Does CBS News Instruct Their WH Reporters to Be Obnoxious and Ill-Mannered? Meet Paula Reid's Colleague Weijia Jiang

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

The CBS logo is at the entrance to its headquarters, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

 

I have to ask, does CBS News require their reporters to be rude and disrespectful to President Trump? I’ve witnessed Paula Reid in action many times. However, Sunday night’s White House briefing was the first time I’d ever had the displeasure of seeing her colleague, Weijia Jiang, perform.

Jiang had a question regarding comments President Trump had made about the World Health Organization. She began by pleasantly thanking him for calling on her. By the time she finished her question, her tone had changed. “I have a question about something you said Thursday, which is that you were angry because information about the virus should have been told to us earlier and a lot sooner. People knew it was coming and people did not want to talk about it. Many Americans are saying the exact same thing about you, you should have warned them the virus was spreading like wildfire through the month of February instead of holding rallies with thousands of people. Why did you not have social distancing until March 16?”

Trump asked, “Who are you?”

She answered, “I am Weijia Jiang with CBS News.”

Trump began to speak, “So, if you look at what I did in terms of cutting off or banning China from coming in…” when Jiang abruptly and unnecessarily cut him off to correct his choice of words.

She said, “Chinese nationals. But by the way, not Americans who were also coming from China —.”

The President clearly wasn’t happy with her extremely rude interruption said, “Nice and easy. Nice and easy. Just relax. We cut it off. People were amazed. These gentlemen, everybody was amazed that I did it. We had 21 people in the room, everybody was against it but me. Dr. Fauci said, had I not done that, perhaps tens of thousands, maybe much more than that, people would have died. I was very early, very, very early. You saw Brett Baier making a statement. They had a debate well into February. And not even mentioned. It wasn’t even mentioned, the Democrats.”

(Brett Baier had reported earlier that the coronavirus had not even been mentioned at the February 19 Democratic primary debate.)

Jiang interrupts again, “Well, you’re the President.”

Jiang starts speaking over him. “And by the way, when you issued the ban, the virus was already here.”

“Okay. You know how many people when I issued the ban — how many cases of virus were in the United States? Do you know the number?…Remember I said one person. How many cases were here when I issued the ban? You have to do your research.”

“I did my research. On the 23rd of March, you said you knew this was going to be a pandemic,” Jiang said.

Trump snapped back, “I did know it. Anybody knew it. Are you ready? How many cases were in the United States when I did my ban? How many people had died in the United States?”

(Trump issued the travel ban on January 31. Included exceptions for U.S. citizens who were in China at the time. The first U.S. coronavirus death occurred on February 29.)

She doesn’t acknowledge the question, and smugly asks, “Did you acknowledge that you didn’t think it was going to spread?

“Keep your voice down. How many people — I did a ban where I am closing the country. How many people died? How many people died in the United States? Yet I closed up the country and I believe there were no deaths, zero deaths, at the time I closed up the country. You should say, thank you for good judgment.”

I fully understand that it’s the media’s job to hold government officials accountable. That’s not what this woman was doing. Jiang was putting on a show for her colleagues. ‘Wow, did you see her get under the President’s skin?’ If she was after headlines, she got them. But Jiang also demonstrated that, like her colleague Paula Reid, she’s not a journalist, but a partisan hack.