook group of other parents of large families, it’s become an extremely popular topic of conversation. A common post goes along the lines of:
Inflation has me panicking, y’all. Just this month, our bills have gone up like $300 just between groceries and gas. This is such a killer.
Other mothers are asking for budget-cutting tips, meal ideas that use inexpensive ingredients and requests for legitimate “side hustle” jobs in order to bring in extra money. The financial toll is hitting my own household; I’ve traded Instacart for Costco runs with all five of my children to pick up our groceries and necessities like diapers and wipes, which have increased our bill by almost $80-100 per week.
Pointing out the weight of inflation has been framed by left-leaning partisans as an attack on the president and his administration. Many in response to CNN’s segment on the family of nine replied with fact-checks, accusing those who point out the increased cost of living of astroturfing the issue.
exactly. total rubbish. https://t.co/YMJ0UahOBu— Jennifer 'pro-voting' Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) November 4, 2021
In Deseret’s 2021 American Family Survey, we see the concern over inflation isn’t just driven by partisan politics. The authors of the study explain:
What worries people with respect to the economy and their families? Inflation. Nothing else — lack of government assistance, national debt, or unemployment, drew as much concern. Thirty-nine percent of the public is concerned about inflation. None of the other factors concerned more than 30% of the public.
One might wonder if this concern was largely driven by Republicans. In a sense, that’s true. More than half (52%) of Republicans expressed worry about inflation. But even among Democrats inflation was still more concerning than were factors like lack of government assistance, debt and unemployment. Policy makers should probably be more concerned about inflation, or at least be aware that the public is quite concerned about it.
For once, CNN actually covered an issue concerning millions of Americans. The wider media ensured that the struggling family was met with derision and scorn, accused of nefarious motives and outright lies for simply sharing their story.
How likely would other families be to come forward and share their own difficulties in the future? And would CNN even produce another segment and risk the ire of keyboard warriors gatekeeping the notion that everything is just fine? This is how the truth becomes suppressed; you’re watching how the narrative takes hold in real time. There’s no problem with inflation, everything is fine, don’t believe your bank account.
Bethany Mandel is a contributing writer for the Deseret News and editor at Ricochet.com.