Media pundits have echoed the Biden administration’s strategy of blaming rising costs on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The president coined the phrase “Putin’s price hike” in reference to rising gas prices during a March 9 address to the nation where he announced a ban on all imported Russian oil. The administration echoed the term, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki calling prices “a Putin spike at the gas pump” and White House communications director Kate Bedingfield using the term in a tweet.
“I’m going to do everything I can to minimize ‘Putin’s price hike’ here at home,” the president said.
MSNBC chief Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell praised the administration’s messaging during an appearance on “Meet the Press Daily” with NBC’s Chuck Todd.
“It’s a potent one, but I really do think — in talking to members of Congress — that they now see the politics right now, and it may not last, that the American people are behind this,” she said. “And more likely, are willing to take a hit at the pump. I don’t think it’s been sold adequately.”
“Well, if it means not bringing war here, right? Like, that’s another way to message it, I might argue,” Todd said.
Inflation is high. That’s the Putin Price Hike.
Poverty is up sharply. That’s the Putin Poverty Spike.
Health care costs are staggering. That’s the Putin Provider Squeeze.
Addiction is impacting millions. That’s the Putin Drug Wave.
No US problems come from within.
— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) April 11, 2022
“Yeah, and ‘Putin’s price hike’ is a great way to message it,” she replied. Todd agreed with the co-host and said that the president’s “commitment” to assisting Ukraine and imposing sanctions are effective messaging strategies.
Over at NBC News, correspondent Morgan Chesky used the term while discussing the “driving forces” behind the rising costs with “3rd Hour Day” co-host Craig Melvin. (RELATED: ‘Are You Guys Just Going To Start Blaming Putin For Everything?’: Doocy Presses Psaki On Inflation And Soaring Gas Prices)
“The Biden administration is very much calling this ‘Putin price hike,’ with this war ongoing, there will be a significant impact going forward,” he said.
CNN’s Brian Stelter criticized the media for its lack of an “honest” conversation about gas prices and called out Republicans for “wrongly” blaming Biden for the gas price hike, Fox News reported. The network’s Alisyn Camerota claimed that politicians are wrongly blaming the president for inflation in a discussion with global economic analyst Rana Foroohar.
“Politicians act as though it’s President Biden that caused inflation and that he can fix this,” Camerota said.
Journalists from CNN and PBS even asserted that rising gas prices are a small sacrifice for the American people to make in ensuring the country can assist Ukraine in defeating Putin, the outlet reported.
“Higher gas prices are a small sacrifice to make compared to what the brave Ukrainians are going through,” Jonathan Capehart said on a March 11 segment of “PBS News Hour.”
The average price of gas exceeded $4 per gallon, its highest levels ever, in early March following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The administration has continued to blame Putin for soaring costs as Psaki again referred to an expected “extraordinarily elevated” monthly inflation as the “Putin Price Hike” at a Monday press briefing.
“Because of the actions were taken to address the ‘Putin Price Hike,’ we are in a better place than we were last month, but we expect March … CPI headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated due to ‘Putin’s Price Hike’, and we expect a large difference between core and headline inflation, reflecting the global disruptions in energy and food markets,” Psaki said.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer questioned the administration’s efforts to blame Putin for rising costs in a March 10 segment of “The Situation Room,” saying it is “not necessarily quite the case.” More recently, the network’s Abby Phillips cited a poll finding “Americans just don’t buy” the administration’s excuse for inflation.
The administration has been pressed on reinstating policies that directly affect domestic oil supply, including the reinstatement of federal grants for companies to drill on public lands and the Keystone XL Pipeline, which intended to carry 8,000 oil barrels to the U.S. from Canada.
A Tuesday poll found that a majority of Americans, 71%, blame Putin for rising gas prices, while 68% blame Big Oil.