He’s got a big decision to make. Democratic presidential hopeful Joseph R. Biden is struggling to keep his political message percolating now that the coronavirus pandemic remains center stage, worldwide. The former vice president had made the most of a temporary broadcast studio in his home, and continues to offer interviews and commentary to most everyone, often with tepid results.

Should Mr. Biden supercharge his efforts by revealing his running mate? Mr. Biden vows his choice will be a female; Possible candidates include former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama and a number of lawmakers. Then there is chatter — found in Inside the Beltway and elsewhere — that Mr. Biden could join forces with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 62, and currently getting rave reviews for his response to the pandemic in his state. The team would look like this: BIDEN/CUOMO 2020.

A veteran New York political analyst says this particular pairing won’t happen.

“Reaction from the party’s identitarian activists would be explosive,” predicts New York Post columnist Bob McManus, who suggests some Democrats also would say Mr. Cuomo would be ‘line-jumping” ahead of other potential running mates.

“Party poobahs” like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would not be happy with Mr. Cuomo for many reasons, including the governor’s support for charter schools or his upstate economic development projects. Still, Mr. Cuomo has made an emphatic national debut.

“There is the continuing Cuomo star turn — impressive at the outset for its steadying presence in a moment of grave crisis. The enthusiastic response to it speaks to a nation hungry for responsible, articulate, adult leadership. But inspirational rhetoric has a short shelf life. Once the rules governing life in a pandemic are absorbed, the shutdown effected and the new expectations established, all that’s left is talk,” writes Mr. McManus.

“Cuomo has performed magnificently to this point, but those who have followed his oratory over the years — the anger-tinged, over-the-top campaign speeches and official addresses — are aware of his limits, too. Rhetoric must remain restrained if it is to be effective over time, and restraint isn’t Cuomo’s superpower,” the columnist continued.

“Biden and company must know this, and so there they have another reason to keep the governor at arm’s length. This, no doubt, they will do,” writes Mr. McManus.

CONFESSIONS ARE FEW IN TOILET PAPER CRISIS

Yes, the toilet paper shortage in the U.S. continues to unroll for mysterious reasons, confounding the millions of Americans who are staring down empty supermarket aisles once stacked with tissue of every persuasion. Who’s to blame? Few will admit they have contributed to the TP crisis by overbuying.

“Most Americans report a toilet paper shortage where they live thanks to the coronavirus but say they personally are not to blame. Just 16% of American say they are buying more toilet paper than normal — while 82% say they are not,” notes the survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted March 25-26.

ELECTION? WHAT ELECTION?

It was not so long ago that the 2020 presidential election was the epicenter of media coverage and ruling the op-ed pages. No more. A close, scientific investigation of this phenomenon reveals just how much the coronavirus pandemic has supplanted the election.

“Coronavirus bulldozes the 2020 race out of the media spotlight,” writes says Kalev Leetaru, an analyst for RealClear Politics who cites a three-month study of coverage on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News conducted by the GDELT Project, a complex database which monitors print, broadcast and online media in over 100 languages.

“Mentions of the race collapsed tenfold from March 11 to March 12 and again from March 18 to March 19 and have not recovered since,” From a peak of almost 4,000 mentions on March 4, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden today accounts for just a few dozen mentions a day,” Leetaru notes.

“In the race’s place, explicit mentions of the coronavirus by name have grown to account for at least 20% of the daily airtime on the three television channels, with CNN covering it the most from late February through March 12 and Fox News taking the lead since then, with MSNBC paying the least attention to the virus the last three months,” advises Mr. Leetaru, a senior fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security.

FOX NEWS, THE ‘UPLIFTING’ EDITION

Fox News has long been known for hard news reporting and commentary that has ensured the network has remained the nation’s most-watched cable news outlet for 18 consecutive years. Fox News has adopted a new mission to provide “uplifting” content for viewers as the coronavirus crisis grips the world — launching “America Together,” a new project which provides news stories that underscore well-being and positivity.

“The feature will highlight daily inspiring stories to provide Fox News Media’s audiences with a realm of uplifting content throughout the global coronavirus pandemic. America Together will include stories of volunteerism, charitable efforts and everyday heroism in the face of all the challenges,” the network said in a statement.

The network is also reaching out to viewers in a personal way, with major network personalities encouraging viewers and families at home. Fox News is also streaming religious services from the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

POLL DU JOUR

• 79% of U.S. adults say coronavirus response by national public health official is “good or excellent”; 84% of Republicans and 74% of Democrats agree.

• 70% overall give state elected officials the same positive review; 72% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats agree.

• 69% overall give local elected official the smae review; 73% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats agree.

• 63% overall give “ordinary people” the same review; 68% of Republicans and 60% of Democrats agree.

• 54% overall give the news media the same review; 37% of Republicans and 68% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 11,537 U.S. adults conducted March 19-24.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

© Copyright (c) 2020 News World Communications, Inc.

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