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.