Media melts down when faced with the truth
During Monday’s Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, President Trump played a video montage of live television coverage from ABC and NBC networks from January and February, in which journalists and officials downplayed the severity of the coronavirus. This video montage was taken from Fox News’s Sean Hannity, who originally played it on his show a few weeks prior.
The montage also included video footage of Trump at coronavirus press briefings, as well as footage of governors thanking Trump for his hard work and support amid the pandemic.
This montage was played in response to a New York Times article, which criticized Trump for not acting swiftly enough in either January or February to save American lives from the coronavirus.
Trump’s point was not only to call to attention the hypocrisy of the media but showcase all that he had done in response to the virus to save American lives, and display the support he had received from governors. Of course, instead of taking ownership, journalists in the room were quick to criticize the president, stating that the video looked like “a campaign ad.”
When asked why he felt the need to stand up there and do this, Trump responded: “To keep you honest.”
Other reporters, like CBS’s Paula Reid, tried to poke holes in the timeline presented by the video, claiming that Trump did nothing to prepare during the month of February.
His response to Reid was short: “You know you’re fake,” he said.
Though the montage didn’t include video of President Trump in February, as a journalist covering the coronavirus response, it can be assumed she already knew all the Trump Administration had done in February to help prepare for the virus.
However, here is what Reid was focused on in February:
And here is what Trump was doing:
More startling, however, were not only the non-reactions of the journalists in the room, but of CNN’s live coverage of the briefing, which cut out during the montage.
When the live coverage did finally continue, the headlines were as follows:
In response to the video, CNN’s Jim Acosta said: “These briefings have been compared to rallies because of the way the president plays loose and fast with facts. That is another way you can compare these briefings to a rally. That is the kind of video you would expect to see at one of his rallies at any arena or venue across the country.”
He also agreed that “it was good we cut out of [the briefing],” in reference to CNN’s refusal to play the video live on air. To CNN, this video was “propaganda.”
Much of the rhetoric surrounding yesterday’s press briefing centers on Trump’s “sensitivity” to “critique;” however, what NYT did with their article this weekend and what much of the media has done throughout Trump’s entire presidency is not merely “critique,” but a blatant refusal to report facts that may be flattering to Trump. Trump’s montage was not created because he had been critiqued, but was created because the facts had been misreported, the media in our country was peddling Chinese propaganda and op-eds were focused on slandering the president and his administration.
To reinforce this, here are some of the headlines from major media outlets throughout January and February:
Washington Post, January 31: The cognitive biases that make coronavirus seem scarier than it is
Washington Post, February 3: Perspective | Why we should be wary of an aggressive government response to coronavirus
New York Times, February 18: In Europe, Fear Spreads Faster Than the Coronavirus Itself
And in a piece published by CNN on February 21 titled. What’s spreading faster than coronavirus in the US? Racist assaults and ignorant attacks against Asians, CNN had this to say about the virus:
And let’s not forget that in March, NYT was still talking about impeachment.
New York Times, March 5: Opinion | Yes, Impeaching Trump Was Absolutely Worth It
Dr. Fauci also took to the podium to clarify that Trump has been acting on the advice of health professionals since January. So, what exactly has Trump not done? And more importantly, what has the media done?
It can be fair to say that the press briefing was uncomfortable, but Trump did not have a “meltdown” on the podium. His video was not “propaganda.” Trump simply took the time to address the media, to hold them accountable for their misreporting in recent months. We are lucky to have freedom of speech. CNN, NYT and other media outlets should not take this freedom for granted nor use it to spread propaganda.