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Just when the public needed the media to play it straight, the growing bias in the press let them down and made the coronavirus crisis “worse than it needed to be,” according to a new analysis.
Already facing a substantial trust gap, the latest Gallup/Knight Foundation survey found that people in the United States were concerned about the media exaggerating the illness or downplaying how the crisis caused substantial harm.
As with many things in the Trump political environment, partisanship played a role. Democrats saw a bigger problem with stories that downplayed the virus, while Republicans said reports that hyped the crisis were more harmful.
But in both cases, the majority of partisans in each political party agreed that the media's coverage of the pandemic fell far short of what they wanted.
Asked if media exaggerating the coronavirus caused "unnecessary harm," 87% of Republicans agreed. Among Democrats, it was 25 points lower, at 62%.
Asked if downplaying the crisis threatened public health, 78% of Democrats agreed. Among Republicans, it was 60%.
“Partisanship informs what type of skewed coverage is considered harmful. More than twice as many Democrats (84%) as Republicans (35%) ‘strongly agree’ that coverage downplaying the threat is harmful, although majorities of all party groups at least somewhat agree,” read the analysis.
It concluded, “Americans have been more likely to disapprove than approve of the news media's response to the coronavirus situation at a time when most other institutions' responses have been rated more positively than negatively. This may indicate that people do not see the media as getting coronavirus coverage quite right — either drifting too far in the direction of downplaying the threat or too far in the direction of exaggerating it.”
And, it added, “To the extent Americans believe the media is going too far to downplay or to play up the coronavirus, they may see the media — in addition to elected leaders and public health officials — as responsible for making the crisis worse than it needed to be.”
Earlier today Ed wrote about a concern that has spread among Democrats for several months that President Trump is gearing up to dispute the results of the 2020 election in the case that he loses. But Democrats have another fear that is worrying them according to a story published today at Politico. They worry that Trump might win the election thanks to a quick rebound of the economy.
“We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he said…
Instead of forecasting a prolonged Depression-level economic catastrophe, Furman laid out a detailed case for why the months preceding the November election could offer Trump the chance to brag — truthfully — about the most explosive monthly employment numbers and gross domestic product growth ever…
Furman’s counterintuitive pitch has caused some Democrats, especially Obama alumni, around Washington to panic. “This is my big worry,” said a former Obama White House official who is still close to the former president. Asked about the level of concern among top party officials, he said, “It’s high — high, high, high, high.”
And top policy officials on the Biden campaign are preparing for a fall economic debate that might look very different than the one predicted at the start of the pandemic in March. “They are very much aware of this,” said an informal adviser.
Furman’s argument is that the coronavirus-caused downturn in the economy has more in common with a natural disaster than with the regular business cycle. For instance, a hurricane might shut down an area for a matter of weeks but the recovery tends to be fairly quick. Of course not everything will bounce back in this case. Many companies have gone out of business and some, like airlines and movie theaters, may take a while to recover. But the fact remains that there could be a big bounce from the very worst levels of unemployment we’re seeing now. And that bounce will allow President Trump to make the case that things really are on the upswing.
“In absolute terms, the economy will look historically terrible come November,” said Kenneth Baer, a Democratic strategist who worked in a senior role at the Office of Management and Budget under Obama. “But relative to the depths of April, it will be on an upswing — 12 percent unemployment, for example, is better than 20, but historically terrible. On Election Day, we Democrats need voters to ask themselves, ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ Republicans need voters to ask themselves, ‘Are you better off than you were four months ago?’”
Another progressive quoted in the piece points out that Trump is still beating Biden on the economy even now. If we see a substantial recovery in the next few months, that could boost his numbers even futher and it’s no secret that a president in the middle of an economy perceived as good is more likely to be reelected. In this case, good will be relative but still.
A couple points about all of this. First, the concern of Democrats seems warranted but this puts them in a very odd position. On some level, they are rooting for a slow recovery to maximize their chances of taking the White House. They want the country to suffer long enough to replace Trump with Biden, who can then be credited for reviving the economy once he takes office. But rooting for failure is a pretty awkward position after a pandemic, especially when the candidate you’re rallying behind is “emo Joe,” i.e. the guy who cares. Rooting for failure, even temporarily, isn’t caring about Americans.
Second, if you look at this from the other side, it really is a potentially perfect scenario for Trump’s campaign. Not only can they genuinely celebrate any good news, this also puts the 2016 slogan back in play, albeit under unexpected circumstances. If you think about it, “Make America Great Again” was always going to be a problem for a second term. By that point you have to show that you’ve at least made some progress toward the goal (of making things great). But in this case, because of the virus, Trump can legitimately claim that his progress he made was undone by an unforseen disaster. Now he can argue he just needs time to recover what was lost. As a message, it’s a hell of a lot better than secretly hoping the downturn lasts through October.
Criminal referrals are imminent in the ongoing Obamagate probe, according to Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, who says that more people are coming forward with information into the attempted coup of President Trump.
Nunes also says that the investigation has expanded to include the Mueller investigation team.
“We’ve also expanded our investigation into the Mueller team and everything that happened with Mueller and the people at DOJ and FBI that were above Mueller. And so, we will be making criminal referrals in the coming weeks against the Mueller team. We’re just now putting that together and, of course, as always, waiting on more documents that we really need to come out,” Nunes told Gregg Jarrett on Fox News.
It’s been over a year since Mueller’s investigation vindicated Trump, but the investigation lasting as long as it did despite concluding rather quickly there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia has raised many questions. Trump often mocked the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt.” By all indications, Mueller knew there was no collusion after about 6 months, but the investigation lasted a whopping 22 months.
But, according to Nunes, Mueller should have shut down his investigation right away because he believes Mueller knew from the very beginning of his investigation in May 2017 that there was no collusion between Trump’s campaign in Russia. In fact, we know the Obama administration never had any empirical evidence of collusion.
“I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election,” testified former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in 2017. “That’s not to say that there weren’t concerns about the evidence we were seeing, anecdotal evidence. … But I do not recall any instance where I had direct evidence.”
It’s long overdue that the investigators who ran a bogus investigation are finally being put under the microscope.
Of all the lies the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media have told about President Trump, the claim that Trump is a tool of the Russians stands out for its audacity I’m not surprised that the Dems/MSM went big with their lying. However, it astounds me that intelligent people I know who are outside of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media somehow found merit in this claim. I guess if you hate Trump enough, you will believe anything about him.
Trump’s foreign policy has never favored Russia. He sanctioned Russia and Russians. He expelled Russian diplomats. He is more supportive of Poland and Ukraine than President Obama was.
In addition, Trump vigorously opposed a natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. Construction of the pipeline, Nord Stream 2, would be hugely beneficial for Russia. For one thing, Russia could use the pipeline to bypass Ukraine. This would enable it to cut gas off to that country or to use the threat of a cutoff to gain leverage. For another, completion of the pipeline would increase Russia’s leverage over Germany. Trump has said that this would “make Germany a hostage of Russia.”
A president who wanted to please Russia would never take the stands Trump has.
President Donald Trump is preparing to exit his second arms-control treaty with Russia since taking the oath of office, and the opposition is already in high dudgeon. . . .
The deal in question is the Open Skies treaty, signed in 1992, which allows U.S. and Russian spy planes to fly over military installations and weapons facilities. . . .
In theory, it’s a good idea. Overhead surveillance is one way to verify more substantive arms control agreements with Russia. It also gives a baseline for military planners, providing a data set that shows what peacetime deployment looks like. The big flaw in the arrangement is that the one party that all the others must worry about — Russia — is a serial violator of international agreements.
When Russian special operations units invaded Crimea and later Eastern Ukraine in 2014, President Vladimir Putin was violating a 1994 pledge to protect and respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The Ukrainians got these commitments in exchange for relinquishing the Soviet-era nuclear arsenal stationed on their territory.
The same pattern was repeated by Russia with regard to the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty. Russia largely complied with the part of the treaty that eliminated a class of short- and medium-range nuclear weapons from Europe from its signing in 1987 to about 2008. But in that year, Russia began testing a ground-launched cruise missile that violated the ranges set by the INF treaty.
For 10 years, the U.S. tried to bring Russia back into compliance, but Putin kept escalating, eventually deploying banned missiles with ranges that could hit Europe. So in October 2018, after NATO allies publicly acknowledged that Russia was in material breach of its commitments, the U.S. announced it would be withdrawing.
Russia also violates the Open Skies agreement:
When it took effect, in 2002, Russia largely abided by it. But during former President Barack Obama’s administration, the U.S. found its flights were restricted over suspected facilities in Russia — even as the U.S. gathered evidence that Russian surveillance planes were mapping critical infrastructure in the U.S. As Republican Senator Tom Cotton said Thursday: “The Open Skies Treaty started life as a good-faith agreement between major powers and died an asset of Russian intelligence.”
But the treaty didn’t die when it should have — during the Obama administration when Russia was found to be in violation. It took President Trump, the alleged tool of the Russian, to put this deal to the sword.
Trump’s policy on arms control agreements with Russia is straightforward. As his assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation put it: “Where arms control does not contribute to security — such as where our counterparties refuse to comply with their obligations — we have made very clear that we are willing to walk away from failed agreements.”
That’s just common sense. Arms control agreements are meaningless if they can be violated with impunity. Arms control can succeed only if the parties to agreements hold one another to them.
President Obama and his crew must have understood this. However, they were obsessed with “resetting” U.S. relations with Russia and, later, were unwilling to acknowledge the failure of this policy.
Like Obama, Trump wanted a fresh start with Russian relations when he took office. Unlike Obama, he wasn’t willing to turn a blind eye to Russia’s bad behavior in the name of a “reset.”
This was obvious from the start. Yet, Democrats and their media allies peddled their lie that Trump was a tool of Vladimir Putin.
They won’t be held accountable. They won’t look back. They have simply moved on to their next package of slanders.
As a general rule, when the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, Public Broadcasting Service, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN begin to parrot a narrative, the truth often is found in simply believing just the opposite.
Put another way, the media’s “truth” is a good guide to what is abjectly false. Perhaps we can call the lesson of this valuable service, the media’s inadvertent ability to convey truth by disguising it with transparent bias and falsehood, the “Doctrine of Media Untruth.”
Victor gives many pertinent examples. This one is my favorite and I quote it for the sheer pleasure of the truth blast:
The country once knew little of Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). But once the media sanctified his role after the 2018 election as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, we knew what lay ahead. No sooner had the Renaissance Schiff assumed the chairmanship of the committee than we were lectured ad nauseam how he was a Harvard Law graduate, with a sly sense of humor, who had he not blessed the country with his stellar political career otherwise might well have been a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He ran his committee with flair and competence lacking under the former chairman, the supposedly plodding dairy farmer Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). In other words, we quickly discovered the truth through the Doctrine of Media Untruth.
Within about a year, the public knew that Schiff was a fraud. He had suppressed key testimonies that long ago revealed that the functionaries in the collusion hoax had admitted under oath they had no evidence for the accusations they made daily in the media, and that CrowdStrike, in fact, could not prove a Russian genesis for the hacking of DNC emails.
Schiff himself tapped into the communications records of his own colleague and the former chairman of his committee, Nunes. He lied habitually, most egregiously in denying that he or his staff had anything to do with the Ukrainian “whistleblower” when in fact his team had been in close communications with him.
Each time Schiff assured the media of “bombshells,” that the “walls were closing in,” or that there were all sorts of new top-secret, classified, rarified information known only to him, which would shortly “prove” Trump “collusion,” we understood that he was a con man and prevaricator who had no proof at all or any such evidence. Whatever report he issued (cf. the “Schiff memo”), would certainly be dishonest and not factual. And, of course, it was.
Incidentally, Hanson’s rule of opposites must be applied to understand Susan Rice’s incriminating memo of January 20, 2017. It is one key among many to the biggest scandal by far in American political history.
Steve Krakauer has done what many in the conservative news media have not: work for CNN. While not his first job in the media world, it certainly provides him much-needed insight when he crafts his newsletter, "Fourth Watch" for TheFirst on the network's fervent anti-Trump bias.
In an interview with Townhall, Krakauer explained how he sees the direction where CNN has gone since he left in the early 2010s to where it is today in the aftermath of Donald Trump becoming president in 2017.
"It seems like a very clear delineation from when the time I was there," Krakauer said, explaining his position at the network meant he was responsible for all of CNN's digital production, including "all of what T.V. looked and felt like on social media and on the website."
His time at CNN coincided with the 2012 presidential election and "I did not feel an ounce of bias one way or the other" in terms of how they covered the debates, conventions, and town halls, though Krakauer acknowledges how most people at the network were left-leaning, but "it didn't feel that way in the room."
All that changed in 2016, "where there became this feeling of this existential fight with the person in the White House... I think Trump, in a lot of ways, embraced this fight and it became a mission of CNN, I believe, to counter the presidency. And that was not there necessarily before in the feeling of wanting to counter on the other side and I think that has completely changed the output you see both on CNN, but also behind the scenes."
Indeed, Trump's criticisms of CNN, and the media at large, had been a staple throughout the campaign, but the dynamic had changed once he became the president-elect and he said the famous "You are fake news" remark to CNN reporter Jim Acosta at a press conference shortly after his victory.
One of the ways Krakauer sees how CNN has changed its programming for the worst is how almost every show host now has monologues for the anchors to give their thoughts at the beginning of their program.
"Anderson Cooper, who I think is an excellent journalist, who would travel the world to every natural disaster and warzone, he's now basically confined to a studio, and this was before coronavirus. He's in the studio every night, talking to pundits, and included in that is a monologue, is his opinion on some anti-Trump thing," he said. "That's just a very clear difference from the way things before."
Krakauer said while he likes anchor Chris Cuomo and how the network initially handled his bout with COVID-19, now that we know a lot more about his brother's, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), disastrous handling of nursing homes and how the virus spread easily on the subway trains, which did not start to get daily cleanings until May, "it's a bit rich start with the comedy routine right now."
With Brian Stelter hosting "Reliable Sources," Krakauer said Stelter has gone from holding everyone within the media world accountable while he was running TVNewser and worked at The New York Times to barely reporting on mishaps when it does not involve conservative media.
This has been wall-to-wall on CNN today - non-stop, fear-mongering, COVID-shaming of people in outdoor public spaces... and not even backed up by most of the actual footage being aired. Absolutely ridiculous.
Though Krakauer is critical of the mainstream media, he also has some criticisms for Twitter, which he views as being an incentive for reporters to rush through the normal journalistic practices in order to be the first ones on a story. He pointed to how the media handled the alleged Jussie Smollett hoax hate crime in 2019.
"The media so over-indexes on Twitter. Everything moves so fast there. If you don't weigh in immediately, you're going to miss the big story. Twitter is not built to calmly think about the story before you kind of dive right in," he said.
Supporters of the so-called “Reopen Movement,” slapped down by media elites as selfish and dangerous, view themselves instead as “untamed” patriots fighting sweeping oppressive government authority, and they offer the Trump campaign a new group to tap in his reelection, according to a new study of the effort.
“Far from being a threat to America’s health, reopen protests may be its medicine — suggesting that American culture does not flourish by looking back but by retesting its convictions,” said the report from Frontier Center, provided to Secrets.
The study disputes the characterization by critics that the movement’s focus is primarily on reopening the economy, no matter what the human toll in coronavirus deaths is. It also found that many independent voters and those who have not participated politically in the past are members.
“Contrary to the common narrative about their motivations, reopen advocates are not focused primarily on their jobs or the economy. Their rally signs say, ‘Let us work,’ but this is focused on an abstract notion rather than a selfish desire,” wrote authors Anne Segal and Jack Sorock.
The report bolsters claims by protesters in several states that their defiance of stay-at-home rules is built on concerns that their liberty is being squeezed by governors who are taking too much power to institute rules.
Armed with an “exuberance of freedom,” those in the movement believe it is their “‘Christian duty’ to model behavior that encourages others" and that it "stands up for the victims of government oppression, and is a wake-up call to empower others,” read the report.
The authors also say that it is different from the Tea Party movement, which was more economically driven. It found that many in the "Reopen Movement" were not part of the Tea Party and that they were more driven by their Christianity.
“The reopen movement does not appear to be a rehash of conservative mass movements like the Tea Party and that Reopeners are strongly faith-driven and new to political activism,” the report read, posted below.
And, it added, they consider themselves “untamed.” It continued, “They find peace of mind through defiance, because it results in felt-freedom, understanding of their own mettle, holding authorities accountable, and standing up for others.”
The three-part survey of 974 “strong supporters” of the "Reopen Movement" also found overwhelming support for Trump, even from new potential voters.
For example, there is more support for Trump among "Reopen Movement" voters now than in 2016. Just over 87% voted for Trump in 2016, and now nearly 97% would vote to reelect.
There is a 17.3% increase in support for Trump among independents who support the "Reopen Movement."
And 7.8% of Reopen supporters didn’t vote in 2016, giving Trump a potentially new crop of supporters.
The report concluded, “The protesters are demonstrating a new selflessness — a sacrifice different from staying at home and closing non-essential businesses. Their selflessness requires moving into untamed territory, which in this case risks very real conflict with authorities. These ‘Untamed’ are resisting out of duty to what they say is unlawful infringement of their rights based on unscientific, flawed premises that result in deeply troubling collateral damage to the American community.”