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ABC, NBC Chide Unemployed Protesters as ‘AsrtoTurf’ ‘Not Reflected’ in Polls

As media elitists, their jobs were safe and they could easily work from home. But during their Sunday morning newscasts, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Sunday Today, chided and cast aside the unemployed Americans taking to the streets as state stay-at-home orders left them in financial ruin. ABC even suggested their angry protests could be “AstroTurf” movements designed to embarrass Democrats, and NBC dismissed them because they were “not reflected” in the polls.

After first portraying Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as the voice of reason on keeping things shut down indefinitely, NBC correspondent Kathy Park noted that “there’s growing pressure in other parts of the country for people who want to get back to work and they’re protesting to make happen.”

Showing how the protests were a nationwide occurrence, Park reported that “Hundreds pack the sidewalk in Milwaukee as they protested a stay-at-home order extended through May 26th. In Maryland, a rally of cars clogged streets of Annapolis as they demanded an end to the shutdown.”

But she tossed them aside by saying they were not reflected in the polls. “These raw emotions are not reflected in a new Pew Research poll showing two-thirds of Americans are concerned the restrictions will be lifted too quickly,” she declared.

Logic would tell you that that’s because a majority weren’t hit particularly hard by the economic downturn and lost their jobs. With some estimated figures suggesting the unemployment rate was somewhere in the teens, they should be listened to in some way. Yet, on ABC, they did a lot to throw these hurting people away.

 

 

“Meanwhile, in several other states around the country this weekend, we saw scattered rallies, small, but vehement groups of people demanding an end to stay-at-home rules. Even though, polls show that most Americans believe the worst is yet to come and worry governors will lift restrictions too quickly,” co-anchor Dan Harris rebuked.

Framing the unemployed protesters as uncaring about the thousands still dying from the coronavirus around the country, ABC correspondent Trevor Ault dismissed them as “a small but an increasingly vocal minority of people…”

Using diminutive language he wouldn’t dare use for a leftist protest, Ault added: “In these small, isolated demonstrations, protesters seen ignoring state orders to avoid mass gatherings.” And he seemed appalled that President Trump “seems to support them too.”

Then, completely oblivious to their privilege, the network promoted a plan that wouldn’t allow for the states to begin to reopen for another three months. “We have a first look this morning from a plan from a bipartisan group of experts who want to reopen the economy starting in July,” co-anchor Whit Johnson celebrated. The report was delivered by Kaylee Hartung, who Johnson said was reporting form the comfort of “her home in southern California.” A luxury millions don’t have.

Later, Harris brought on chief analyst and faux Republican Matthew Dowd, who initially claimed “we don’t know for sure whether this is grassroots, or AstroTurf, whether it’s partisan people pushing this in order to embarrass … Democratic governors.”

But Dowd later talked about how there needed to be empathy shown to those afflicted with the virus, as well as those left out of work. “But again, a tremendous gulf of empathy both on the economy and the health crisis. And if we can bridge, I think that we’d be better off,” he said.

The transcripts are below, click “expand” to read:

ABC’s Good Morning America
April 19, 2020
8:03:15 a.m. Eastern

(…)

DAN HARRIS: Meanwhile, in several other states around the country this weekend, we saw scattered rallies, small, but vehement groups of people demanding an end to stay-at-home rules. Even though, polls show that most Americans believe the worst is yet to come and worry governors will lift restrictions too quickly.

EVA PILGRIM: We have team coverage this morning and we start with Trevor Ault in Times Square. Good morning to you, Trevor.

TREVOR AULT: Eva, good morning. The COVID-19 pandemic really does continue to devastate the country. Even with these sweeping stay-at-home orders, more than 1,000 Americans have died every day for the past two weeks. And a lot of areas are still seeing their cases climb. But in some cities, a small but an increasingly vocal minority of people say these restrictions and business closures have gone too far.

[Cuts to video]

Across the country, a growing number of Americans feeling handcuffed by stay-at-home orders and frustrated by a sputtering economy, taking to the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Fight for your rights! Do not let this virus take hold of your civil liberties!

AULT: Demonstrations Saturday in Texas, other is California, and Indiana, Ohio, New Hampshire, and beyond. In these small isolated demonstrations, protesters seen ignoring state orders to avoid mass gatherings. And the President seems to support them too.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: There are a lot of protests out there and I just think that some of the governors have gotten carried away. You know, we’ve got a lot of people that don’t have to be told to do what they’re doing.

(…)

8:06:50 a.m. Eastern

WHIT JOHNSON: We do want to turn now to an ABC News exclusive. We have a first look this morning from a plan from a bipartisan group of experts who want to reopen the economy starting in July. Now the focus is on testing and tracing, but specifically what it will take to do it right. ABC’s Kaylee Hartung joins us live from her home in southern California with more on that. Kaylee, good morning.

KAYLEE HARTUNG: Good morning, Whit. It’s an impressive group of experts who have put together this comprehensive plan. It will take collaboration and cooperation and it will be a challenge on many levels to carry out, but the authors of this plan say with a the help of a can-do American spirit it’s possible.

(…)

8:15:18 a.m. Eastern

HARRIS: Speaking of the President, let’s talk about these protests we’re seeing in several states, scattered protests in states across the country, the President has seemed to signal support for the protesters, what’s your take on how the President is playing this?

MATTHEW DOWD: Well, one of the things I think in the course of this, you know, we don’t know for sure whether this is grassroots, or AstroTurf, whether it’s partisan people pushing this in order to embarrass the — it seems — most of them are Democratic governors. Though there are protests in some Republican states like Ohio and Idaho, in this.

I think part of the problem, Dan, that we have today there seems to be this gulf of empathy. That some people are very empathetic for the illness and all of that’s going on and rightfully so. But then we also have to be empathetic for what’s going on in people’s economy – in the economy and what’s happening in the state. The people who are hurt the most are not Wall Street, it’s Main Street. It’s people who live paycheck to paycheck.

So, if I – if we were a leader in a state, whether it’s Michigan, Minnesota, or not we have to not only convey a sense of this horrible health crisis, but I also think you have to explain what are you going to do when the time is right to open that state up. And I think if there was more sharing of information we’d have less of this protest and less people getting angry about it.

But again, a tremendous gulf of empathy both on the economy and the health crisis. And if we can bridge, I think that we’d be better off.

(…)

 

NBC’s Sunday Today
April 19, 2020
8:03:06 a.m. Eastern

WILLIE GEIST: But let’s begin this morning with the divide in this country over when and how to end state-wide stay-at-home orders. NBC’s Kathy Park is in New York’s Times Square. Kathy, good morning.

KATHY PARK: Willie, good morning to you. Today marks one month since Americans were first asked to stay at home. And here in New York, the governor says it’s soon to reopen. Meanwhile, there’s growing pressure in other parts of the country for people who want to get back to work and they’re protesting to make happen.

[Cuts to video]

This morning a battle brewing over reopening the country, as demonstrations grew loud from coast to coast. President Trump placing blame for protests on state leaders.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: There are a lot of protests out there, and I just think some of the governors have gotten carried away.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We’re not going to have a vaccine for at least 18 months. We cannot shut down our state for 18 months.

PARK: Hundreds pack the sidewalk in Milwaukee as they protested a stay-at-home order extended through May 26th. In Maryland, a rally of cars clogged streets of Annapolis as they demanded an end to the shutdown.

These raw emotions are not reflected in a new Pew Research poll showing two-thirds of Americans are concerned the restrictions will be lifted too quickly. Florida beaches are among the first to reopen with limited hours. But within minutes crowds showed up and the outrage followed.

(…)

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