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The View introduced CNN’s Brian Stelter on Wednesday by playing the recent clip of President Donald Trump openly admitting just how much Fox News he watches on a daily basis. Nothing else could better sum up the premise of Stelter’s new book, Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth.

Moderator Whoopi Goldberg began by asking the Reliable Sources host about Trump’s ABC town-hall event from the night before. “He went outside the Fox News bubble and I’m glad he did!” Stelter exclaimed. “It was incredible to hear these voters.” 

From there, Joy Behar asked Stelter about Fox News’ continued attacks on the same type of “anonymous sources” that helped bring down Richard Nixon. “You say that Trump is Hannity's number one anonymous source,” she said. “So what’s the biggest danger this country faces from that?” 

“I feel like I had to write this book because these guys are hypocrites. Sean Hannity is a hypocrite!” Stelter replied. “He's blasting anonymous sources and saying journalism is dead when he uses an anonymous source in the form of President Trump.” Working in the title of his book, he added, “The greatest hoax of all of the Trump years is that Donald Trump has convinced one-third of the country not to believe not anything but Sean Hannity and Fox and Trump.”

Later in the interview, Meghan McCain attempted to create a false equivalence between Fox and CNN by bringing up audio recordings that Tucker Carlson has been selectively leaking of CNN president Jeff Zucker giving Michael Cohen advice for Trump ahead of a Republican primary debate. 

“Do you believe that this is acceptable, and don’t you think there’s enough fair criticism to go all the way around right now in just how news networks are run?” McCain asked. 

Loathe to criticize his employer, Stelter instead used her example of yet another instance of Fox’s coziness with Trump. “Well first, I think you should write a book,” he began, flattering McCain. “You listed off all of these storylines, but a lot of them are cherry-picked.” 

“I do have a question about this that relates to my book,” he continued. “Michael Cohen says these audiotapes were only held by Trump, the Trump Organization, and the DOJ. So all of a sudden they’re airing on Fox News. You have to wonder if this is another example of this feedback loop that exists between Trump and Fox.” 

Before his interview ended, Stelter appeared to get in one small dig at McCain when he explained that anchors on CNN and elsewhere have become more opinionated under Trump because “it's the best way to cut through all the noise and get to the news.” 

“To say, for example, the media is not the enemy of the American people or the enemy of Republicans,” he said, directly quoting McCain’s comments about Bob Woodward from last week, “the media is the enemy of liars and we can debunk lies through these essays.” 

Matt Wilstein

Senior Writer

@mattwilsteinmatt.wilstein@thedailybeast.com

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AP-NORC poll: Dim view of economy stable as election nears

WASHINGTON – Most Americans view the nation’s economic situation as bleak, but a rising percentage also see signs of stability six weeks before Election Day — if not reasons for optimism.

According to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 60% of Americans describe the national economy as poor and 40% deem it good. That's a rebound in confidence from low points in April and May, when just 29% called the economy good as the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the country.

About 4 in 10 Americans — 43% — say they expect the economy to improve in the next year, about the same as in July. But just 28% said they expect things to get even worse, a slight improvement from the 35% who said so in July and a significant improvement from May, when 40% expected things to continue getting worse. This month, 27% expect no change in economic conditions in the next year.

That relative hopefulness may say more about the nation's politics than the underlying health of the world’s largest economy.

President Donald Trump is seeking reelection against Democrat Joe Biden with stock market gains as a rallying cry. The unemployment rate has improved, but remains high at 8.4%, and lawmakers have failed to agree on additional aid for Americans suffering financially due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the continued toll from the virus — including the loss of schooling and revenue shortfalls for state and local governments — threatens the prospect for a wider recovery.

The poll found that 67% of Republicans call the economy good, compared with 16% of Democrats. Republicans are significantly more likely to expect the economy to get better than worse in the next year, 64% to 14%. Among Democrats, 39% expect things to get worse and 28% expect them to get better, while 32% expect no change.

“It’s kind of just in a neutral gear,” said Gary Cameron, 65, a retiree and Trump supporter from Midwest City, Oklahoma. “I do expect after the pandemic is over, it will probably go back to where it was, maybe better.”

But Cameron believes that the world’s largest economy would be hurt by a Biden presidency, saying he does not believe the country suffers from systemic racism and that addressing the demands of civil rights protesters would come at the expense of institutions that drive growth.

“The people the Democratic Party have gotten into bed with do not love America,” Cameron said. “I think it would do damage to the country.”

The poll finds that half of Americans approve of how Trump is handling the economy, which remains his strongest issue. By comparison, 43% approve of how he’s handling his job overall. Eighty-nine percent of Republicans and 15% of Democrats approve of Trump’s handling of the economy.

About two-thirds of Americans — 65% — say their own personal finances are good. That number has remained largely steady since before the pandemic began. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans and 58% of Democrats say their personal finances are good. Americans are also more likely to expect their personal finances to get better than worse, 38% to 13%, with 48% expecting no change.

Bob Blanchard, 73, of Augusta, Georgia, lives in a community hurt by the coronavirus and the loss of business locally from a spectator-free Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. A consulting engineer, Blanchard said local businesses are suffering and he can no longer make money by renting out his house to the crowds who came for the fabled golf tournament.

“My wife and I don’t go out to eat,” Blanchard said. “We avoid retail shopping like the plague. No pun intended.”

Blanchard, who intends to vote for Biden, says the blame for this rests with Trump.

“He just was completely irresponsible and incompetent,” he said. “He knew it was bad, but he didn’t do anything.”

The poll shows 22% of Americans who say they or someone in their household lost a job as a result of the pandemic say the job has returned. Thirty-five percent expect the job to come back, but 44% expect it won’t.

Overall, 27% of Americans say their household lost a job, 36% that someone was scheduled for fewer hours, 26% took unpaid time off and 27% had wages or salaries reduced. All told, 53% experienced at least one form of household income loss during the pandemic. Income losses have been especially concentrated among Black and Hispanic Americans and those without college degrees.

Ryan Wilson, 37, said that half of the workers at the seafood warehouse where he’s a supervisor were furloughed when the pandemic started — and not all have returned to their jobs. A resident of Altamonte Springs, Florida, he said his concern is that the economic troubles are worsening drug addiction and domestic violence.

“People are really suffering,” he said. “They’re facing levels of depression, anxiety and distress — and not just financially. They turn to something to escape the daily pressures of life and that’s ravaging across American right now.”

___

The AP-NORC poll of 1,108 adults was conducted Sept. 11-14 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.

___

Online:

AP-NORC Center: http://www.apnorc.org/

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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