Tag Archives: President Trump

President Excoriates Media

 

Breitbart.com photo

“Every American has a role to play” in combatting the coronavirus menace, says the president.

That includes journalists, although President Trump does not seem to recognize that. He excoriates them every chance he gets.

NBC’s Peter Alexander asked him at a news conference: “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”  The president answered: “I say that you are a terrible reporter, that’s what I say. It’s a very nasty question. It’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.”

Actually, it was a soft-ball question that offered the president a chance to appear presidential and to comfort a nation under attack by a viral pestilence. The president’s drumbeat of negativism is not helpful.

On Sunday, President lashed out against media again, tweeting: “I watch and listen to the Fake News, CNN, MSDNC, ABC, NBC, CBS, some of FOX (desperately & foolishly pleading to be politically correct), the @nytimes, & the @washingtonpost, and all I see is hatred of me at any cost. Don’t they understand that they are destroying themselves?”

Actually, this attack dog mentality against the media appears to be destroying his credibility at a time of extreme urgency, when public trust in credible sources of information is vital to public safety.

“Americans have little trust in the information they are hearing from President Trump about the novel coronavirus, and their confidence in the federal government’s response to it is declining sharply,” according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just 46 percent of Americans now say the federal government is doing enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, down from 61 percent in February, writes Domenico Montanaro. According to the poll, he writes, just 37 percent of Americans now say they had a good amount or a great deal of trust in what they’re hearing from the president, while 60 percent say they had not very much or no trust at all in what he’s saying.

The president rates worst of all groups tested, according to the poll, and that includes public health officials, state and local leaders or the news media. When it comes to the news media, two-thirds of Democrats trust news media information, independents were split and Republicans overwhelmingly said they do not trust media information. Republicans think the coronavirus is blown out of proportion.

Public health officials got the highest level of trust at 84 percent, followed by state and local leaders at 72 percent. Americans were split 50 percent to 47 percent on whether they trust news media information or not.

“Having significant chunks of the country either not believing their president (who controls the fedral government’s response), the press (which is a gate-keeper for information), or both, could be dangerous in a pandemic,” writes Montanaro.

Divisions rooted in political squabble do nobody any good, and it’s a good time for President Trump to stop demonizing the media because it does not help his reputation as a credible source of information, and tarnishes the nation’s only real reliable network of information. They should work together against the coronavirus scourge.

The president should quit using  coronavirus briefings as a platform for attacks on the media, as he did recently, when he said: “It amazes me when I read the things that I read. It amazes me when I read the Wall Street Journal which is always so negative, it amazes me when I read the New York Times, it’s not even – I barely read it. You know, we don’t distribute it in the White House anymore, and the same thing with the Washington Post. Because, you see, I know the truth. And people out there in the world, they really don’t know the truth, really don’t know what it is.”

How do remarks like that fit into a briefing on the coronavirus, an existential threat to people across the world? It’s pandering to his political base, who can’t seem to let go of their political haggling as though that is more important than life itself.

Erik Wemple, the Washington Post media critic, writes: “Nearly five years into Trump’s nonstop attacks on the media, it’s bewildering to consider the proper way to rebut them, or whether to rebut them. They come in torrents, based on thoughtless, factless presidential eructations. They serve their political purpose: Solidifying a population of supporters who believe Trump over the media even when presented with evidence upending their inclinations.” He quotes a Trump supporter who says you have to live in New York to understand what Trump is saying.

This comes at a time when 15 states have ordered stay-at-home shutdowns or other emergency action, according to the Daily Beast. Governors are taking sweeping efforts to contain the coronavirus to “fend off the kind of onslaught of patients that has caused southern Europe to buckle,” The Associated Press reported.

The World Health Organization took note of the epidemic’s dramatic speed, the Associated Press reported.

“It took over three months to reach the first 10,000 confirmed cases and only 12 days to reach the next 100,000,” the U.N. health agency said. Across the U.S., governors and public health officials watched the European crisis from afar with mounting alarm and warned of critical shortages of ventilators, masks and other protective gear.

Worldwide, the number of infections exceeded 244,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. More than 86,000 people have recovered, mostly in China.

By comparison, the Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 influenza epidemic, infected 500 million people — about a quarter of the world’s population – from January 1918 through December 1920. The death toll is estimated at anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest epidemics in human history.

Fairness First

Fairness first: Margaret Sullivan calls for a new approach to covering the Trump administration.

“First, we need to abandon neutrality-at-all-costs journalism, to replace it with something more suited to the moment,” she writes.

 

The Media “Reckoning”

The media “reckoning:” Margaret Sullivan agrees there should be a “reckoning” over media coverage of President Trump.

“I reckon that American citizens would have been far worse off if skilled reporters hand’t dug into the connections between Trump’s associates — up to and including his son Don Jr. — and Russians. That reporting has not been invalidated,” she writes.

 

News Media Found More Divisive Than Trump

News media found more divisive than Trump: A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll compares President Trump with national news media, writes Steven Shepard.

Fifty-six percent say Trump divides the country, writes Shepard. “Even more voters, 64 percent, said the media have done more to divide the country….”

 

Good News On Media Trust

Good news on media trust: Indira Lakshmanan and Rick Edmonds report that trust in media scored higher since last year and “the great majority of Americans trust their local news sources.”

A Poynter Media Trust survey finds “that the president’s attempts to discredit the news may be having less effect a year and a half into his presidency.”

Journalists Are Not The Enemy

Journalists are not the enemy: The Boston Globe’s editorial board publishes its response to President Trump’s attack on the media.

More than 350 news outlets joined the Globe’s move to support a free press.

“A central pillar of President Trump’s politics is a sustained assault on the free press,” writes the Globe. “Journalists are not classified as fellow Americans, but rather ‘the enemy of the people.’ This relentless assault on the free press has dangerous consequences.”

 

Poll Favors Presidential Power To Shut Media

Poll favors presidential power to shut media: Sam Stein reports a poll shows a plurality of Republicans want the president to have authority to close news outlets.

“The findings present a sobering picture for the fourth estate, with respondents showing diminished trust in the media and increased support for punitive measures against its members,” he writes.

“They also illustrate the extent to which Trump’s anti-press drumbeat has shaped public opinion about the role the media plays in covering his administration.”

Are Talking Heads Journalists?

Are talking heads journalists? Fox News host Sean Hannity defines himself as no journalist, opinion journalist and advocacy journalist, writes Michael Calderone.

Linked with the president’s personal lawyer, Hannity is accused of conflict of interest. Calderone quotes a source saying we can’t “move out of the realm of ethics when we move into the realm of opinion.”

Using The Term “Racist.”

Touchy subject — using the term “racist” while covering President Trump.

“Placing labels on speech by any public figure runs the risk of editorialization, and newsroom decision makers are wary of overstepping conventional norms,” writes Pete Vernon.

Bottom line: It’s time reporters do what columnists and opinion writers do, says Vernon.