Fox News host Howard Kurtz on Friday pushed back against "the bleak presidential portrait painted by the media," noting that despite President Donald Trump's controversies, his approval rating has "bounced" up to around where his predecessor was "for several years."
Kurtz, in an op-ed released early Friday morning, decried the portrayal of Trump "as a lordly king, besotted by 'visions of absolute power,'" while his approval rating in polls from Fox News and The Wall Street Journal/NBC show his rating at 45 and 44 percent, respectively.
"While that's not a fabulous number, it's roughly where [former President] Barack Obama was for several years, and hardly the statistic you'd expect from someone on the verge of political oblivion."
Kurtz credits the improved economy as the primary reason for Trump's support, but admits that "it goes deeper than that.
"Much of the public simply isn't breathlessly following all the scandal stuff and controversies and flap-of-the-day flareups the way the press corps is," he continues.
"Many voters shrug off his provocations and exaggerations because they think he is delivering for them on kitchen-table issues and like his economic warfare against China. Trump has also consolidated his Republican support to a remarkable degree; except for some contrarian lawmakers and conservative pundits, he is the GOP."
He notes that Politico's Rich Lowry described Trump as seeming "a little less exotic… his zaniness isn't as strange or threatening as it seemed at the outset. Trump's tweets have gone from unprecedented use and abuse of the bully pulpit to something like the wallpaper of our national political debate."
Kurtz concludes, "None of this means that Trump's polls can't slide if he makes mistakes or the Russia probe takes a menacing turn. But there is a yawning gap between his actual support and the media's portrayal of an embattled and unpopular president."
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