Sunday morning talking heads

Sunday morning talking heads

Any guesses as to what this week’s top story is? Hint: It’ll be the top story on the Sunday shows every week for the next two months.

Or maybe the next six months. Who can say?

The lead guest is the White House’s de facto coronavirus czar, Anthony Fauci, who’s set to appear on all five shows. His task is to balance straight talk with tamping down despair. Yes, the next few months will be bad, but yes, testing really is finally ramping up. Yes, many older Americans will die, but yes, most people will manage to fight off infection at home. Yes, hospitals will be overwhelmed for a time, but yes, there’s some hope that new antiviral drugs will help us manage this.

He’ll also have to manage not to bruise the president’s ego despite repeated invitations by this morning’s hosts to criticize his botched Oval Office address earlier this week and his many weeks of cavalier statements about the threat from coronavirus. Expect Fauci to insist that it’s time to look forward and that the ban on travel from Europe really is useful, as he’s done repeatedly the past few days.

There are other reassuring presences scheduled. Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb has acted as a sort of shadow czar on social media during the outbreak, cheerleading the gradual increase in U.S. testing capacity. He’ll be on “Face the Nation.” Count on him for straight talk too: He’s said recently that he’s hopeful we’ll be able to avoid a full-blown crisis a la Italy but that the window for avoiding a crisis altogether a la South Korea is probably closed due to the testing fiasco. The U.S. is going to experience some pain, and soon. Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine is also booked today to discuss the aggressive measures he’s taken to try to limit social contact in his state as the outbreak spreads. He’ll be on “Meet the Press” to discuss the hair-raising number from Ohio health officials that more than 100,000 people are estimated to have already contracted the disease and how he’s preparing for a surge at ERs.

Trump’s two top economic advisors are also scheduled to discuss the financial relief bill passed by the House on Friday night and the odds of a recession this year, which are growing about as quickly as coronavirus is among the population. Steve Mnuchin is set for “This Week” and “Fox News Sunday” while Larry Kudlow is booked on “Face the Nation.” Kudlow’s going to get grilled aggressively about all the happy talk he offered over the past few weeks about “containing” the virus and “buying the dip” on the stock market before the Dow and S&P 500 lost more ground. The full line-up is at the AP.

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