President Donald Trump speaks during press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Very little happens in political Washington in a vacuum. It is the one place in the United States where the cause and effect are so directly linked that the phrase “correlation is not causation” is practically meaningless. The Wuhan virus crisis has brought this into stark relief.
Late last week, a series of polls were published that showed a dramatic increase in President Trump’s approval rate for the handling of the Wuhan virus crisis and just about everything else associated with it.
Trump's Approval Rating
Handling COVID: 56%
Stimulating jobs: 60%
The economy: 60%
Fighting terrorism 58%
Foriegn affairs: 52%
Administrating the government: 51%https://t.co/xLRxtvgAf9 pic.twitter.com/YhZjcPldmc
— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) March 20, 2020
While this is, granted, ephemeral and a mere snapshot in time, it is a sign that something President Trump is doing is working and, thanks to the media, we know what that is.
In the space of about 24-hours after the release of the latest and most authoritative of the approval polls,
— Herman Cain (@THEHermanCain) March 20, 2020
we started seeing articles like this from the Washington Post:
Trump is doing harm and spreading misinformation while working for his own partisan political benefit — a naked attempt to portray himself as a wartime president bravely leading the nation through a tumultuous time, the FDR of the 21st century.
The press — if it defines its purpose as getting truthful, useful, non-harmful information to the public, as opposed to merely juicing its own ratings and profits — must recognize what is happening and adjust accordingly. (And that, granted, is a very big “if.”)
Business as usual simply doesn’t cut it. Minor accommodations, like fact-checking the president’s statements afterward, don’t go nearly far enough to counter the serious damage this man is doing to the public’s well-being.
Radical change is necessary: The cable networks and other news organizations that are taking the president’s briefings as live feeds should stop doing so.
From the ever lovely and gracious Rachel Maddow:
Maddow: If Trump is going to keep lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should, all of us, stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it's going to cost lives. pic.twitter.com/tMvyrE3YTK
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) March 21, 2020
I know we ought to be getting used to this kind of thing by now, but I’m not. President Trump today, again, just flat-out wrong in public about this malaria drug that has gotten stuck in his mind, quite some distance from the facts.
If the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape but if he keeps lying like this every day on stuff this important, all of us should stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it’s gonna cost lives.
A columnist at the left-leaning The Hill writes:
The Trump administration’s most recent press briefings on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been downright frightening, even more so than usual.
Even with two doctors present — Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, who have injected some semblance of stability, reassurance and truth — President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s performance Friday was nothing less than despicable.
These have not been White House press conferences; they are three-ring circuses with Trump as the deranged ringmaster.
Enough is enough. Americans deserve so much better than what this president offers every time he approaches the podium.
He needs to give up the daily press briefings and let the experts take control so that they can use these press conferences to reassure Americans in our time of distress and not cause more fear when we need it least.
In addition, to demanding that media outlets stop giving President Trump’s Wuhan virus briefings live coverage (this is a rather stunning proposal for the same clowns who beshat themselves when the White House stopped doing live daily press briefings), they are also engaged in a conscious campaign of disinformation about what President Trump actually says. RedState’s Nick Arama covered this in detail yesterday in Media Post Misleading Info to Dash Hopes for Possible Drug Cure Which Trump Touted. This morning NeverTrumper and Devin Nunes nemesis Liz Mair was out with the same line:
Chloroquine seems like it *might* work in some cases. Z-pac is for INFECTIONS not viruses. It’s also not great for full-on pneumonia, only walking pneumonia and sinus infections. Stop spreading fake news that will deplete antibiotic supply, build antibiotic immunity and not help. https://t.co/0Y8CFni12L
— Liz Mair (@LizMair) March 21, 2020
Never mind that the information comes from a medical journal and is based on a small scale clinical trial:
“Despite its small sample size our survey shows that hydroxychloroquine treatment is significantly associated with viral load reduction/disappearance in COVID-19 patients and its effect is reinforced by azithromycin.” pic.twitter.com/UWzPBQEbHV
— Meaghan Mobbs (@Mobbs_Mentality) March 21, 2020
This sudden concern has zero to do with public health or any concern about the safety of Americans. The press, quite honestly, seems incapable of developing any empathy whatsoever for working Americans who live outside of elite liberal enclaves where the major fear now is the family’s nanny being deported. It has everything to do with the press conferences showing Trump in command in a decisive way, with him and his staff announcing data and actions directly to the American public without Glenn Kessler and Politifact injecting Democrat spin; it has to do with Trump coming across as a real individual and not the caricature the left, the media, and their NeverTrump fluffers have made him out to be. He is not, as Mike Ford points out, a stellar communicator in the technical sense. Were he at the Infantry School, he’d never be allowed within a country mile of a podium to present a formal block of instruction. But he gets the job done and the American people are growing to appreciate his candor and forthrightness. And the media and the left simply cannot allow that to happen because if this takes hold, not only will Trump cruise to reelection, he will be a force to be reckoned with in his next term.