NEWS AND OPINION:
President Trump’s troubles and challenges are a dream come true for the news media, which is now offering a play-by-play accounting of the president’s fight to at least retain some semblance of normalcy in his last few days in office.
Mr. Trump has been the centerpiece of a huge amount of coverage, giving news organizations fodder for all sorts of fancy packaging. There are live updates, in-depth analyses, special sections, op-eds, timelines, graphics, photo essays and more — ramped up to fever pitch and mostly full of shrill condemnation.
The press is having a feast — prompting some analysts to wonder what the heck journalists will do when the Trump era ends. But that’s another story.
Meanwhile, the American public has gotten the message, and witnessed all the criticism and the accusations. They get it. Mr. Trump lost the election and will be out of the White House in a week’s time. Does this same public now deserve some straightforward coverage, particularly in light of escalating fears about the coronavirus pandemic and other serious concerns?
Not everyone is in a total Trump-bashing mood.
A new Morning Consult poll, for example, finds that a third of Americans — 33% of U.S. adults — say that social media providers’ decision to ban Mr. Trump from their platforms went “too far.”
In addition, half of the respondents — 47% — said these same social media companies do a “poor” job of preventing the spread of content from terrorists or militia groups, while 56% say the spread of conspiracy theories on social media is a “major problem.” Check the Poll du Jour at column’s end for more insight.
Meanwhile, a few typical headlines from the past 24 hours:
‘Trump’s disastrous end to his shocking presidency” (CNN); President Donald Trump abdicating in the job he fought to retain” (Associated Press); “Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol” (The Washington Post); “A late burst of climate denial extends the era of Trump disinformation” (New York Times); and “Trump’s latest ‘con’: Ripping off MAGA fans after losing” (MSNBC).
A QUESTION FOR JOE
“Congressional Democrats’ rush toward impeachment has put Joe Biden in a difficult position before he’s even taken the oath of office. Does he follow the desires of his fellow Democratic Party leaders to punish Donald Trump for stirring up an angry mob that ran amok at the U.S. Capitol?” asks Susan Crabtree, White House correspondent and political correspondent for Real Clear Politics.
“Or does Biden heed his own oft-repeated campaign promise to weigh the desires of those Americans who voted against him as well as the historic numbers who voted for him?” she asks.
THE PASTOR HAS A SAY
The Rev. Franklin Graham questions the endless attacks against President Trump as his time in office draws to a close. Mr. Graham disagrees with the push to impeach Mr. Trump, calling it “a waste of time” in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.
The evangelist points to the Democratic lawmakers and other officials who appear to say one thing and do another.
“On one hand they talk about unity and bringing the country together, but yet you’ve tried to impeach the president a second time,” Mr. Graham noted.
“They’re just putting fuel on the fire with this impeachment and it’s going to make the people on the right even more, I think, frantic and I think this is a big mistake,” he advised.
THE SENATOR HAS A SAY
A West Virginia Democrat appears to agree with the aforementioned pastor to some extent.
“I think this is so ill-advised for Joe Biden to be coming in, trying to heal the country, trying to be the president of all the people when we are going to be so divided and fighting again. Let the judicial system do its job,” Sen. Joe Manchin told Fox News.
“We’re a country of the rule of law. That’s the bedrock of who we are. Let that take its place. Let the investigations go on. Let the evidence come forth, and then we’ll go forward from there. There’s no rush to do this impeachment now. We can do it later if they think it’s necessary,” he said.
THE INAUGURATION HAS A MESSAGE
Preparation for the 59th Presidential Inauguration is now underway in the nation’s capital.
Much of the public is curious about such big doings, whether they live in Washington or not.
Local officials have a new resource.
“For real-time information on the inauguration, sign-up for updates from the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA): text INAUG2021 to 888-777,” they noted in a public advisory on Tuesday.
Fox News Channel “earned its most-watched week in prime time since the week after the election,” the network said — enjoying a typical nightly audience last week of 3.2 million viewers according to Nielsen Media Research.
Prime-time hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity continue to be the biggest audience draws, earning 4.2 million and 3.8 million viewers last week, respectively.
In addition, Fox News has made a significant in-house move, naming Jason Klarman as executive president of Fox Nation, the network’s inventive on-demand streaming service.
Known as a “brand builder,” Mr. Klarman was on the team which originally launched Fox News in 1996, with an astonishing professional resume full of national media and marketing endeavors since then.
Mr. Klarman renewed his creative ties with Fox News since rejoining the network in 2018 as a consultant, and later as vice president of marketing — a title he will retain. Earlier this year, he also was the force behind Fox News Books, a new publishing endeavor.
POLL DU JOUR
⦁ 39% of U.S. adults say suspending President Trump’s social media accounts was “exactly the right thing to do”; 23% of Republicans, 39% of independents and 51% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 33% say suspending the account went “too far”; 69% of Republicans, 33% of independents and 7% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 28% say the measure “did not go far enough”; 8% of Republicans, 28% of independents and 43% of Democrats agree.
Source: A Morning Consult poll of 2,200 of U.S. adults conducted Jan. 8-11.
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