On Monday, Donald Trump announced the return of his daily coronavirus briefings in the most Trumpian way possible, bragging about how good they were ratings. Trump told reporters during an Oval Office photo op:
“Well, we had a very successful briefings. I was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching in the history of cable television — television, there’s never been anything like it. And we were doing very well, and I thought it would be sort of, automatic and a lot of positive things were happening and frankly, a lot of the country is doing well.”
Recall, he discontinued these briefings in April amid widespread criticism after publicly musing about possibly injecting disinfectant into the body to treat coronavirus. And with his poll numbers in free fall and 6 in 10 Americans disapprove of the way he is handling the pandemic, it would not be a stretch to assume that he’s thinking there’s nothing to lose from this.
While he may be right on that point where his base is concerned, the remaining 60-65% of Americans have a lot to lose, mainly our sanity. So, we are counting on the media to filter out the Trump crazy and give the people the facts.
Fool me once
Even though Donald Trump stopped the daily coronavirus briefings in April, there is no evidence to indicate that his rhetoric on the virus has changed since then. Just this weekend, he continued to downplay the severity of the virus, telling Fox News’ Chris Wallace that the new coronavirus cases are just “sniffles” and the virus will eventually disappear. as the old adage goes, ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.’ Media outlets should not broadcast these rambling, stream-of-consciousness, more-than-hourlong sessions that Trump uses to air his grievances and spread disinformation.
Instead of broadcasting Trump’s comments unfiltered to a nation in crisis, the various media outlets should just broadcast the question and answer segment of these ‘briefings.’ We do not expect that Donald Trump will slip an explanation as to why there isn’t an adequate national testing strategy 5 months into the pandemic, between attacks on the Obama-Biden administration. We will only get information like that from a reporter asking questions. He also needs to answer for the deaths of over 140,000 Americans, most of which could have been prevented if his administration had acted sooner. Furthermore, his and other members of his administration attacks on Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, amid a surge in coronavirus cases should also be explained.
Equal time for Biden
If these networks can’t resist broadcasting Trump’s ‘press briefings’ because they are good for business. Then, a team of fact-checkers should be ready to fact check Trump’s lies live, do not wait until after he is done and people have already disengaged.
Also, Democrats should demand that Joe Biden be given equal time daily, immediately after Trump’s press briefings to also fact check Trump’s claims and provide his version of daily coronavirus briefs. After all, the American people trust him more than Donald Trump to deal with the pandemic, the least these networks can do is give the American people a chance to see why Biden deserves their trust because his approval for handling the virus at this point is simply because he’s the ‘other guy’, who didn’t tell us to inject ourselves with disinfectant.
If networks broadcast Trump live, give Biden equal time to prove that he can do a better job.