Headline RoundupFebruary 21st, 2024

Are Food Prices Stabilizing? Media Strikes Different Tones

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Media coverage is highlighting different aspects of food inflation, supporting divergent narratives as American food prices stabilize. 

The Details: January’s inflation data showed food prices rising 0.4% over the month, an acceleration from December’s 0.2% increase. Year-over-year, however, the food inflation rate was 2.6% in January, down slightly from a 2.7% annual rise in December.

How the Media Covered It: On Monday, a New York Times (Lean Left bias) analysis highlighted yearly food inflation data and quotes from companies bringing prices back to “normal” because of consumers “pushing back” — “good news for grocery shoppers, restaurant diners and the White House.” The same day, Fox Business (Lean Right bias) highlighted a Pennsylvania food supplier which had “been caught between higher input costs and consumers struggling to pay for inflationary prices,” but which also noticed consumers were “resistant to some of these higher prices.”

Why the Difference: Ahead of November’s elections, Republicans have tried to blame Democrats for recent years’ high inflation, and Democrats have pointed to improving economic figures as vindication. Inflation slowing down could help Democrats by making higher prices less salient in voters’ minds, incentivizing liberals and conservatives to frame inflation as either a problem of the past or a persistent threat. 

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