Every pandemic has a silver lining. In this one, we have finally determined without any doubt that regular White House press briefings no longer serve any useful purpose and should never be resumed.
The current gathered press is entirely unworthy of them.
The Fourth Estate has become a useless appendage on the republic. A useless appendage filled with self-serving, cancerous pus.
“Enemy of the People,” you might call them.
While generously patting themselves on the back, navel-gazers in the national political media today often talk about how they are on the “front row of history” and how they are charged with “writing the first draft of history.”
They are — if nothing — modest.
The truth is that many of them are so steeped in their own stupidity and so deeply hidebound by their own prejudices that they cannot be relied upon to accurately report the time of day. They are so enthralled by the scent of power that they could not even reliably report if it is day or night.
During President Obama’s administration, they swooned like damsels in love.
Under President Trump, they get vapors, hyperventilate and keel over like a herd of fainting goats.
They are incensed that the White House has scrapped the daily press briefings where self-styled “reporters” gather in the James Brady Briefing Room and pepper the White House spokesman with hostile questions.
To varying degrees, the White House spokesman would respond by giving answers of varying degrees of veracity.
It is utterly inexplicable that any actual reporter could be anything less than thrilled to have — instead of useless daily White House briefings — the actual president of the United States standing in for his spokesman to deliver the news unfiltered.
Why not just cut out the middle man?
These daily jousting sessions between President Trump and the press expose just how far out of their depth these “reporters” are when confronted with the actual president, rather than some lower-level designate.
Covering the White House or Congress or presidential campaigns is not the “front row of history” or writing the “first draft of history.”
Actually, it is a responsibility. A responsibility to ask smart, tough questions on behalf of the millions of Americans who do not get that opportunity yet have the responsibility to be informed so that they can make good decisions during elections.
Yet, this is what the American citizen gets from the preening White House press corps:
“At least one White House official used the term ‘Kung flu,’ referring to the fact that this virus started in China,” a reporter asked President Trump as the American economy collapsed in the face of a global pandemic.
“Is that acceptable? Is it wrong?” she pressed.
The greatest republic on earth is brought to her knees, a third of American market wealth is wiped out and all this reporter wants to do is register how offended she is by what somebody supposedly called the pandemic.
It quickly turned out, of course, that the reporter had no idea who used the term “Kung flu.” Nor could she even establish that this mystery “official” had actually even used the term.
But, whatever. The president succeeded in making her repeat the term “Kung flu” twice more on national television. Talk about insensitive!
Needless to say, when President Trump lashes back at the constant goading and the endless trivializing of serious situations, the press goes bonkers.
Recently, a reporter demanded to know if Mr. Trump was peddling a “false sense of hope” — a truly delicious irony given the crack den of freebasing “hope” that the Washington press corps became under President Obama.
Mr. Trump responded thusly: “I say you’re a terrible reporter.”
So much for falsity or unfounded hope. The press reaction to Mr. Trump’s retort was even more unhinged than it was over his response to the “Kung flu” question.
Nothing gets the White House press’ knickers in a bunch like protecting their own honor.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @charleshurt on Twitter.
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