Oct
11
2013

To NPR, TPP Is a Poker Game With a Pot Full of Jobs

Poker game (cc photo: Viri G)

(cc photo: Viri G)

The Obama administration has been quietly working on a major international trade pact called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. Corporate media tend to give an unequivocal pass to what they call "free trade" deals.

In the case of the TPP, there's been relatively little coverage; that changed a little when the government shutdown meant that Barack Obama couldn't attend a round of recent talks in Asia.

And a primer of sorts on the NPR (10/8/13) by Marilyn Geewax explained the danger:  Obama wouldn't be there to win all the jobs that will be created by the TPP:

Imagine a poker table. At one seat, China's President Xi Jinping studies his cards. At another, Russian President Vladimir Putin is stroking his chin. Asian leaders fill the other seats, each trying to win the pot, which is filled–not with poker chips–but with jobs.

She went on to explain that "'exactly who won what is not yet clear. But this much is known: President Obama was not at the table."

Far from a free pot of good jobs, critics of the TPP have repeatedly argued that the deal involves restricting powers of domestic governments on things like food safety and environmental standards, while establishing more powers for corporations, including incentivizing the offshoring of jobs to low-wage countries–a far cry from NPR's suggestion that world leaders who show up at the poker table get to stake claim to all those jobs.

Clearly the TPP is an issue in great need of some media sunshine. But "explainers" that describe it as a game of poker with a pot full of jobs don't fit that bill.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.