Bad news for all my former colleagues in the news media. A recent Gallup Poll asked Americans whether they approve of how the U.S. leaders and institutions are handling the coronavirus pandemic. Donald Trump, who the press corp has roughed up regularly during the crisis, had a 60 per cent approval rating. I am drawing from secondary sources here, so, at this writing, I don’t know how Vice President Mike Pence, the CDC and Congress rated — but, according to what sources I do have accessed, they all scored higher than — the news media. More people disapproved than approved of its coverage, 55 per cent to 44 percent.
Now — I don’t like the way Trump interacts with reporters who ask questions he doesn’t like or his blanket denunciation of reporters. However, some of those questions — and he sniffs them out easily — are subtly or overtly of the “gotcha” variety. And Trump’s base and, apparently, many others, feel he should be getting far more credit for his efforts, and far less criticism. But, this is a Democracy, thank God. I know Trump’s current dust-up with governors is being perceived as the case of a man who doesn’t understand the Constitution. I know and very much like Harvard professor Larry Tribe. But I recall, going all the way back to Reagan, that Larry will be reliably on the liberal side of Constitutional interpretation. Not sure where I fall down on the issues of the governors. I haven’t heard Larry on the matter. The folks at MSNBC like to go to him. I’m sure he’s out there, likely fulminating. God bless America!
And, speaking of that — that’s the problem, you might say, with a Democracy in which many people don’t trust what should be their reliable source of unbiased information — the Fourth Estate. Especially in a crisis such as this. The media is preoccupied, it seems, with partisan, divisive squabbles. Trump hates them and they often waste their time hating him back.
But I’ll say this. Whenever Mike Pence steps to the microphone, I’m finally hearing that Consoler-in-Chief I welcomed during the Obama, Bush or Clinton-era crises. Trump is not good at that. Mike is. He reminds us, we’re all in this together.