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Obama Is Negotiating the Biggest Trade Deal in Human History - It Would Gouge the American Economy

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Right now - the Obama administration is negotiating the biggest trade deal in human history. If approved - The Trans-Pacific Partnership - or TPP for short - would create a whole new set of rules regulating the economies of twelve countries on four different continents bordering the Pacific Ocean. While TPP is its official acronym, because it's a deal that involves Southern Hemisphere Asian countries as well as us and others, I prefer, instead of TPP, to call it the "Southern Hemisphere Asian Free Trade Agreement" or SHAFTA. Because SHAFTA or the TPP is being negotiated almost entirely in secret - we don't know a lot about it - and what we do know comes almost entirely from leaks. And according to those leaks - the TPP/SHAFTA would give big pharmaceutical companies virtual monopoly patent power - it would let corporations sue countries in international courts over regulations that those corporations don't like - and and it would gut American environmental and financial rules. The TPP/SHAFTA is a huge deal - the type of story about which the media should be informing the American people. But here's the problem: almost no one in the mainstream media is talking about it. According to Media Matters for America - during one six month period between August 2013 and February 2014 - only one nightly network news show - The PBS Newshour - mentioned the trade deal - and they only mentioned it once. And that one mention occurred essentially as a plug for the TPP/SHAFTA, when a scholar from a right-wing DC think tank said that signing on to the TPP was essential for "improving relations with Asian nations."         Cable news did a little better when it comes to TPP coverage.  While Fox So-Called News had no mentions - CNN talked about it once and MSNBC talked about it thirty-two times. But those thirty-two mentions were mostly on one show - "The Ed Show" - and because MSNBC is only available by premium subscription - there's a very good chance most Americans never watched Ed talk about the TPP/SHAFTA. Of course - the only thing worse than not talking about the TPP/SHAFTA - like TV news networks have been doing - is talking about it in a misleading way. And that's exactly what most mainstream newspapers have been doing. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting recently looked into TPP/SHAFTA coverage at two of the country's most influential newspapers - the New York Times and the Washington Post - and found that " on the rare occasions the papers covered TPP/SHAFTA over the last year, the sources they quoted tilted heavily in favor of the treaty." The total media blackout on actually critical coverage of the TPP/SHAFTA is a story in and of itself.                          


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