From “Russia! Russia! Russia!” to impeachment, the left has been desperately trying to oust Donald Trump from the presidency. After repeated failures, they saw a new opportunity in the coronavirus outbreak, and immediately began politicizing it, accusing him of overreacting, then under-reacting, spreading lies about what he and his administration has done.
Over the past week or so, we’ve seen a new strategy arise: calling for an end to Trump’s daily coronavirus press briefings.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called for her network to stop broadcasting the briefings last week, accusing the president of lying and spreading disinformation. CNN’s Jake Tapper suggested that Trump shouldn’t be giving briefings, and that he should let Mike Pence “take the helm” instead. Rolling Stone called on the media to stop airing Trump’s coronavirus briefings live because they’re “a danger to the public health.”
And it looks like that may start to happen. CNN and MSNBC are now considering not airing the briefings, claiming they’re full of lies and false information. CNN’s Daniel Dale even accused Trump of using the briefings “as a political platform to promote the messages that he’s not able to promote at rallies because he can’t hold rallies right now.”
As as has been noted here and elsewhere, when it comes to disinformation, the media is in no position to criticize anyone. Many falsehoods about Trump’s response to the coronavirus have been reported over and over in the media, even after being debunked by independent fact-checkers. So what’s the real reason they don’t want Trump’s briefings to be aired live—especially since, as PJM’s Rick Moran noted, “after spending three years railing against Trump for not holding daily briefings, they now want him to shut up.”
The answer, I think, can be found in recent polling.
Last week, an ABC News/Ipsos poll found 55 percent of voters approve of the way Trump “is handling the response to the coronavirus,” up from 43 percent a week earlier. An Axios/Harris poll showed similar numbers, with 56 percent of Americans approving of Trump’s response to the pandemic. A third poll from Monmouth University that was released Tuesday showed that 50 percent of Americans believe Trump is doing a good job. But even more astounding was the latest Gallup poll, which showed 60 percent approval for how Trump is handling the coronavirus pandemic.
What does this tell us? Trump’s daily briefings are being watched by millions of people, and those people are seeing a president rising to the challenge presented by the pandemic. Despite unprecedented negative coverage by the media, the briefings provide Trump with a captive audience that sees him working with experts to deal with the pandemic, as well as provide Trump with the opportunity to counter misinformation being spread by the mainstream media.
And that’s why anti-Trump networks like CNN and MSNBC don’t want to air the briefings live anymore. They don’t want the public (the fraction of the public that watches their networks anyway) getting the unfiltered briefings.
President Trump is doing his job as he should, and the left, which was counting on the coronavirus pandemic to be his undoing, are now seeing that it is actually showing the public that he is the leader we need to get through this crisis. He may not get the bounce in approval that President George W. Bush got after 9/11 (those days are long over) but it looks like he is getting a bounce comparable to the one Barack Obama experienced after the death of Osama bin Laden.
This is an election year, and the left is keeping one eye on the coronavirus pandemic and one on the November election. The mainstream media doesn’t want the public to see Trump demonstrating leadership in the time of crisis. That’s what the briefings are doing and they can’t stand it.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis