Three polls released late this week show a majority of Americans approve of President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 Chinese coronavirus crisis. The approval numbers have risen as as Trump has led daily televised press briefings on the government’s response to the virus. By coincidence a call has gone out by liberals, led by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, for a media blackout of the briefings because they say Trump will get people killed because of his rhetoric.
The ABC News/ Ipsos poll has Trump up at 55 percent, the Harris poll at 53 percent and Survey USA at 51 percent.
ABC News graphic via Twitter.
UPDATE: A Morning Consult poll released Friday afternoon shows Trump with a 53 percent approval of his hadnling of the coronavirus.
The calls for the blackout also come as reporters are making spectacles of themselves with gotcha questions such as whether it is racist to use the term ‘Chinese virus’ when the virus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, or asking Trump if he his giving people false hope.
Maddow on her MSNBC show Friday night, “Maddow: If Trump is going to keep lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should, all of us, stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it’s going to cost lives.”
Maddow: If Trump is going to keep lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should, all of us, stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it's going to cost lives. pic.twitter.com/tMvyrE3YTK
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) March 21, 2020
Jay Rosen, journalism professor at NYU wrote at his NYU blog PressThink an imaginary statement from a broadcast executive on not covering Trump’s briefings:
Even this far into his term, it is still a bit of a shock to be reminded that the single most potent force for misinforming the American public is the current president of the United States. For three years this has been a massive — and unsolved — problem for the country and its political leadership.
But now it is life and death. On everything that involves the coronavirus Donald Trump’s public statements have been unreliable. And that is why today we announce that we are shifting our coverage of the President to an emergency setting.
This means we are exiting from the normal system for covering presidents— which Trump himself exited long ago by using the microphone we have handed him to spread thousands of false claims, even as he undermines trust in the presidency and the press. True: he is not obliged to answer our questions. But neither are we obligated to assist him in misinforming the American people about the spread of the virus, and what is actually being done by his government.
…Switching to emergency mode means our coverage will look different and work in a different way, as we try to prevent the President from misinforming you through us. Here are the major changes:
* We will not cover live any speech, rally, or press conference involving the president. The risk of passing along bad information is too great. Instead, we will attend carefully to what he says. If we can independently verify any important news he announces we will bring that to you— after the verification step.
* We plan to suspend normal relations with the Trump White House. That means we won’t be attending briefings. (We can watch them on TV.) We won’t gather around him as he departs in his helicopter. We won’t join in any off-the-record “background” sessions with Administration officials. We won’t enter into agreements of any kind with the Trump team, which includes those nameless “senior advisers” who mysteriously show up in news stories…End excerpt
The Boston Globe’s Michael Cohen op-ed on Friday headlined, “Trump is spreading misinformation about the coronavirus — time to take away his microphone”
The Nation’s Elie Mystal article headlined “The Media Is Helping Spread Trump’s Coronavirus Racism
It’s time for every major media outlet to stop disseminating Trump’s hate—and stop repeating his racist nicknames for the virus.”
Salon’s Bob Cesca, “Stop airing these press conferences — all of you. Between raging on Peter Alexander or his repeated use of the bigoted “Chinese Virus,” Trump has proved that he’s just as damaging and unserious as he’s always been. DO NOT REPEAT 2016.”
@NBCNews @CBSNews @abcnews @CNN @MSNBC
Stop airing these press conferences — all of you. Between raging on Peter Alexander or his repeated use of the bigoted "Chinese Virus," Trump has proved that he's just as damaging and unserious as he's always been. DO NOT REPEAT 2016.
— Bob Cesca (@bobcesca_go) March 20, 2020
Rolling Stone’s Washington bureau chief Andy Kroll, “A plea to the big news organizations: Please stop airing Trump’s press conferences in real-time. Cover them, highlight Dr. Fauci’s recommendations, but edit out the president’s misinformation and attacks.”
A plea to the big news organizations:
Please stop airing Trump's press conferences in real-time.
Cover them, highlight Dr. Fauci's recommendations, but edit out the president's misinformation and attacks. https://t.co/kFMMWBXlkU
— Andy Kroll (@AndyKroll) March 21, 2020
The media: If we can’t beat Trump, we’ll silence him.