People tour the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, July 31, 2020. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)
People tour the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, July 31, 2020. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)

Just three months before perhaps the most crucial election in the post-WWII era, U.S. media and people are in a frenzy of discussions over who might lead the world's biggest economy, at a time when a multitude of U.S. businesses have been ravaged by the COVID-19 shutdown and the whole world is fighting the pandemic.

DIFFERING OPINIONS ON HANDLING OF CRISES

The recent never-before-seen crises in the United States have worsened already intense political and ideological differences in the U.S. society.

Only 34 percent of Americans approve of U.S. President Donald Trump's handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll on 730 U.S. adults on July 29-30.

The survey, whose results were released on July 31, also found that the U.S. public broadly disapproves of the president's handling of other recent crises such as the nationwide protests following the death of African American George Floyd.

According to the poll's result, "just over a third of Americans (36 percent) approve of President Trump's handling of the response to the protests across the country."

"Specifically, a majority of Americans (52 precent) believe the deployment of federal law enforcement to cities with protests has made the situation worse," it added.

Some U.S. media such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN have criticized the U.S. government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and protests over racial injustice, while other media, such as the Fox network, have approved Washington's pandemic containment efforts and vaccine research and development.

Some media also pointed out that the U.S. government's response to the pandemic has caused cases to mount and the economy's service sector is in shambles as a result. The U.S. economy contracted at an annual rate of 32.9 percent in the second quarter of the year, the steepest decline since the government began keeping records in 1947, the Commerce Department reported last week.

The White House and congressional Democrats aim to strike a deal on the next COVID-19 relief bill by the end of this week, while the two sides remain far apart on some important issues, according to Bloomberg.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers, facing immense pressure to reach a deal to salvage the economy from COVID-19, have blamed each other for failing to make progress.

MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT MEDIA OPINIONS

In a study published earlier this week, polling company Gallup found that at a time of record political polarization and pessimism about opinions, strong majorities of Americans increasingly think an independent media is key to a functioning democracy.

According to a new report from Gallup and the Knight Foundation's Trust, Media and Democracy series, Americans see increasing political bias in news coverage and say that media "bears blame for political division in this country."

A large majority of Americans currently see "a great deal" -- 49 percent, or "a fair amount" -- 37 percent, of political bias in news coverage, more than that of 2017.

Although 56 percent of U.S. adults see at least a fair amount of bias in their go-to news source, they are much more concerned about bias in the news other people are getting than about their own news being biased, which is 69 percent and 29 percent respectively.

At the same time, political party identification continues to be the principal factor driving Americans' views of and trust in the media, the Gallup study found.

At the same time, however, more than eight in 10 Americans say that, in general, the news media is "critical" to democracy.

However, not all reports have been distinctly on one side or the other, and some are coming out with detailed reports on the science of the virus and other facts.

In any event, the coverage of the pandemic is likely to impact the presidential elections in one way or another, experts said.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

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