The weather was politicized years ago when global warming and climate alarmism were ramped up as a dire, dramatic topic by the news media and quickly added to the liberal list of pet issues. The weather was again politicized when former President George W. Bush was criticized for his administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The same thing has happened to President Trump — first during Hurricane Maria, and again as Hurricane Florence churns in the Atlantic.
“The media is, as we speak, getting ready to portray Hurricane Florence as Donald Trump’s Katrina. Do not doubt me. No matter what happens in the aftermath here, Trump is going to be blamed for this hurricane and its aftermath, and they’re going be calling it Trump’s Katrina — even, maybe, before it hits. You watch,” predicted talk radio host Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday.
And he is 100 percent right.
In fact, the phrase “Trump’s Katrina” was in use in 2017 Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Mr. Trump’s tweets sparked criticism after he had noted that San Juan Mayor Carmen Yuln Cruz had “poor leadership,” and that the Democratic Party had suggested the mayor “be nasty” to the president.
“‘Trump’s Katrina?’ No, it’s much worse,” wrote CNN’s national security analyst Juliette Kayyem on Oct. 1, 2017. “Not even President George W. Bush went down that path during Hurricane Katrina, a crisis that will no longer serve as THE metric for future presidents’ failures. In the years ahead, we will stop asking ‘is this the President’s Hurricane Katrina?’ Instead, it will be ‘is this the President’s Puerto Rico?’ Trump has moved the goal post,” Ms. Kayyem wrote.
Tweets during a weather event also bothered NBC moderator Chuck Todd on Tuesday.
“At times like this, you want the president to be the president,” he said during an appearance Tuesday on MSNBC.
Mr. Trump, meanwhile, has been in full leadership mode as Hurricane Florence fosters intense, often alarming news coverage. The president already has canceled two public rallies. He appeared at a 9/11 remembrance event, then gave a comprehensive news conference from the Oval Office, clearly outlining emergency response and recovery plans. His tweets to 54 million followers were pragmatic and concerned.
“Just had calls with South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam regarding the incoming storm. Federal Government stands by, ready to assist 24/7,” Mr. Trump noted, while another tweet advised, “Heed the directions of your State and Local Officials — and know that WE are here for you. Be SAFE!”
Those “Trump’s Katrina” headlines could very well be inbound soon, however — just as Mr. Limbaugh predicts.
CHARTING DISTRUST IN THE PRESS
A major poll from Gallup and the Knight Foundation confirms that Americans don’t trust the press.
“The news media, like many other major U.S. institutions, has suffered from a decline in public confidence in recent years. A key question for the future of the news media, as well as for U.S. democracy, is whether that trust is lost for good,” advises the poll, released Tuesday.
“Most U.S. adults, including more than 9 in 10 Republicans, say they personally have lost trust in the news media in recent years. At the same time, 69 percent of those who have lost trust say that trust can be restored,” the analysis says, noting that the biggest criticisms were lack of accuracy and bias.
“Sixty-nine percent of U.S. adults in the current survey say their trust in the news media has decreased in the past decade. Just 4 percent say their trust has increased, while 26 percent indicate their trust has not changed. Republicans (94 percent) and political conservatives (95 percent) are nearly unanimous in saying their trust in the media has decreased in the past decade. However, declining trust is not just confined to the political right — 75 percent of independents and 66 percent of moderates indicate they are less trusting than they were 10 years ago.”
Find more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
JOE ON THE ROAD
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden is in campaign mode, and now hopes fans will meet him “on the road,” according to a new voter outreach.
“This fall, I’m going everywhere I possibly can. I’ll be hitting cities and towns all across this country — in red states and blue states, in districts that Donald Trump won, some by huge margins — everywhere I can to elect leaders with courage and conviction,” says Mr. Biden, musing over the itinerary.
“That might mean riding the Northeast Regional train together up the Eastern seaboard. It might mean meeting backstage at a rally in Wisconsin or Ohio. There’s a good reason I can’t tell you exactly where we might meet: I genuinely don’t know. That’s because, as the dynamics of races around the country change every day, we’re constantly updating our travel plans to make sure we’re as effective as we can be. No matter where we meet, just know that we’ll make sure we get you there,” Mr. Biden advised.
Fox News Channel is now in its 35th consecutive week as the most-watched network in the cable realm, and also aired 11 of the top 25 telecasts last week according to Nielsen Media Research. The network, incidentally, has already sent nine correspondents to North Carolina coastline cities to cover Hurricane Florence. As it has for 16 years, Fox News Channel leads the cable news competition with 2.3. million prime time viewers, compared to 2 million of MSNBC and 1.1 million for CNN.
Things are also positive at the Fox Business Network, which now marks the 30th consecutive week as the No. 1 business channel, with a 17 percent ratings advantage over closest rival CNBC. Varney & Co has been the most watch market-themed program on TV for the 68th consecutive week.
POLL DU JOUR
• 69 percent of Americans say their trust in the media has decreased in the last decade; 94 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agree.
• 69 percent overall say confidence in the media “can be restored”; 60 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of independents and 86 percent of Democrats agree.
• 1 percent overall ‘trust all news organizations”; 0 percent of Republicans, 0 percent of independents and 2 percent of Democrats agree.
• 17 percent overall ‘trust most news organizations”; 3 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of independents and 33 percent of Democrats agree.
• 67 percent overall say they ‘trust only some news organizations”; 75 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 64 percent of Democrats agree.
• 16 percent overall “do not trust any news organizations”; 21 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of independents and 2 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Gallup/Knight Foundation survey of 1,218 U.S. adults conducted June 4-25 and released Tuesday.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin