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Rage blinded media to black advances under Trump

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It was always puzzling and frustrating to former President Donald Trump and his inner circle when media critics labeled him a racist and white supremacist.

Yes, he had led the anti-Obama birther movement. But larger than that, they said, he was very popular in some black communities, especially laborers, the boxing world, and among pastors. In his private White House dining room that was his command center, he even had boxing championship belts given to him on the walls as reminders of his relationships.

“I have so many African American friends that are doing great. They are making good money. They are living the good life. They’ve got the American dream going,” he said during the 2016 campaign.

The legacy media not only didn’t care, but they gave former President Barack Obama the credit for economic gains by black people under Trump even though he inherited a waning economy that Democratic experts predicted would result in damaging inflation and job losses under the Republican.

Now, thanks to a onetime black critic of Trump, the former president is getting credit for improving the lives of black people more than any other president.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, the economic fortunes of blacks improved under Trump to an extent that was not only unseen under Obama but unseen going back several generations,” wrote Jason Riley, a Wall Street Journal columnist and senior Manhattan Institute fellow, in his new book, The Black Boom.

In it, he details the amazing wage and job growth of black people under Trump caused by the ex-president’s policies and tax cuts. He also shows how black people paid Trump back with support unusually high in elections for Republicans.

“Blacks saw economic progress under Trump that the Obama administration didn’t come close to matching,” he added in the book, which is out Feb. 7 and published by Templeton Press as part of the “New Threats to Freedom” series.

If you missed that story during Trump’s four years in office, there’s a good excuse, according to Riley. The media largely didn’t report on it, instead building a false narrative that Trump was the enemy of black people.

“Political reporters were not unaware of this data. Rather, they chose to ignore or downplay it because it was inconvenient. In their view, Trump, because he was a Republican and because he was Trump, had it in for blacks, and thus his policy preferences would be harmful to minorities,” Riley said.

To write that Trump was good for black voters “would have undermined a narrative that the media preferred to advance, regardless of its veracity,” he added.

FILE – In this Dec. 1987, file photo, Donald Trump, right, pictured with his father, Fred Trump, left, and boxing promoter Don King participate in news conference in Atlantic City, N.J.

Trump touched on that last week when he issued a statement about the 2020 election and some coverage that suggested President Joe Biden winning most Obama voters, asking, “Does anybody really think that Biden beat Obama with the black population in select swing state cities, but nowhere else?”

Much of Riley’s book looks at how the media plotted against Trump because they didn’t like him or his agenda. That coverage robbed Trump of the credit he deserves, Riley said.

“Most of the media could not see past Trump’s Twitter feed and serial norm-breaking. That was perhaps understandable on some level, but it’s no excuse for wholesale abandonment of fairness and objectivity,” he wrote.

“The reality is that racial inequality improved on Trump’s watch, and much of the media were too busy agitating against him to take note or give credit where it was due. Reporters suspended any professional and ethical standards in a concerted effort to take down a president they didn’t like. In some respects, their behavior was no less reckless than Donald Trump’s,” Riley added.