President Donald Trump's press briefings regarding the global pandemic that's upended daily life in the United States have come under fire for prioritizing the President's vanity over experts' advice.
Even the conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal implored Trump to dispense with his habit of lying, berating reporters, or taking cheap shots against his political enemies, and instead rise to the urgency of the moment presented by the virus that's now killed over 22,000 Americans.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, requests to abstain from insults and falsehoods during a national crisis are too much to ask of the President of the United States—at least for the duration of 2020.
As usual, Mr. Trump contends that it's not his behavior that needs changing, but the media's coverage.
His latest attempt to bolster that defense came with a graphic the President tweeted, insisting that a majority of Americans found the daily White House briefings on the virus "helpful and informative."
Trump railed against his all too familiar specter of the "fake news media" when sharing the graphic.
First the Fake News Media said that it’s not fair for the President of the United States to be giving news conferen… https://t.co/OeTK50YoZe— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1586809890.0
As it turns out, the poll Trump cited is about as reliable as the 16,241 false claims he's made since his inauguration.
First off, the poll originates from the firm Fabrizio Lee, partly named for Tony Fabrizio, a longtime friend of convicted criminals and Trump devotees Roger Stone and Paul Manafort.
Fabrizio worked on the Trump campaign, and Trump himself refused to pay for Fabrizio's polling, owing him nearly a million dollars. Whether that was a reflection of poor quality on Fabrizio's part or consistency on Trump's part remains unclear.
Another small detail: Fabrizio's firm was questioned by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to determine whether or not it relayed private voter information to the Kremlin.
What's more, the poll only sampled answers from 17 states—most of them Republican leaning.
By the time Twitter was done, Trump's graph was holier than Swiss cheese.
@realDonaldTrump Ah yes, a graphic from Tony Fabrizio, the Republican operative who was questioned by Mueller's spe… https://t.co/sP7eHGItZv— Brian Tyler Cohen (@Brian Tyler Cohen)1586810086.0
@realDonaldTrump Um... you do realize that people who *already* support you are more likely to watch these briefings, right?— Pé (@Pé)1586810279.0
maybe ... maybe this is because people don't keep watching briefings that they find "not informative/helpful"? (al… https://t.co/kvgsEoyI6E— Josh Chafetz (@Josh Chafetz)1586811955.0
@realDonaldTrump Great poll!😂 Repub. Fabrizio is the principal in Fabrizio, Lee & Assoc. In 2018, he was question… https://t.co/xXQFgoihnj— Sally Deal (@Sally Deal)1586822334.0
Unlike at his rallies, people aren't tuning into the briefings for Trump's performance, but rather for the updates from actual experts on the pandemic response task force.
In case the President needed a reminder...
We want to hear from medical experts, not from you with your Clown Show rants and rages and delusions. https://t.co/YzkheRSWqG— Dana Ivey (@Dana Ivey)1586819586.0
People would find them more helpful and informative if you let the actual professionals speak at them and stayed in… https://t.co/OUKIghBX79— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss)1586810176.0
I don't tune-in to listen to you Mr. President, I want to hear from the experts. https://t.co/V078lNI5ns— Susan Meynell (@Susan Meynell)1586810052.0
Pretty graphs won't spare the President from accountability.