Don’t Trust: Verify

Dr. Munr Kazmir
5 min readMar 26, 2020

The U.S. press is failing the public on COVID-19 coverage. And helping Donald Trump.

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, participates a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

The outbreak of COVID-19 has already altered many facets of American life, perhaps permanently. What it has not done, however, is increase our collective faith in the U.S. media.

A majority of people do not approve of the job media outlets are doing covering COVID-19.

In these strange times, the unprecedented government response to the COVID-19 outbreak has ground the U.S. economy- which had been clipping along at a smart pace- to a crushing halt. This was terrible news for everyone, almost as terrible as the idea of a deadly new virus sweeping through the population.

After all, poverty can also kill. For people in America perched precariously on the precipice of financial devastation- of which, we have learned, there are far too many- the financial aspect of this crisis has hit with particular ferocity.

The economic downturn was not wonderful news for Donald Trump, either. The outbreak of a deadly disease aside- the prosperity, the manufacturing renaissance, the jobs gains; everything the Trump administration had been carefully building for the past three years had been wiped away in an instant.

But not all the news amid coronavirus has been bad for Donald Trump. On the contrary, some of the best news for his reelection campaign has been the media’s COVID-19 coverage of the Trump presidency.

Even when Democrats in the press think they are hurting Donald Trump, they are helping him.

Trump’s approval rating is the highest it has ever been during his presidency. According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans overwhelmingly approve of the job most government agencies are doing in response to COVID-19; even 60% approve of the job Donald Trump is doing.

Only 44% approve of the job the media has done covering the outbreak and attendant economic news.

COVID-19 has given the Trump administration a great enemy, without his having to engage the U.S. in any unpopular new wars. Getting people to unite against a common enemy is an age-old strategy for winning friends and achieving strategic alliances.