On Politics: Coronavirus at the White House

Good morning and welcome to On Politics, a daily political analysis of the 2020 elections based on reporting by New York Times journalists.

Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

President Trump at a meeting with military and national security officials at the White House on Saturday.

So whom do you believe?

It’s all part of an ever-deepening partisan divide over the very nature of truth and what sources of information can be trusted, particularly with regard to the news. Even as the virus has touched virtually every aspect of American life and caused both Democrats and Republicans to alter their daily routines, the pandemic has failed to bridge the gap over trust in the news media.

A Pew Research Center survey released on Friday found that 63 percent of Democrats nationwide said they thought the news media’s coverage of the outbreak had been generally helpful. But just 27 percent of Republicans agreed, including a meager 22 percent of conservative Republicans.

While close to three-quarters of Democrats said in the Pew poll that the media’s virus coverage was getting them the information they needed, only 44 percent of Republicans said so. Two-thirds of Republicans said in the survey that the news media’s coverage of the pandemic had been “more negative than it should be.”

That partisan divide is contributing to a decline in the country’s overall faith in journalism. Fifty-two percent of respondents said that they generally had little to no confidence that journalists would operate in the public’s best interests. Two years ago, 55 percent of Americans told Pew that they had at least a decent amount of confidence.

The November presidential election may not only be the first to occur during a pandemic; it could also be the first to occur in an era of such great partisan divide over what to believe.

Tuesday, May 12 at 4 p.m. Eastern

In the face of enormous pressure to reopen, many states are struggling to implement adequate testing and contact tracing programs — measures that public health experts say are necessary to prevent the coronavirus from spreading rapidly and claiming more lives. Why is this so hard? And what can states do today — even without the testing they need?

Our special guest, Dr. Thomas Frieden, a former director of the C.D.C. and the chief executive of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, will discuss these questions with our host, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, a Washington correspondent for The Times.

On Politics is also available as a newsletter. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox.

Is there anything you think we’re missing? Anything you want to see more of? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button