Get Real

Reading time – 2:21  .  .  .

The Gallup Organization published a new poll looking at how we view the performance of various groups responding to coronavirus. The information is, well, a bit nuts.

Have a look at the chart below and note that roughly 4 out of 5 of us approve of the job being done by pretty much everyone except for the federal government and the news media. High state government approval is spot on, except for the 9 state governments, all with Republican governors, that don’t have the cojones to take a stand that will be unpopular with some of their constituents but which would save many lives. Perhaps that’s the 17% disapproval number.

The roughly 60% of Americans who approve of what Trump, Pence and Congress are doing must not be paying full attention. As I wrote here, in a time of crisis, people latch onto the leader, even if he’s a buffoon.

The Congressional disapproval rating makes sense, if you read that to be a report card on “Who Cares Mitch” and the spineless Republicans. Meanwhile, kudos to the people who disapprove of Pence, the Plastic Drone, as well as the 38% who see plainly that Trump is the biggest obstacle to healthcare solutions. He’s the only one who can do the big things we so desperately need and about which he lies every day. He simply refuses to do the big things. We continue to need millions of kits to test us for coronavirus and the number of tests performed so far would be laughable, were it not tragic. Same for our need for ventilators, so,

Q. Why doesn’t Trump aggressively pursue testing?

A. More tests would show the reality that we have much higher infection numbers than we’ve recognized, which would be bad for Trump’s public image and approval ratings.

Q. Trump has invoked the Defense Protection Act (DPA), which allows him to compel manufacturers to immediately shift production to the things we urgently need to fight this plague, but he hasn’t made them do that. Why not?

A. Because if he were to take action he’d have to accept responsibility for the terrible things that are happening and will continue to happen and he wouldn’t be able to blame others.

The most disappointing numbers on this chart are those for the news media. Only 44% of us approve of how those folks are handling this crisis, with 55% disapproving. If those saying they disapprove are Fox watchers and New York Post readers, that’s understandable. Otherwise, we’re in big trouble.

The news media is called The Fourth Estate because they are the watchdogs over the Constitutionally mandated 3 estates, the Executive, Congressional and Judiciary Branches of our government. If we collectively lose faith in our news media, there will never again be accountability in government and, unless you are a rich donor, you can expect to be ignored and even abused by government.

Further, Trump knows how to exploit distrust in our news media for his own benefit and can get away with homicidal negligence, as in the case of response to COVID-19. And he has used that distrust to undermine both our Constitution and national security, as in the cases of the Ukraine scandal and Russian subversion of our elections, with Trump even protecting the Russians from our intelligence agencies.

So, get real. We’re at risk, sick and dying because of Trump’s lousy federal action to deal with COVID-19. And our democracy is at risk and sick because of fake Fox news and Donald Trump’s lies.


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2 Responses to Get Real
  1. David L. Lindgren Reply

    The lower 44% of the News rating for you and I, Jack, is Fox News. However, we exist between two sides of the controversial coin. CNN and MSNBC also contribute to the damaging side-taking. And there are social media conspiratorial sites that are causing extreme polarization. I am not saying that what is clearly wrong should be ignored. But there is something of an underlying cause in this country of side-taking and fighting for our individual opinions. We have been losing our way for many years, most principally in the last 20 years. A lot of it is fueled by the news media per se. One of my clients was let go by a major newspaper. He reported that the diminishment of the print media has caused a flurry of newer cable and social media to be constructed and hire all of these let-go “journalists”. So we have been exposed to a flood of new sites and they inevitably take on extreme views. Thereafter, we are becoming more and more politicized, on both sides. Perhaps, you can direct us to some such assessment of the societal direction. Thanks, David

    • Jack Altschuler Reply

      Good points. I’ll just ask you and others to clarify something.

      Fox news spews falsehoods daily. It’s simple and easy to catalogue their dishonesty. To be a bit clearer, they’re entitled to their opinions, but when they misrepresent facts, that’s not okay.

      Your comments position CNN and MSNBC on the other side of a controversial coin from Fox, implying equivalency. My problem with that is that I don’t see an equivalency. I need someone to give examples of false reporting from either of those outlets. It’s fair to say that they have editorial positions, opinions, but please point to where they’ve intentionally misrepresented truth and reality.

      My experience suggests that this is a false equivalency.