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Trump taunts media as mutual disgust reaches new depths

Trump taunts media as mutual disgust reaches new depths

by Howard Kurtz | Fox News  |  Published on April 7, 2020

President Trump found something to briefly celebrate Monday, some bad news for what are emerging as his biggest detractors during the virus crisis: the media.

“Advertising in the Failing New York Times is WAY down. Washington Post is not much better,” he tweeted. “I can’t say whether this is because they are Fake News sources of information, to a level that few can understand, or the Virus is just plain beating them up. Fake News is bad for America!”

Whatever the merits of Trump’s dissatisfaction with the two papers, it’s clear that advertising has plunged because some companies are shut down while others are slashing spending while most of their customers are stranded at home.

As America’s coronavirus death toll exceeds 10,000, two clashing narratives have come to define the president’s handling of the pandemic. Trump is courageously leading the country with a disruptive approach despite the naysayers, according to his supporters, or, from a press perspective, he is royally botching the emergency because of severe character limitations.

Trump posted four positive retweets after Sunday’s edition of “Media Buzz” as he embraced criticism of the press. It’s not the first time he’s commented on my program, sometimes critically–he’s also called supporters after their appearances–but it underscores a sharp focus on his coverage as a self-proclaimed wartime president.

For instance, he retweeted conservative commentator Gayle Trotter as saying “to this day the establishment have not admitted that they were wrong and the president was right.” She was talking about his early restrictions on travel from China, but did not address, as I pursued with other guests, media criticism of a slow response on testing, medical supplies and recognizing the magnitude of the threat. (Some in the press, in fairness, also minimized the potential impact as late as February–NBC didn’t ask a single virus question at its Democratic debate that month.)

The president seems increasingly disgusted with the media, even beyond the bitter hostilities of the Russia probe and the impeachment battle. At pressers over the weekend, he accused certain outlets of spreading false rumors, fear and panic.

And, given the life-and-death stakes, the press seems increasingly angry with Trump. Liberal Times columnist Frank Bruni says he’s “shriveling into nothingness” in a piece titled “Has Anyone Found Trump’s Soul? Anyone?”

CNN’s Don Lemon, and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, say cable news shouldn’t carry the Trump briefings live because he spreads lies and misinformation.

The president, for his part, is increasingly doing verbal combat with reporters. Last night, when Fox News’ Kristin Fisher asked about an HHS inspector general’s report detailing problems with testing, the president told her: “You should say congratulations, great job, instead of being so horrid in the way that you ask a question.”

And when ABC’s Jonathan Karl followed up on that report, Trump called him a “third-rate reporter” who “will never make it.” Karl is president of the White House Correspondents Association.

Trump has also taken swipes at such correspondents as NBC’s Peter Alexander, PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor, CNN’s Jim Acosta and CBS’s Weijia Jiang. It was particularly noteworthy that he called one of Alcindor’s questions “threatening” when she accurately quoted his evolving position on the feds providing ventilators.

Trump posted four positive retweets after Sunday’s edition of “Media Buzz” as he embraced criticism of the press. It’s not the first time he’s commented on my program, sometimes critically–he’s also called supporters after their appearances–but it underscores a sharp focus on his coverage as a self-proclaimed wartime president.

For instance, he retweeted conservative commentator Gayle Trotter as saying “to this day the establishment have not admitted that they were wrong and the president was right.” She was talking about his early restrictions on travel from China, but did not address, as I pursued with other guests, media criticism of a slow response on testing, medical supplies and recognizing the magnitude of the threat. (Some in the press, in fairness, also minimized the potential impact as late as February–NBC didn’t ask a single virus question at its Democratic debate that month.)

The president seems increasingly disgusted with the media, even beyond the bitter hostilities of the Russia probe and the impeachment battle. At pressers over the weekend, he accused certain outlets of spreading false rumors, fear and panic.

And, given the life-and-death stakes, the press seems increasingly angry with Trump. Liberal Times columnist Frank Bruni says he’s “shriveling into nothingness” in a piece titled “Has Anyone Found Trump’s Soul? Anyone?”

CNN’s Don Lemon, and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, say cable news shouldn’t carry the Trump briefings live because he spreads lies and misinformation.

The president, for his part, is increasingly doing verbal combat with reporters. Last night, when Fox News’ Kristin Fisher asked about an HHS inspector general’s report detailing problems with testing, the president told her: “You should say congratulations, great job, instead of being so horrid in the way that you ask a question.”

And when ABC’s Jonathan Karl followed up on that report, Trump called him a “third-rate reporter” who “will never make it.” Karl is president of the White House Correspondents Association.

Trump has also taken swipes at such correspondents as NBC’s Peter Alexander, PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor, CNN’s Jim Acosta and CBS’s Weijia Jiang. It was particularly noteworthy that he called one of Alcindor’s questions “threatening” when she accurately quoted his evolving position on the feds providing ventilators.

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