More than 82,000 Americans have died of coronavirus as of Tuesday. A top model now forecasts that 147,000 Americans will lose their lives by August. Millions are out of work. And the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is warning that reopening the country too early could have serious consequences.
Major news organizations are reflecting this grim reality with clear-eyed reporting, bold headlines, and historic front pages. So what is Trump, Fox News, and the right-wing media machine doing? They’re constructing a separate alternate reality to keep their fans distracted from the news and outraged at the long-standing villains in the right-wing media universe. The general idea is that President Obama and others improperly used the levers of gov’t to conspire against Trump to win the 2016 election, with the “deep-state” later working to kneecap him when he was in office.
But while you might just brush it off as Trump and his allies raging in a nonsensical way, you should know that there is a real effort to blow this up. Trump is obviously ranting about it on his Twitter account and elsewhere. And though he was unable to actually explain it in a coherent fashion on Monday, his allies in right-wing media are stepping in.
“While the mainstream press moves on to other matters or simply mocks the absurdity of the president’s huffing and puffing about #Obamagate, the right-wing media plunge their audiences deeper into it,” Miller explained, adding, “The result is that President Trump gets to live in an alternate reality of his own choosing.”
Will it help him with a broad audience? Frum doesn’t think so, writing, “The consequences are here. The fairy tales Trump tells on Twitter will not conceal those consequences from the voters Trump needs.” That might be right. But it will definitely distract Trump’s base from the hard facts of the coronavirus. And that seems to be the point.