Craig Harrington

Author ››› Craig Harrington
  • STUDY: Cable And Broadcast News Try To Cover The Economy Without Economists

    Economists Made Up 1 Percent Of Guests In The First Quarter Of 2016, While Shows Focused On Campaigns, Inequality

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON & ALEX MORASH

    Expertise from economists was almost completely absent from television news coverage of the economy in the first quarter of 2016, which focused largely on the tax and economic policy platforms of this year’s presidential candidates. Coverage of economic inequality spiked during the period -- tying an all-time high -- driven in part by messaging from candidates on both sides of the aisle, but gender diversity in guests during economic news segments remained low.

  • Media, Experts Slam Ted Cruz’s Promise Of 5 Percent Economic Growth

    Proposed Tax Cuts Have Proved To Not Stimulate Economic Growth, Suggested Return To The Gold Standard Is Simply “Dangerous”

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) promised that if he was elected, his administration would oversee economic growth in excess of 5 percent a year stemming from reduced regulations, tax cuts for high-income earners and corporations, a balanced federal budget, and a return to the gold standard. Journalists and experts were quick to criticize Cruz’s economic growth target, which exceeds by 1 percentage point a proposal by former Republican candidate Jeb Bush that was roundly mocked as “nonsense” and “impossible” last summer.

  • TV News Ignores Historic Findings That Uninsured Rate Drops To “Record Low”

    Broadcast And Cable News Fail To Inform Viewers About Major Obamacare Success Story

    ››› ››› ALEX MORASH & CRAIG HARRINGTON

    According to an April 7 update to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index for the first quarter of 2016, the uninsured rate among American adults dropped to 11.0 percent -- the lowest rate of uninsurance in the 8-year history of the poll. The uninsured rate has dropped over 6 percentage points since the third quarter of 2013, the last recording period before the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or "Obamacare" went into effect in October 2013. A Media Matters review found that none of the major television outlets reported on Gallup’s historic findings.

  • Myths & Facts: The Gender Pay Gap And Need For Equal Pay

    Right-Wing Media Still Refuse To Acknowledge The Gender Pay Gap

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Equal Pay Day “symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year,” according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. Despite efforts toward equitable pay in the United States over the past several decades, American women still face a considerable gap in pay when compared to their male counterparts. Rather than acknowledging the overwhelming evidence that American women are still paid less than men for the same work, conservative media have promoted myths and misinformation that obscure the truth about pay disparities.

  • "Entitlement Nation Run Amok”: Fox’s Andrew Napolitano Peddles Lies About The Minimum Wage

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX MORASH & CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Fox News’ misinformation campaign against the minimum wage has shifted into high gear following the passage of statewide increases in California and New York. The network is now hyping worries from senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano that a $15 minimum wage is a subversive attempt to “bribe the poor for votes,” which will result in dramatic price increases and job losses while driving more low-wage workers onto public assistance programs.

    In an April 6 op-ed published by the right-wing Washington Times, Napolitano suggested that politicians are raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour “to win the votes of those they promised to help” while claiming that increased wages would have drastic negative economic consequences. On the April 7 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Napolitano claimed that raising the minimum wage would result in price increases that put necessities beyond the reach of low-wage workers, destroy jobs, and expand reliance on public assistance. Later that morning, Napolitano appeared on Fox Business’ Varney & Co. and claimed that “poor people will lose their jobs because they simply are not worth” a $15 wage. From Fox & Friends:

    CLAIM: Minimum Wage Increases Will Result In Job Losses, Price Inflation

    Counter to Napolitano’s claim that raising the minimum wage would lead to dramatic price increases, researchers at Purdue University concluded in a July 2015 report that increasing the minimum wage of fast-food workers to $15 per hour would result in only a 4.3 percent increase in restaurant prices. According to The Economist’s Big Mac Index, a 4.3 percent increase in the cost of a Big Mac in the United States would be roughly 22 cents. Researchers at Cornell University found that raising the regular and tipped minimum wages for workers in the restaurant and hospitality industries has "not had large or reliable effects" on the number of people working in the industry and price increases have not been large enough to “dramatically affect overall demand." Right-wing media have a long history of claiming that minimum wages destroy jobs and inflate prices, but the overwhelming majority of economic research shows no such relationship.

    CLAIM: Minimum Wage Work Isn’t Worth $15 Per Hour

    Napolitano’s poor-shaming stance on the supposedly lesser value of low-skilled and low-income workers mirrors similar comments from Fox Business host Charles Payne, who on multiple occasions has slammed minimum wage increases as rewarding and encouraging "mediocrity." In fact, according to ThinkProgress, a $15-per-hour minimum wage would not even be a living wage in many states, including California or New York -- workers today already need to make closer to $22 per hour. Furthermore, according to a report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), minimum wage workers have been undervalued for decades; if the federal minimum wage had kept up with increasing worker productivity since the 1970s, it would have reached $21.72 per hour by 2012.

    CLAIM: Minimum Wage Increases Will Expand Dependence On Welfare

    Napolitano falsely claimed that increasing the minimum wage would drive more low-income Americans into poverty by destroying opportunities for employment, and that it would result in an increased reliance on public assistance programs. On the contrary, according to research by the Center for American Progress (CAP) on an abandoned 2014 proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour by July 2016, the wage increase could have decreased reliance on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as “food stamps,” by $4.6 billion annually. In February 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that a $10.10 federal minimum wage would lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty while injecting billions of dollars into the consumer economy. A December 2013 study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) similarly found that the modest wage increase would have directly or indirectly lifted wages for nearly 30 million American workers. Conservative media personalities like Napolitano frequently bemoan the supposed ill effects of raising the minimum wage, completely ignoring the heavy public cost that historically low minimum wages across the country already carry. An October 2013 report by the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center found that low wages in the fast-food industry alone cost taxpayers $7 billion annually by increasing the strain on public assistance.

    CLAIM: Minimum Wage Increases Are A Means of “Buying Votes”

    Napolitano’s claim that minimum wage increases are a political tool meant to curry favor and “bribe the poor for votes” is a common right-wing media theme. Fox News personalities, often led by Fox Business host Stuart Varneyfrequently claim that Democrats support policies aimed at alleviating poverty only as a means of “buying votes.” For years, Fox has claimed that the Lifeline program -- a Reagan-era telecommunications subsidy for low-income families -- was a Democratic plot to “bribe” and “enslave” American voters. In fact, tens of millions of Americans across the political spectrum rely on these vital programs, and Republican politicians are actually more likely than their Democratic counterparts to represent constituents who use food stamps -- a program that low-income families would be less reliant on if minimum wages were increased.

  • US News Promotes "Deeply Flawed" Analysis To Claim Minimum Wage Increases Could Hurt Low-Wage Workers

    Dozens Of Studies Have Shown A Negligible Relationship Between Minimum Wage Increases And Employment

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    U.S. News & World Report published a lengthy interview with an economist whose research purports to show a link between minimum wage increases and job losses as part of a feature intended to answer whether "a higher minimum wage [would] help or hurt workers." The economist the magazine solely relied on for its investigation of the minimum wage has been criticized for producing "deeply flawed" research in the past that goes against the overwhelming preponderance of economic research around the minimum wage.

    Just days prior to the publication of the interview, the Los Angeles Times reported on a tentative deal between California lawmakers and minimum wage advocates that would raise the state's minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2022.

    On March 28, U.S. News published excerpts from an interview between reporter Andrew Soergel and economics professor Jeff Clemens in which the two attempted to shed light on the fraught partisan argument over the merits of local, state, and federal efforts to raise the minimum wage -- which currently stands at just $7.25 per hour at the federal level. Unfortunately for readers, what was actually presented was a one-sided conversation pushing myths commonly parroted by right-wing media, which blame minimum wage increases for job losses, teenage unemployment, service automation, and economic stagnation. From U.S. News (emphasis added):

    So which side is right? That depends almost entirely on the perception of the problem with the domestic labor market, says Jeff Clemens, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

    If you believe employers are squeezing more and more output from their payrolls without fair compensation, then a minimum wage hike would be for you. But if you believe technological advances and low-skill, low-wage competition from overseas have limited the number of minimum wage jobs in the U.S. and prevented employers from doling out raises, then a minimum wage bump might not make sense and could ultimately hurt low-skill workers' employment opportunities.

    Clemens' own research suggests the series of minimum wage hikes enacted in the mid-2000s contributed substantially to the number of low-skill jobs lost during and around the Great Recession. But he says there are compelling bodies of evidence on both sides of the spectrum.

    Soergel promoted the interview with a misleading tweet claiming "a lot of research suggests" that raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour "could hurt employment":

    Contrary to Soergel's claim, there is actually very little available research on $15 minimum wage rates, because those wage levels have never before been enacted in the United States. The Fight for $15 movement has successfully pushed some companies in some municipalities to voluntarily lift wages for workers, but $15 wages are not in place yet. On May 1, 2014, the mayor and city council in Seattle, Washington, made history by announcing plans to raise the municipal minimum wage to $15, but that wage level will be phased-in for different employers over the course of three to seven years.

    A 2015 study that does purport to show massive job losses resulting from a $15 minimum wage was issued by the conservative Empire Center for Public Policy. The study, which Media Matters debunked, was criticized by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) for using "outdated economics" and for relying on "less sophisticated and less accurate research." One of the studies the Empire Center relied on for its misleading analysis was co-authored by Clemens, and was harshly criticized by labor economist Irv Lefberg as "deeply flawed" and "pure scientific folly" because it attempted to attribute employment changes in the midst of the Great Recession to "a small, gradual increase" of the minimum wage "affecting a small portion of the workforce."

    Clemens is a qualified economist, but his position on the minimum wage is hardly indicative of the economics profession as a whole. For example, an April 2012 report by the University of California, Berkeley's Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) found that the change in "employment stock" -- the number of available jobs -- resulting from increased minimum wages is "indistinguishable from zero." In February 2013, economist John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) reviewed the findings of dozens of individual studies and meta-analyses of the minimum wage, and concluded that it "has little or no discernible effect on the employment prospects of low-wage workers." One of the meta-studies in CEPR's review was a 2009 peer-reviewed paper by economists Hristos Doucouliagos and T.D. Stanley, which plotted the estimated jobs impact of 1,492 separate calculations contained in 64 distinct studies. The paper found that the overwhelming majority of the "most precise estimates" of positive and negative jobs impacts were "clustered at or near zero":

    The Overwhelming Majority Of Minimum Wage Research Predict Zero Employment Effects

    There is an enormous amount of research demonstrating that the minimum wage has little effect on the job market -- a December 2015 study by researchers at Cornell University argued that with so little evidence to make a case against raising the minimum wage, opponents ought to just "support rather than oppose reasonable increases." There is also additional research demonstrating the positive side-effects of increased wages, including reducing the impact of poverty on low-wage workers. A January 5, 2016, briefing paper from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) concluded that a phased-in wage increase to $15 per hour in 2021 would boost wages "directly or indirectly" for 3.2 million workers in New York alone. A July 14, 2015, EPI briefing paper found that raising the federal minimum wage to just $12 per hour in 2020 would lift wages for 35 million American workers. An October 2013 study by economists at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign found that low wages in the fast food industry alone cost taxpayers "nearly $7 billion per year" in increased spending on anti-poverty programs. An April 2015 study by the UC-Berkeley Labor Center found that low wages cost taxpayers nearly $153 billion annually nationwide.

    Media Matters has debunked the right-wing media myth that raising the minimum wage will result in job losses for low-wage workers dozens of times. Nevertheless, the same discredited arguments continue emerging every time the minimum wage is in the news. It would not be surprising to see right-wing outlets turn to Clemens, and only Clemens, for an in-depth feature assailing the minimum wage, but U.S. News' decision to do so is perplexing.

  • Will CNN Ask GOP Candidates To Explain The Failure Of Trickle-Down Economics?

    New York Magazine Blasted The Media For Failing To Hold GOP Accountable For Disastrous Policy Failures In Kansas And Louisiana

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    CNN will interview the three remaining Republican candidates, along with the two remaining Democrats, during a 3-hour special town hall event. Will CNN hold the GOP hopefuls accountable for proposing tax and economic policies similar to those that have been "thoroughly discredited" when implemented by Republican-led states?

    In a critical March 18 post in New York magazine's Daily Intelligencer blog titled "The Republican Party Must Answer for What It Did to Kansas and Louisiana," associate editor Eric Levitz blasted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), and GOP front-runner Donald Trump for promising to institute tax cuts and budgetary reforms at a national level that have proven to be disastrous for Republican-led states. After outlining the ways that the so-called "red-state model" turned Kansas and Louisiana into failed "real live experiment[s]" of conservative economic policies, Levitz challenged media organizations to hold Republican candidates accountable for supporting those policies (emphasis added):

    Over the course of 12 debates, the Republican presidential candidates were never asked to address the budget problems in Kansas.

    [...]

    When Donald Trump makes a gaffe, reporters confront Republican leaders and demand a response. When the GOP's economic platform decimates two U.S. states, a similar confrontation is in order.

    CNN's March 21 prime-time town halls with the remaining Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls present a perfect opportunity for the network to hold GOP leaders accountable for the dramatic failures of the "red-state model" in Kansas and Louisiana, while also pressing them on their own economic policy promises that have been derided as "imaginary," "insane," and "fantasy" in the past:

    • According to Politico, Ohio Gov. John Kasich's supposed conservative success with tax cuts in Ohio was boosted by his state accepting the "billions of federal dollars from Obamacare" and raising regressive "sales and cigarette taxes -- levies that hit the pocketbooks of all Ohioans, especially low-income ones." Will CNN hold Kasich accountable for his unsuccessful attempts to spur job creation and economic growth with tax cuts for the rich and budget gimmicks?
    • According to a February 16 analysis from the Tax Policy Center, Ted Cruz's proposed tax cuts would increase the federal budget deficit by $8.6 trillion over ten years. Will CNN press Cruz on his embrace of massive tax cuts that increase the budget deficit and hurt low-income Americans?
    • According to a December 22 analysis from the Tax Policy Center, Donald Trump's proposed tax cuts would increase the federal budget deficit by $9.5 trillion over ten years. In 2014, CNN even criticized Trump for his tax plan that favors the wealthy. During a November 11 segment, CNN's Rana Foroohar criticized what she called the "old-fashioned Republican formula" of "trickle-down" economics and tax cuts for the wealthy for failing to deliver promised economic growth. And during a December 23 segment, CNN's Christine Romans explained that Trump's tax plan creates "a whole category of impossible math" that overwhelmingly benefits the top 0.1 percent of income earners while ballooning the federal budget deficit. So will the network stand by its own reporting and hold Trump accountable for his budget-busting giveaway to the super rich?

    In the lead up to the October 28 Republican presidential debate, Media Matters called on CNBC's debate moderators to hold candidates accountable for their fantasy tax plans. Right-wing media outlets reacted with outrage when CNBC moderator John Harwood correctly pointed out that Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) tax plan provided more relief for the top 1 percent than for the middle-class. Conservatives attacked the country's leading business and financial news network for its supposed "liberal media bias" and pushed to put conservative personalities in charge of all future debates. In response to those complaints, CNN debunked claims of media bias by comparing questions from CNBC debate to similar questions during Fox News' debates.

    With only three Republican presidential candidates still in the race for the nomination, questions remain as to how CNN will respond.

  • Media Scrutiny Reveals Cracks In Kasich's Ohio "Miracle"

    News Outlets Find Glaring Omissions In Kasich's Campaign Rhetoric On Budget, Economy, And Taxes

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON & ALEX MORASH

    John Kasich

    State and national media outlets took a tough look at Ohio Gov. John Kasich's claims that tax cuts and a balanced budget created jobs and economic recovery in his state. Their findings reveal that the governor, a candidate in the Republican presidential primary, is not telling the whole story.

    On March 13, Politico reported on Kasich's Ohio "comeback story" with an article titled "The myth of Ohio's economic miracle." It found that while the governor frequently claims his leadership led to a balanced state budget and better economic growth, Ohio's economic recovery closely coincided with the national rebound initiated by President Obama's stimulus and rescue packages, which were signed into law long before Kasich took office. According to Politico, critics counter that Kasich "benefited from the tailwinds of an improving national economy."

    Ohio State University political science professor Vladimir Kogan pointed out that Democratic-led California has outperformed Ohio since Kasich took office in January 2011, and that state-level recoveries are so closely tied to the national economy that the governor "cannot credibly claim that his policies alone are responsible for Ohio's improving economy." Kogan concluded, "Kasich was just lucky enough to be in the right office at the right time." Unemployment rate data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) seem to confirm Kogan's argument: The Ohio job market has been steadily improving since February 2010, 11 months before Kasich took office, and unemploment rates in the state have closely matched national averages since the late 1980s:

    Unemployment Rate In Ohio

    Politico also reported that Kasich's touted balanced budget did cut income taxes 10 percent in 2013 and an additional 6.3 percent in 2015, but to pay for it he had to take "billions of federal dollars from Obamacare" and raise regressive "sales and cigarette taxes -- levies that hit the pocketbooks of all Ohioans, especially low-income ones." Cutting personal income taxes while raising sales taxes resulted in a tax cut for corporations and shifted the tax burden onto hardworking Americans (emphasis added):

    To be sure, this heavy manufacturing state has rebounded after being hit hard by the recession. But that was part of a national economic recovery and it left behind many Ohioans, especially the low-wage and manufacturing workers who have flocked to Trump in states like Michigan, where Kasich campaigned so long he joked he should pay taxes.

    [...]

    Others say Kasich singled out one data point from Ohio's employment numbers to cast himself as the ultimate job generator, instead of as someone who benefited from the tailwinds of an improving national economy.

    And while he cut income tax rates twice and eliminated the state's estate tax, he also raised sales and cigarette taxes -- levies that hit the pocketbooks of all Ohioans, especially low-income ones.

    [...]

    His administration cut income tax rates by 10 percent in 2013 and by another 6.3 percent in 2015 and eliminated the estate tax. However, it paid for those cuts by increasing the sales tax (a move frowned upon by budget experts for disproportionately hitting lower-income people) and doing an end-run around the Republican-dominated state Legislature to expand Medicaid, which resulted in an infusion of billions of federal dollars from Obamacare.

    Conservatives universally applauded the slashing of the income tax rates, as did local manufacturers, many of which structure their companies so they file taxes through the personal income, and not the corporate side of the tax code.

    A March 14 article by The New York Times also criticized Kasich's claims that he balanced the budget, noting that he had to cut local aid funding so deeply that cities and towns had to propose tax increases of their own, or initiate significant cuts to services. The Times found that "more than 70 cities and villages had lost at least $1 million a year because of Mr. Kasich's actions," which included deep income tax cuts and elimination of the estate tax (a tax instrument that affects only a handful of extremely wealthy families).

    This highly critical reporting from The Times and Politico followed a March 9 report from The Wall Street Journal, which found that Kasich's tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations had "shifted $2.2 billion in costs to localities, a decision that continues to dog city and village governments." Shifting costs to cities and towns allowed the governor to claim he balanced the budget, but as conservative economist and former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holt-Eakin put it in an interview with The Journal, Kasich "g[o]t others to do the tough job" of cutting services and raising taxes for him.

    The omissions in Kasich's campaign talking points are readily apparent in state-level media coverage of the Ohio economy. On March 9, PolitiFact Ohio rated a Kasich campaign ad as "mostly false" for claiming, "As governor, Kasich delivered the largest tax cut in the nation." PolitiFact argued that other states have actually implemented larger tax cuts than Kasich did after accounting for the size of their economy and population -- such as Republican-led Kansas, which has been devastated by Gov. Sam Brownback's Koch-backed tax cut program. Like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Politico, PolitiFact also noted that Kasich's so-called "tax cut" was actually "more of a tax shift" that "forces local governments to raise taxes in turn."

  • NY Post's Latest Attack On Homeless Demonstrates Real-World Consequences Of Poor-Shaming

    Media Outlets That Attack Homeless Offer No Solutions Beyond Making Them Disappear

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Just hours after the New York Post dedicated its front page to shaming a homeless woman living in New York City's Hell's Kitchen area, police and other city workers arrived to throw away a significant amount of her worldly possessions. The incident, which was caught on video, provides a glimpse of the devastating real-world consequences of the right-wing media's attacks on the homeless and of their larger poor-shaming campaign.

    In a March 9 article titled "She runs this town," the New York Post disparaged a homeless New York City resident named Sonia Gonzalez for the collection of belongings that she keeps with her on the street. The article featured comments from passersby complaining that Gonzalez's belongings obstruct pedestrian traffic and included an ominous quote attributed to a construction worker who said that her presence in the area threatened to set the up-and-coming neighborhood back to "what [it] was 20 years ago." As has been the case several times in the past, the Post amplified its poor-shaming article with a full front-page spread:

    The New York Post Shamelessly Attacks Homeless Woman

    As a March 10 post from Gawker pointed out, police and other city workers arrived in Hell's Kitchen to forcibly dispose of the vast majority of Gonzalez's possessions just hours after the paper hit newsstands. The New York Post was on the scene to film the incident, which it published online in a blog titled "Homeless hoarder's junk train gets tossed."

    The New York Post has a long-running devotion to humiliating New York City's homeless population. Last summer, the paper dedicated its July 11 front page to demeaning a homeless man for urinating in public and then excoriated the police for releasing him after his arrest the next day. In September, the paper's front page proclaimed, "We need tough love" to solve homelessness in the city, while promoting former Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani's proposal to arrest homeless people as a way of keeping them off the street. Last November, the paper hyped what it called a "vagrant fix" on its front page by encouraging New York residents to stop giving money to the homeless. A day later, the paper drove the point home by promoting claims that homeless people can make up to "$200 an hour" from charitable pedestrians.

    The Post's humiliation of the homeless does not occur in a vacuum. Last summer, the paper's attacks were part of a right-wing media echo chamber that included multiple dehumanizing segments on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor and a fraught segment on MSNBC's Morning Joe, where the co-hosts and guests worried that "the squeegees are coming" to neighborhoods like the Upper West Side. In September, after months of right-wing outlets complaining about the presence of homeless people on the streets, Fox News dedicated multiple segments to disparaging a program in Washington, D.C., that actually kept homeless families in affordable housing.

    Too often, right-wing media's preferred solution to homelessness is to simply make the homeless disappear -- whether by locking them up, or destroying their belongings -- even when doing so would be a blatant violation of their constitutional rights.

    H/T to Gawker for initially highlighting the New York Post cover story

  • Jonah Goldberg Furious After Two National Review Colleagues Endorse Trump

    Right-Wing Economic Policy Darlings Larry Kudlow And Stephen Moore Are Regular Contributors To National Review

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Moore and Kudlow

    National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg berated two right-wing economic policy figureheads -- Stephen Moore and Larry Kudlow -- for what Goldberg saw as their abandonment of conservative principles by supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy. Both men have written extensively for National Review Online (NRO) promoting the conservative movement's economic agenda, with Kudlow acting as a contributing editor for the publication.

    The right-wing media civil war was on full display on March 9 when Goldberg attacked Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore and CNBC senior contributor Larry Kudlow for endorsing Trump, despite the Republican front-runner's lack of apparent conservative policy bona fides. Goldberg argued that Moore and Kudlow had abandoned conservative purity by endorsing "winning at any cost," and that Trump's policies are a "populist deformation of conservatism." Goldberg's decision to target Moore and Kudlow for their embrace of Trump is particularly interesting given how much the two men have contributed to National Review and National Review Online over the years.

    Moore's regular publication history with the outlet dates back to 2003, when he was an ardent champion of the Bush administration's tax cuts, and picked up steam in 2014 when he used NRO to promote Republican talking points on tax and regulatory policy, the federal budget and deficit, and the minimum wage. Kudlow's ties to the outlet where he serves as both a contributing editor (in print) and a columnist and economics editor (online) are even more extensive, dating to 1999.

    Goldberg may be targeting Moore and Kudlow for apostasy now, but they have been boosting Trump for some time now -- weeks in the case of Moore, and months for Kudlow. Moore praised Trump in a February 11 column for The American Spectator, suggesting he could "expand the Republican base to include independents and union Democratic voters" and claimed that "Trump is the anti-Obama in every way ... . Trump emanates love for America and pledged to 'make America great again.'" CNBC contributer James Pethokoukis also listed Moore as part of Trump's "council of wise men" on February 22. Goldberg wrote that Kudlow "has moved markedly in Trump's direction" on policy, and Kudlow also expressed his support for Trump's tax plan in September when it was released.

    In January, the National Review launched a conservative war on Trump with a dedicated "Against Trump" issue, referring to him as a "philosophically unmoored political opportunist." Goldberg's March 9 article berating Moore and Kudlow is just another barrage in the right-wing media civil war over Trump (emphasis added):

    In 2009, then-senator Jim DeMint declared he'd rather have 30 reliable conservatives in the Senate than 60 unreliable ones. Ted Cruz launched his presidential campaign on the premise that deviation from pure conservatism cost Republicans the 2012 election. The only way to win was to refuse to compromise and instead give voters a clear choice. Many of the right's most vocal ideological enforcers cheered him on.

    Until Trump started winning. Suddenly, the emphasis wasn't on winning through purer conservatism but on winning at any cost.

    Consider Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore. In August, the two legendarily libertarian-minded economists attacked Trump, focusing on what they called Trump's "Fortress America platform." His trade policies threaten the global economic order, they warned. "We can't help wondering whether the recent panic in world financial markets is in part a result of the Trump assault on free trade," they mused. As for Trump's immigration policies, they could "hardly be further from the Reagan vision of America as a 'shining city on a hill.'"

    Months later, as Trump rose in the polls, Kudlow and Moore joined the ranks of Trump's biggest boosters -- and not because Trump changed his views. On the contrary, Kudlow has moved markedly in Trump's direction. He now argues that the borders must be sealed and all visas canceled. He also thinks we have to crack down on China.

    [...]

    Instead of converting voters to conservatism, Trump is succeeding at converting conservatives to statism on everything from health care and entitlements to trade.