Loyal to Donald Trump, Fox News has cut back on coverage of the coronavirus pandemic to please the U.S. president and Barack Obama. At the same time, Obamageit is becoming trendy, especially relevant for Trump in anticipation of the new election. Fox News, loyal to US President Donald Trump, has significantly reduced the number of news about the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks. According to a study by Media Matters for America, in prime time, the number of materials associated with the coronavirus COVID-19 fell from 74% to 56%.
For comparison, statistics are given on CNN, which Trump has repeatedly accused of creating “fake news”, his materials in 90% of cases are focused on the pandemic. A similar situation is observed in MSNBC – more than 80% of prime time programs are related to coronavirus.
At the same time, Fox News related to the epidemic was significantly different from the programs of other American television channels. Researchers note that the TV channel focused on covering the White House’s efforts to get out of the crisis, and not on the problems of the American health care system. For example, Fox News devoted a lot of time to protests against restrictive measures in various states of the country – they are supported by Trump, who is prevented by the governors from opening the country.
TV channel observers and experts support this position, urging US residents to be “patriotic” and return to work to restore the economy.
Analysts at Media Matters indicate that journalists make such statements without leaving their home, as Fox News executives extended the remote work decree until June 15.
By the way, among the features of pandemic coverage on the channel, a small number of medical experts stand out who rarely appear on the air in prime time. And those who participate in the programs express a position similar to the White House – the United States should move on to lifting restrictive measures.
This approach was repeatedly criticized by Fox News in the American media space, the TV channel was accused of underestimation of mortality rates, insufficient coverage of measures to protect against coronavirus, and the spread of “harmful” recommendations.
Change of priorities
The reduction in the news about coronavirus on the channel coincided with the emergence of new circumstances in the case of retired Lieutenant General, ex-adviser to Trump Michael Flynn. In early May, the U.S. Justice Department decided to end the investigation against a former presidential aide who had already pleaded guilty to the FBI.
It should be noted that Fox News did not miss the topic of COVID-19 from the focus of attention, however, it put more pressure on the Flynn case, namely the aspect of the illegality of launching the investigation itself, as Trump has repeatedly expressed.
Given that the lieutenant general’s case began as part of an investigation of “Russian intervention,” new circumstances fit perfectly into Trump’s line about the fabricated proceedings.
However, the Flynn termination had an unexpected effect – former US President Barack Obama criticized the Trump administration. He called the actions of the White House to curb the pandemic a “chaotic mess” and expressed doubts about the decision of the Justice Department to drop the charges from Flynn, saying that this could jeopardize the rule of law in the United States.
It is worth noting that ex-presidents usually avoid criticism of their predecessors. Obama also followed this rule and has not attacked Trump directly since leaving office in 2017. He did not give the name of the current president this time, but the media regarded his statement as a very personal attack.
Obama’s criticism was probably taken to heart by Trump, who from that moment reinforced negative rhetoric in relation to his predecessor. From the moment of his inauguration, he headed for the destruction of his legacy, but this time he turned to threats of a completely different nature.
Trump accused Obama of committing the “biggest political crime” in the history of the country, dubbing his theory as “Obamageit” and promising more details in the near future. Following the Republicans in the Senate published a list of Obama administration officials who were involved in the illegal start of the case against Flynn. And the media concluded that Trump is trying to tie his predecessor to the proceedings and the violations committed.
Fox News quickly joined the Obamageit, donating pandemic materials to the investigation into the ex-president. According to Business Insider columnist Ellen Cranley, the channel is set to help Trump in his desire to undermine Obama’s reputation, especially in anticipation of the presidential election.
According to a May poll by Monmouth University, the rating of the former US leader is 57%, while Trump is gaining only 40%. At the same time, the future rival of the current president in the election – Democratic candidate Joe Biden – received 41% approval.
Biden was US Vice President under Obama, so Trump’s launch is likely trying to kill two birds with one stone. The blow to the reputation of the former president will also affect the Democratic candidate, who built a large part of his campaign on his past merits and friendships with Trump’s predecessor.
However, how successful Obamageit will be is an open question, since Trump has not yet given evidence of Obama’s involvement in any violations. And the ex-president is probably not going to leave the attacks of his successor unanswered.
Obama’s criticism of the Flynn case did not become his only public attack on the White House. On May 17, addressing a video of a parting word to graduate students at several colleges and universities that have traditionally studied African Americans (HBCU), he again criticized the Trump administration.
“Now is a special time. You are entering a world that is experiencing a devastating pandemic and a monstrous economic downturn, ”Obama said, adding that many politicians“ are not even trying to pretend that they are in control. ”
Similar attacks on the White House take place against the backdrop of official support for Biden from the ex-president. It is not yet possible to say that Obama will turn to direct criticism of Trump, but his recent statements, in general, can be regarded as a kind of return to big politics. This fact may confuse Trump’s cards in his election campaign.