President Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has been slammed by the mainstream media, with certain networks opting not to air his daily press briefings due to “misinformation.” But polls say the public disagrees.
The Washington Post has been fiercely critical of Trump since long before his election. Yet as the paper described his administration as barrelling “toward calamity” this week, a Washington Post-ABC News poll recorded Trump’s highest ever approval rating, with 48 percent of respondents giving the president the thumbs-up, compared to 46 percent disapproving.
That’s the first time Trump has scored positively on the Post’s poll, but when it comes to his handling of the ongoing pandemic which has killed more than 1,300 Americans thus far, the president’s results are even better. Fifty-one percent approve of his stewardship, while 45 percent don’t.
The results are played out across the board. Polls from Fox News, the Economist, Reuters, Gallup, Emerson and Axios all show positive results for Trump. Gallup’s poll found that 60 percent of Americans support Trump’s response to the crisis, while only 38 percent disapprove. Trump’s handling of the crisis has translated into a record high job approval rating in an average of national polls.
Yet the media tells a different story. President Trump’s daily press briefings are – to quote one NPR station in Seattle – so full of “false or misleading information” that the station will no longer air them.
Staff at CNN and MSNBC have reportedly pleaded with network bosses to drop coverage of the briefings, and the New York Times ran a column on Thursday wondering aloud “should networks cover them?” Individual news personalities have excoriated the president for allegedly spreading baloney. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said on her show this week that if Trump “keeps lying…it’s going to cost lives.”
But the public isn’t listening. The same Gallup poll whose respondents rated Trump at 60 percent found that out of all the institutions responding to the pandemic, Americans rated the news media the worst, with only 44 percent of Americans expressing any trust in it. Even Congress, a perennially unpopular institution in these kinds of surveys, scored higher than the media.
Trump’s bump in popularity can possibly be explained by the “wartime president” effect. In times of great crisis, the electorate tends to put partisan politics aside and rally around their leader. At least that’s how the theory goes. No US president has ever lost a re-election bid during wartime, and Trump has certainly attempted to portray the Covid-19 pandemic as a warlike situation. Describing the virus as an “invisible enemy,” Trump told reporters last week that “I view it as a, in a sense, a wartime president.” Whether Trump manages to keep the public on side as the death toll climbs, however, depends on his actions in the coming weeks.
The public’s falling trust in the media is a slightly more difficult trend to explain. The public’s confidence in journalism has been falling for the better part of a decade, yet the current crisis seems to have exacerbated the downward trend. For one thing, the general public could be tired of the media crying wolf too many times. Rachel Maddow, for instance, raised concern about Trump’s “misinformation,” yet cable news viewers will remember Maddow’s own spreading of bogus ‘Russiagate’ conspiracies during the first three years of Trump’s presidency.
Likewise, the public expects reporters to hold their leaders to account. Given the gravity of the coronavirus situation, the media could be grilling Trump on any number of issues, from his plan to reopen the American economy in a matter of weeks, to the breakdown of the $2 trillion stimulus bill he may sign shortly, to his reluctance to actually enforce the Defense Production Act to manufacture vital medical equipment.
Yet when reporters choose to scold Trump for “racism” instead, the general public learns nothing new.
Trump’s gripes with the media are long-standing. However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic seems to be winning more and more Americans over to his side.
Some continue to ignore social distancing rules.
By Paul Joseph Watson – 26 March, 2020
An Italian mayor has threatened to send police armed with flamethrowers to break up graduation parties as some people continue to ignore social distancing rules despite a nationwide lockdown.
“I’m getting news that some [people] would like to throw graduation parties,” said Vincenzo De Luca, mayor of the Italian town of Campania. “We will send police. With flamethrowers.”
Meanwhile, Massimiliano Presciutti, the mayor of Reggio Calabria, accused some Italians of behaving as if they were in the dystopian sci-fi movie I Am Legend by walking their dogs too much.
“Where the f*** are you all going? You and your dogs… which must have an inflamed prostate?” asked Presciutti.
The mayor said he had personally confronted one such individual.
“I stopped him and said, ‘Look, this isn’t a movie. You are not Will Smith in I Am Legend. Go home.”
Antonio Tutolo, the mayor of Lucera, also slammed people for arranging for mobile hairdressers to visit their homes.
“Getting in mobile hairdressers? What the f*** is that for? Who the f*** is supposed to even see you with your hair all done in a casket? Do you understand the casket will be closed?” he said.
At least 40,000 people were fined for being outside without good reason during the first week of the lockdown in Italy, with some facing 21 years in prison.
“Even gatherings like funerals have also been banned,” reports Zero Hedge. “At least 50 people in Sicily are facing serious criminal charges after breaking the quarantine order after having a funeral for a loved one.”
Meanwhile, across Europe, one particular demographic appears to be paying no attention to lockdown laws whatsoever – migrants.
Germany hasn’t called off the football play on Saturday. The politicians are crazy to value the business more than human life. Even the American government is reacting much better than German government.
By Dr. John Campbell – 3/2/2020
3 bus loads of national gaurd in Grants Pass Oregon this morning.
I’m in Spain and the cases are up to over 115 now – doubled in 24 hours!
Grocery chains report rising demand for canned goods, other long-term provisions
MARCH 2, 2020
Germans are slowly coming to realize that they, just like 50 other nations in the world today, could soon be facing a coronavirus epidemic.
Indeed, the pathogen has become a major topic of discussion in the country – so much so, in fact, that some residents are now stockpiling food out of fear they could be placed under quarantine.
On Friday, a spokeswoman for one of the country’s largest supermarket groups, REWE, told DW that while they didn’t register any panic at the start of the week, the situation quickly changed.
“We have noticed rising foodstuff and canned goods purchases across the entire country to which we are adapting accordingly,” said Kristina Schütz from REWE Group, which is headquartered in Cologne and runs the Penny, REWE and Nahkauf grocery chains.
Discount chain Lidl has recorded a similar spike in purchases, with a spokesperson confirming that “we are noticing a rise in sales in certain regions and stores.”
According to the chains, Germans are stockpiling long-lasting and canned food, pasta as well as toilet paper and disinfectants.
What do authorities recommend?
Four years ago, the Bonn-based Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) published a checklist of long-lasting foods it recommends stockpiling for emergencies.
The BBK, which is staffed by some 300 civil servants, educates the general population on how to prepare for crises. It advises Germans to stockpile food and drink for about ten days.
Specifically, the checklist states that one person needs 14 liters of liquid a week, and recommends stocking mineral water and fruit juice in particular. Even so, the BBK warns against panic buying, advising Germans to stockpile only foods and drinks “that you and your family would consume anyway.”
The BKK also suggests stocking food that keeps for a long time without needing refrigeration, to pay attention to sell-by dates, and mark when items were purchased, in case they don’t have dates printed on them. It also advises Germans to “store newly bought food items at the back of the cupboard so that you consume older items first.”
This comprehensive emergency checklist hasn’t gone unnoticed abroad. Bulgarian daily 24 Tschassa, for example, praised the advice provided by German authorities, saying that in most cases “consumers just hoard all kinds of products – without a proper idea how long they will come in useful or whether they might need them at all.”
The paper said sticking to the German checklist is a good idea “as it makes no sense to buy excessive amounts of supplies.”
Warning against stoking fear
While many pundits in Germany agree the list is useful, they simultaneously warn against stirring hysteria. So far, Germany has confirmed 129 cases of coronavirus, with 16 having already recovered, and no deaths reported. More than half of the cases are in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the country’s most populous state.
The German Journalists Association (DJV) therefore emphasizes that media outlets should avoid stoking fear.
Accordingly, DJV head Frank Überall stated that “people need clear information as well as advice” to make sense of the situation.
He has called on journalists to heed the German press code which calls on them to “avoid an inappropriately sensationalist tone when reporting on medical issues, as this may give rise to unfounded fears or hopes.”
The press code also states that “stoking fear and hysteria is incompatible with responsible journalism.”
Stores running out of rice, toilet paper and surgical masks
FEBRUARY 6, 2020
Hong Kong residents are emptying store shelves of storable food and household supplies out of fears China will seal its borders, thus stopping exports to Hong Kong.
Residents have already wiped out supermarkets of rice, toilet paper and cleaning wipes in addition to surgical masks and sanitizers which were already running in short supply.
“If China stops exporting stuff here, where would we get our necessities from?” Asked an elderly lady in front of empty shelves, as reported by Voice of America.
The outlet also reported that there’s a “there is also panic buying on rice — a staple food for Hong Kongers — packet noodles and vitamins, leaving the shelves eerily empty, although there was no shortage of meat and vegetables in shops,” suggesting that residents are stocking up on food that won’t spoil.
“There has been a severe shortage of surgical masks and sanitizing agents such as alcohol hand rubs and wipes, with many pharmacies posting notes on their windows saying ‘No masks, alcohol sanitizing agents or wipes available,’” stated Voice of America. “Long queues quickly form outside any shops that announce they have a supply of masks.”
“Thousands braved chilly winds and camped overnight Tuesday outside an outlet at Kowloon Bay that said it had procured a supply of masks from Dubai.”
Additionally, 10 clinics have closed in Hong Kong due to the lack of surgical masks, and another 400 clinics may soon close if more mask shipments are not received.
China’s economic output has slowed down significantly due to the unprecedented quarantine of millions of mainland residents, which has also contributed to the stockpiling in Hong Kong.
While the markets have slightly rebounded after the shock of the coronavirus outbreak, the effects of the crisis could ripple across industries, ex-Fed insider Danielle DiMartino Booth believes.
After sliding to the lowest close in over a week on Friday over the spread of the deadly virus, US stocks rebounded slightly as the new trading week began, with the key Dow Jones Industrial Average index climbing over 200 points on Tuesday. However, the markets could still grossly underestimate the consequences of the outbreak and are just hinging on the Fed’s injections, says former Fed insider Danielle DiMartino Booth.
“The markets are woefully underestimating the important economic impact globally of what this [outbreak] means given that we started the year leaning on multinationals to charge out of the US earnings recession and leaning on Germany to come out of its own industrial recession. That’s not going to happen either,” she told RT’s Boom Bust.
Booth explained that the companies which were set to lead the US out of the earnings recession are highly dependent on revenues and profits from overseas. The coronavirus could easily impede this, but the markets may still “press towards all-time highs, because they’re saying this bad news is good enough that it’s going to actually cause [the] Fed’s liquidity injections to grow.”