Yearly Archives: 2020
Trump predicts two bad weeks followed by ‘a burst of light’ and political press lauds him for his new realism
Yes, it was Trump’s first public acknowledgment of the true scale of the disastrous coronavirus pandemic. But reporters largely ignored that it was accompanied by yet another round of magical thinking on his part.
Political journalists are still headlining Trump’s nonsense and trying to explain his decision-making. Stop!
Trump repeatedly makes it clear to anyone listening that he has no idea what he's talking about, and no plan to get the country back to normal. But too many political journalists are still working under assumptions that apply to normal presidents and trying to explain his thinking.
After weeks spent angrily downplaying the threat of the coronavirus, Donald Trump is now trying to describe the nation’s inconsistent and still wildly insufficient response as some sort of glorious – even “beautiful” -- expression of national unity.
Public-health experts say the only way life will return to something like normal is if the government initiates widespread, quick-turnaround, publicly-reported testing for the virus – not just of the sick, but of cross sections of every community. Everything the government does in the short term should be measured against that goal.
Rather than hide Trump's misinformation-filled briefings or broadcast them as is, the cable news networks should respond by doing journalism – in this case, some journalistic jujitsu. Real-time split-screen bullshit-calling would be a negative consequence for Trump -- and a big win for viewers.
Trump on Friday engaged in a bizarre, desperate huckster sales pitch for a drug that has no proven effects on the coronavirus but that he insisted he has a good feeling about. He said it could be a “game-changer.” He was peddling a fake cure in a way that would have gotten him kicked off the Home Shopping Network for inciting federal prosecution for false claims and fraud.
Even though they are more willing than ever to point out Trump’s flaws and lack of credibility, elite Washington- and New York-based journalists still can’t take their eyes off him. Newsrooms need to recenter their coronavirus coverage -- away from the White House.
News organizations should immediately start adding some sort of warning label every time they quote or paraphrase the president – especially when it comes to a life-or-death public-health issue -- to the effect that “some of his assertions indicate either delusion or an attempt to make the public doubt their own sense of reality.”
Trump coverage gets real, but the New York Times is still, inexplicably, giving him credit for trying
Mainstream journalists seem to have finally acknowledged the direct line of causality between Donald Trump’s delusions and incapacities and the federal government’s disastrous failure to respond to a public-health emergency. But the New York Times is still giving Trump the benefit of the doubt in one major way: By continuing to assume -- against all evidence -- that he is actually trying to do the right thing.
Political reporters have no business anywhere near the coronavirus story. But if there's one thing they do jump all over, it's a president's perceived weakness -- and Trump's botched address Wednesday night may have been a turning point.
Political journalists don’t hate Bernie Sanders because their corporate masters tell them to. They hate him because he is a walking, breathing, sometimes yelling reproof of the sacrifices they have had to make to succeed in their chosen profession.
The main message reporters should convey about Trump and the coronavirus crisis is that he is out of touch with reality and failing to lead. And in the absence of that leadership, our nation’s best journalists need to enable our nation’s smartest people to set the agenda.
The emperor has no clue: Trump’s conviction that the coronavirus threat will vanish has warped the government response
A compelling and coherent narrative is finally emerging to explain the Trump administration’s flailing response to the coronavirus crisis. It’s consistent with what we know about Trump's pathological need for admiration, and with what we know about the culture of sycophancy and fear he has created among the people who answer to him.