President Trump’s daily briefings are helpful and necessary. What is no longer helpful or necessary, what has become a tedious exercise in dysfunction and mind-numbing repetition, is the Q&A session with the establishment media that follows the briefing.
Anyone who watches knows what I mean. The White House Press Corps are only interested in laying blame and in asking the same gotcha questions over and over and over. Worse still, too many of them are legitimately stupid. Whoever asked how sick a person has to get before the White House ships a ventilator shouldn’t be allowed outside without a minder and helmet.
The bottom line is this: If you are a concerned member of the public, the media Q&A seems designed to be unhelpful. For example, how many times must Trump be asked Why won’t you wear a face mask? (That this question comes from a room full of assholes not wearing face masks is especially rich) or How dare you hype these anti-malaria drugs! (that the FDA has approved as safe, that the FDA has approved for emergency use to fight coronavirus).
The fact that Trump has answered both questions countless times, and did so days and days ago, means the media are berating the president as opposed to looking to inform an increasingly stressed-out public.
Then there are the heckling and interruptions, which seem designed to ensure the public is not told certain things. For example…
Late last week, Dr. Deborah Birx had just started to lay out what the medical professionals knew and when they knew it. She mentioned that, as late as January 14, the World Health Organization assured everyone there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. She was about to say more when CNN staffer Jim Acosta started yelling about how awful Trump is, which forced Trump to intervene because he obviously doesn’t want Birx to appear in any way political.
I would have really liked to have heard Birx’s full statement. I still would.
No one has asked what the medical professionals knew and when they knew it. I find that remarkable.
There’s also the chasm between the corporate media and everyday Americans, ten million of whom have already lost their jobs during this economic shutdown.
The economic meteor that just hit our country in no way affects the national media, who remain employed. So we’re not getting any questions about the dire consequences of the economic fallout. In fact, every time Trump brings up the economic meteor, everyone in the media treats him like he’s a sociopath putting dollars above death; they all scream for more economic wreckage by way of a national shutdown, but…
No one asks why — at least for right now — New York City is a massive outlier and if that perhaps means we should not treat Montana like Manhattan?
Should we be treating rural Illinois like Chicago?
I’d like to know if anyone in the federal government is taking these anti-malaria pills as a prophylactic. (I’d also like to know if anyone in the media is, but that’s a different story.)
I could go on and on, but rather than complain, I’d like to offer a solution…
Trump obviously needs to cater to the fake news media to get them to cover the briefings. These monsters are already threatening to blacklist the briefings, and the monsters at CNN already have. He also needs the opportunity to counter their phony narratives, and do it in front of the country. That is all useful, so… How about this…?
One day a week — one measly day a week — after his usual briefing, Trump answers questions from a group of people outside the corporate media… Some outside thinkers… This can be done very easily digitally, and it should not just be Trump answering questions. Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, and others should all be there.
And I want to be clear that I’m not only talking about people from right-of-center media. While I am not here to nominate anyone, how about someone from The Intercept? How about someone from the trucking industry? How about a doctor or nurse? How about a store clerk? Someone who’s been unemployed? A local mayor?
Let me be clear on another point… This request of mine is not about sticking a finger in the eye of the fake media. No, this plea comes from a citizen who wants more answers, who wants to see the scope of the questioning open up, who would like to hear Dr. Birx finish her thoughts, and who knows there are good questions out there I have not thought of that need to be asked.
The simple fact is this… Because the corporate media — even as we reach 10,000 fatalities — do not have the humanity to end their feud with Trump. Because the corporate media cannot break from their provincialism and the lack of imagination that comes with it, because every corporate media staffer is terrified of asking an outside-the-box question that might result in their being socially ostracized and bullied, the country is not being served.
So for the sake of all of us, Mr. President, how about one day a week…?