Americans just aren’t as concerned with the trade war as MSNBC thinks they should be, apparently.
On Thursday, the network ran a segment claiming the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. “could lose pandas over Trump’s trade war.” The 1 minute, 40 second segment offered exactly zero evidence that this was anything other than a completely made up fear from MSNBC.
“The president’s trade war with China could soon cost the National Zoo in D.C. its most beloved attraction,” said Ayman Mohyeldin, filling in for Katy Tur. “As tensions rise between the U.S. and China over trade, the pandas that thousands flock to see eat bamboo and tumble down their habit could be sent to China, which technically owns them. The vulnerable species is only on loan here in the U.S.”
Mohyeldin goes on to talk about Bei Bei, the zoo’s most famous panda cub, who is already scheduled to return to China in a few months under the zoo’s current agreement with the country.
As Mohyeldin reported, the 20-year lease on Bei Bei’s parents is up in 2020. “The zoo says it has not started discussions with China about the lease but are confident that they will reach an agreement or deal of sorts,” the host said.
Right there Mohyeldin gives away that this story has no basis in reality. Neither China nor the U.S. has suggested this is an actual possibility, yet MSNBC ran with the story anyway just to get people angered at President Donald Trump and his trade war with China.
It was President Richard Nixon’s wife Pat who helped bring pandas to the U.S., after she visited China with her husband, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported. The network included a clip of Pat Nixon suggesting “pandemonium” would break out in America once the pandas arrived.
“Pandemonium did, in fact, break out,” Mohyeldin said. “Suffice it to say, losing these majestic creatures after a trade war after seeing little Bei Bei grow up before our eyes would be for visitors and animal lovers around the world and here in the U.S. alike, unbearable.”
Again, nothing from China or the U.S. has even hinted that we are in danger of losing our pandas, and the National Zoo released a statement to The Hill saying they don’t believe the trade war will affect the pandas.
“I’d like clarify that we’ve had 47 incredibly successful years of partnering with our Chinese colleagues, China Wildlife and Conservation Association, and our current agreement is through Dec. 7, 2020. Our giant panda conservation program is all based on science plans that both our scientists and their Chinese counterparts create and implement together," Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson told the outlet.
But this was enough for MSNBC and then CBS to run with the completely made up story.
The story, intended to get people outraged at a Republican, is reminiscent of the 2013 government shutdown, during which the Obama administration intentionally shut down national parks that had not been shut down in previous government shutdowns just so that people would notice the government wasn’t running.