NEWS AND OPINION:
Negative narratives about President Trump seem to be getting more inventive. His many foes in the news media are on the prowl for new ways to undermine both Mr. Trump’s presidency and his ceaseless efforts to counter the coronavirus. Some news organizations have gone so far as to minimize or downplay their own opinion polls which reveal that Americans approve of the job Mr. Trump and his administration are doing to counter the pandemic.
In the last 48 hours, a new tactic has emerged, and that is to fabricate a rift between the president and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an esteemed medical researcher and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.
“Has Trump had enough of Anthony Fauci?” asked CNN, while both MSNBC and The New York Times declared that “Trump’s patience with Dr. Fauci is wearing thin.”
“Where’s Fauci? Doctor’s absence is noted at coronavirus briefing,” said USA Today.
“Trump vs. Fauci: Trump’s gut sense collides with science,” noted The Associated Press.
Dr. Fauci, however, will have none of it, and has clearly denied there is any distance between doctor and president. He distinctly cited repeated media inquiries about “differences” between himself and Mr. Trump.
“It is really unfortunate. I would wish that would stop because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences. There are really, fundamentally, at the core when you look at it, there are no differences,” Dr. Fauci tells WMAL, a talk radio outlet in the nation’s capital.
“The president has listened to what I’ve said, and what the other people on the task force have said. When I’ve made recommendations, he’s taken them. He’s never countered and overridden me,” the doctor declared, questioning the media’s practice of emphasizing discord between president and physician.
“The idea of pitting one against the other is just not helpful, and I’d wish that would stop so we can look ahead at the challenge we have together to get over this thing,” Dr. Fauci told WMAL.
He was not done, though.
“We’ve never had a threat like this and the coordinated response has been, there are a number of adjectives to describe it. Impressive, I think is one of them. I mean, we’re talking about all-hands on-deck is that I, as one of many people on a team, I’m not the only person, since the beginning that we even recognized what this was. I have been devoting almost full time on this — almost full time.” Dr. Fauci said in an interview with Fox News host Mark Levin.
Mr. Trump himself joined in the discussion.
“Is everything cool with you and Dr. Fauci?” Fox News host Bill Hemmer asked the president during a live appearance on Tuesday.
“Oh, absolutely. We get along very well,” Mr. Trump responded, adding that Dr. Fauci also is busy with a multitude of duties.
‘THE AXIS OF TRUMP’
Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson — who typically draws some 3 million viewers to his show each night — offers a review of news media portrayal of President Trump since he took office.
“My feeling is that the cost of lying in news coverage for 3 1/2 years, and making every story about Donald Trump and how he is a bad person — which everyone in the news media has done — has made 40% of the country deaf to what the press is saying,” Mr. Carlson tells The Los Angeles Times in a wide-ranging new interview.
“No one believes the media because every story rotates around the axis of Trump. And it’s just ludicrous,” Mr. Carlson advises.
CONFIDENCE IN THE PRESIDENT
Yet another national poll finds that majorities of Americans are giving President Trump and his administration a positive reviews for their efforts to contain and manage the coronavirus pandemic. A CBS News survey released Tuesday reveals that the public feels Mr. Trump has done a “good job” and that they are optimistic about the current situation.
The findings are similar to an ABC News survey released last week revealing that 55% of Americans approved of Mr. Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis. In the meantime, CBS appears to be downplaying the positive findings about Mr. Trump, according to one analyst.
“CBS This Morning on Tuesday mostly ignored the findings of its own poll on the coronavirus and the government’s handling of it,” wrote Scott Whitlock, an analyst for the Media Research Center who reviewed the network’s coverage of the findings. “The network allowed a scant 10 seconds to the news that a majority, 53% approve of the President’s response. Relegated to online is the news that more Americans trust Donald Trump to given information than the media itself.”
Indeed, the poll revealed that 57% of Americans do not trust the media to supply accurate information. The poll also found that respondents do not yet consider the pandemic a complete catastrophe.
But the poll revealed mixed feelings though: Find more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
Fox News remains the most-watched network in all of cable for the 11th consecutive week, according to Nielsen Media Research — garnering an average 4 million prime-time viewers — compared to 2.4 million for CNN and 2 million for MSNBC.
Prime-time host Sean Hannity is the ratings kingpin this week, drawing a 4.7 million member audience, outpacing MSNBC rival Rachel Maddow with 3.6 million viewers. This marks the 54th consecutive week that Mr. Hannity has bested Ms. Maddow.
POLL DU JOUR
• 54% of U.S. adults are “optimistic” about the Trump administration’s ability to handle the coronavirus outbreak; 89% of Republicans, 56% of independents and 25% of Democrats agree.
• 53% overall say President Trump has done a good job handling the coronavirus outbreak; 89% of Republicans, 54% of independents and 22% of Democrats agree.
• 51% overall say the Trump administration’s public reactions the outbreak have been “about right”; 90% of Republicans, 51% of independents and 22% of Democrats agree.
• 44% say the crisis is a big challenge but will not permanently change normal life; 51% of Republicans, 47% of independents and 40% of Democrats agree.
• 40% say the crisis is a “defining event” that has changed the country; 30% of Republicans, 38% of independents and 53% of Democrats agree.
Source: A CBS News poll of 2,190 U.S. adults conducted March 21-23.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.
• Jennifer Harper can be reached at email@example.com.
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