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Public gives Trump high marks, the news media a thumbs-down for how they are handling the coronavirus situation

by | Mar 27, 2020

By Dave Andrusko

If you happened to see the Gallup report yesterday, you didn’t need to be a full-time media watcher to know our “friends” in the so-called Mainstream Media (a) would not be happy, and (b) would lash out in frustration.

If the media elite were capable of self-reflection, “Coronavirus Response: Hospitals Rated Best, News Media Worst” would be the wakeup call of all wakeup calls. Here’s Justin McCarthy’s lead paragraph.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans are generally positive in their evaluations of how each of nine leaders and institutions has handled the response to the coronavirus situation. Eight of the nine receive majority positive ratings — led by U.S. hospitals, at 88% approval. Only the news media gets a more negative [55%] than positive [44%] review.

Underwater (as the phrase goes) by a whopping 11 points. 

President Trump [60% approval to 38% disapproval] and Vice President Pence [61% approval to 32% disapproval] received very high marks.

This, of course, is not what the New York Times and the Washington Post and CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN/MSNBC wanted to hear. As they have from before President Trump even assumed office, the usual suspects have hammered the President’s handling of the pandemic without mercy.

So…what do you do? Mollie Hemingway, of The Federalist, offered a brilliant explanation Thursday under the perfect headline: 

“As Trump’s Poll Numbers Rise, Media Begin Censoring Press Conferences: Media continue to make their coverage choices based on whether they believe it will harm or help Trump.”

Before going forward, ponder that for a second. Overwhelmingly, the news media so hate President Trump they are adjusting their coverage of the daily updates which (whatever your position) are hugely enlightening so as to dampen his electoral prospects.

By the way, in his daily update, Gary Bauer observed, “As millions of Americans are stuck at home, they are watching a lot more TV. One new show in particular has record ratings. It’s the Trump Coronavirus Briefing. Monday’s briefing drew more than 12 million viewers, comparable to Monday Night Football.”

Here’s a long excerpt from Hemingway’s post:

The political media have been working extremely hard to craft a narrative that the spread of the coronavirus was essentially the fault of the man they had blamed for all other ills in recent years. How could the people not accept that narrative, particularly considering that most everyone in the media was pushing it?

Things got worse when additional polls showed Trump receiving high ratings at the same time that the media received poor ratings. A brand new Gallup study — “Coronavirus Response: Hospitals Rated Best, News Media Worst” — was particularly bad news. When Americans were asked about nine different institutions and political leaders, they gave majority approval to all but the media. President Trump has a 22-point net approval rating while the media’s net approval rating was negative 11 points. The RealClearPolitics approval average for Trump was its highest during his entire presidency.

In response, the media were angry and depressed and began blaming his press conferences. Their theory seemed to be that the more Americans saw Trump, unfiltered, they liked him and the more Americans saw the behavior of the media, they didn’t like it. This flies in the face of what many in the media assumed for years. They pushed for daily White House press conferences so that they could have the opportunity to be on camera and pressure the Trump administration. Now that they had daily press briefings with the president, no less, they weren’t happy. It was a weird response for a group of people whose ostensible job is to simply report the news of the day.

I’ve been able to watch the briefings this week. As my wife, who is a far more astute observer than I am, noticed, while there is still ample snark, there appears to be a bit less of it coming from reporters. Maybe, just maybe, they had already partially grasped what yesterday’s Gallup poll results all but screamed: do your job, don’t push your agenda!

One other major point—the growing insistence by “journalists” that networks ought not cover the daily briefings, at least not in their entirety. Which brings us back to the first consideration: the President’s (and the Vice President’s) approval numbers are high, and, I would wager, will grow even more. If your job is to defeat Trump, which is Job #1 for so many outlets, this is entirely unacceptable.

But it’s not only  resentment that the Trump administration is enjoying public support. Hemingway keenly observes

What the media instead are realizing is that they have lost control over the filtering that they are used to providing. They seek to spin the news rather than simply show it and report it. And they justify their bias as being part of a higher calling in the journalism profession as opposed to a glaring failure. [My emphasis.]

Her closing is a reminder of what the media is doing to itself will outlast the presidency of Donald Trump, whether he serves one term or two:

They don’t want to report the news. They want to control it. That is damaging and destructive to their own already hurting reputations but, more importantly, to public health itself.

Categories: Donald Trump
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