Accuracy in Media

As the government shutdown barrels toward the one-month mark with no sign Republicans are caving or the president is having second thoughts, the mainstream media has taken to attempting to nudge things in the Democrats’ direction.

NBC News attempted to push the president by declaring his poll numbers were declining.

“In addition to national polls showing that a majority of Americans and voters blame President Trump more for the partial government shutdown – which is now in its 27th day and counting – they also have his approval rating below where it was on the eve of the 2018 midterms,” wrote Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann of NBC under “Yes, the Shutdown Has Taken a Toll on Trump.”

Polls have not served the mainstream media’s interest before, but they do now, the trio write.

“Many of us in the political community have grown numb to how poll numbers about Trump rarely change – most Americans made up their minds about the president in his first few months in office, and those opinions have barely budged since then,” they wrote. “But don’t let reality distract you from the clear evidence that this shutdown has chipped away at Trump’s numbers.”

The New York Times took a more personal approach – one that relied entirely on anonymous sources.

“President Trump has insisted that he is not going to compromise with Democrats to end the government shutdown and that he is comfortably in his unbendable position,” wrote Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni of the New York Times in “In a West Wing in Transition, Trump Tries to Stand Firm on the Shutdown.”

“’We are getting crushed!’ Mr. Trump told his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, after watching some recent coverage of the shutdown, according to one person familiar with the conversation. ‘Why can’t we get a deal?’”

Haberman and Karni then went further to describe Trump’s challenge.

“The president is confronted by a divided and partially shuttered government with an untested staff that has undergone yet another shakeup,” they wrote. “Polls show that most Americans blame him for the government shutdown, and his advisers are warning him of its negative effects on the economy.”

Then, without even so much as an attribution to an anonymous source, it declares, “As the shutdown enters its 27th day on Thursday with no end in sight, most of his top aides would like him to find a way out.”

Then, also without evidence, The Times duo claims Trump has told aides he believes the country will forget the shutdown over time but will remember the fight he staged to protect the southern border. But “He wants Democrats to come back to the table agreeing with his position on a wall, and he does not understand why they have not.”

Haberman and Karni seemed to know what was going on in the president’s head.

“But despite his public bravado, and the tweets about “Radical Democrats,” Mr. Trump has had recurring moments of frustration as he takes in negative news coverage of the shutdown, pointing his finger at aides for not delivering the deal he wants. Yet his aides say that the president believes he is still playing a strong hand and that any moments of frustration have been fleeting.”

The Times found a never-Trump Republican political operative – Kevin Madden – to say the president’s shutdown strategy “has largely been driven by a reaction to the latest 30 minutes of a cable news cycle.”

But beyond that, the only named people dispute the account Haberman and Karni put forth. “’It was productive and constructive,’” Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, one of seven Democrats who met with Trump Wednesday to attempt to resolve the crisis, said after the meeting.

That meeting was a setup designed to fool a first-term congressman, the Times reported.

“The meeting, aides said, had been intended to show moderate Democrats … that the caricature of Mr. Trump throwing a ‘temper tantrum’ and storming out of a meeting, painted last week by Ms. Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York does not capture the whole picture.”

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