President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Saturday, April 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Remember a few weeks ago when the White House press corps went absolutely bonkers after OANN’s Chanel Rion asked President Trump during a Wuhan coronavirus task force press briefing if it “alarmed” him that many in the MSM appeared to be teaming up with China’s government in their propaganda offensive against Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus”?
Darcy lashed out at OANN, tweeting that “Amid a global pandemic killing thousands of Americans, Trump disparaged CNN, NYT, and PBS at his press conference, while saving his praise for a fringe cable channel that peddles right-wing conspiracy theories.”
Of OANN, Stelter stated that “There are 100+ media outlets in the United States with bigger audiences and better journalistic reputations than @OANN. But because the channel broadcasts pro-Trump propaganda, it is given preferential treatment at the White House.”
Both Darcy and Stelter praised the White House Correspondents Assocation for kicking OANN out of the briefing room for allegedly violating the press corps’ social distancing policy.
But fast forward to Monday, when President Trump had the audacity to ask a reporter who touted China’s work with the U.S. if she worked for a China-controlled
propaganda “news” outlet. Watch:
“Who are you working for? China?” pic.twitter.com/xANhmcvp7z
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 6, 2020
Spoiler alert: She actually does.
But regardless, the press were outraged, and that included CNN, which has now changed its tune on allowing “propaganda” outlets to ask Trump questions during these briefings.
CNN White House correspondent John Harwood appeared on his network’s “New Day” program Tuesday morning to discuss, among other things, Trump’s daily interactions with the press. During the segment, Harwood brought up Trump questioning the “reporter” and likened it to how an “authoritarian leader” would act (transcribed, with bolded emphasis added):
“So the president was lashing out again at the legitimacy of criticism itself. He went after a reporter and said ‘do you work for China?’ He criticized the HHS inspector General saying ‘did this person work for President Obama?’ This is the kind of thing he did, we remember, in 2016 when he said, ‘well, it’s a Mexican judge, I’m trying to build a wall, they can’t be fair.’ That is not the case.
There is expertise within the government. He has disregarded that expertise. And now he’s trying – I think he feels a sense of injustice that the good conditions that he was running for re-election on have been taken away and he’s reacting in a way, frankly, that authoritarian leaders behave. ‘You can’t question me, I’m the leader of the country, what I say is true.’ And we can all see what the consequences in American life are at this moment. That is on his watch and he’s got to take responsibility for it.”
Watch the segment below, via MRC-TV:
Isn’t it amazing how quickly they can flip their switch when it serves their purposes?
OANN’s Rion noticed, too:
At the White House, I asked about Chinese Propaganda peddled by press in the White House…
WHCA members had a meltdown.
So they removed OAN from their little chair club.
China Propagandists Pheonix TV has a seat in WHCA's little chair club.https://t.co/jP7TqgToiG
— Chanel Rion OAN (@ChanelRion) April 7, 2020
There’s also a particular irony in Harwood claiming Trump is acting like an “authoritarian leader” because he doesn’t want questions from a “reporter” who is asking questions on behalf of a, you know, actual authoritarian leader.
Here’s CNN’s position in a nutshell: Liberally biased outlets like theirs and Chinese government propaganda outlets like Phoenix TV are legitimate news organizations (because they’re almost one in the same), but conservatively biased outlets that don’t treat Trump like a dictator shouldn’t be allowed to join in their reindeer games.
Sound about right?