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Wed Mar 25, 2020, 09:47 PM

How reporters should handle Trump's press briefings - Karen Tumulty

In the interest of protecting the nation’s health, it is time to socially distance ourselves from the crazy things that President Trump keeps saying. I’ve been an enthusiastic advocate of bringing back the daily White House briefings, which Trump’s team had basically quit holding some time around the middle of 2018. So I am relieved to see they have resumed and hope they will continue once the coronavirus crisis has passed. But not the way they are being conducted now, which is as a substitute for the rallies Trump can no longer hold.

As a former White House reporter myself, I respect, in principle, that everything a president says is news. When he speaks, journalists must take note. Those on the social media sidelines who urge that news organizations boycott the briefing room are simply wrong. The real question is how to report what a president says when it is disconnected from reality.

During these daily briefings, Trump has lied that the virus is “something that we have tremendous control over.” He has promoted an unproven drug treatment for combating the infection. He rewrites the history of the epidemic to make his own performance look better (“I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic”). He erupts at individual journalists (“You’re a terrible reporter”). He plays the victim (“It costs me billions and billions of dollars to be president”). In other words, the briefing has become a sort of live-action version of Trump’s Twitter feed. He is spreading misinformation that could actually put people’s lives in danger.

So the first thing that should happen is this: The networks, with the exception of C-SPAN, should quit carrying the briefings live. On Monday night, nearly all of them went halfway there and cut away when the session began running off the rails. Only Fox News carried the whole thing. Let’s all hit the pause button and make sure that what we give our readers and viewers is the whole story. This is something two former White House press secretaries — Mike McCurry, who held the job under Democrat Bill Clinton, and Ari Fleischer, who did it under Republican George W. Bush — recommended all the way back in 2017.

They wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review: “If the briefing is ‘embargoed’ until its conclusion, it will become just one of several raw ingredients that journalists can use to prepare their reports on the work of the president and the White House. It would instantly become a toned-down briefing, and reporters would use the information from the briefing and test it against other sources as they prepare coverage.”

(snip)

Finally, journalists should give up thinking that there is anything to be accomplished by confronting Trump on his dissembling or that he will ever admit to making a mistake. “Accountability IS a legitimate aim, but only a politician with a sense of shame can be held accountable by tough questions,” press critic Jay Rosen tweeted a few days ago: “People who think that confronting Donald Trump more forcefully with facts he cannot deny will produce some kind of accountability must never have lived with a malignant narcissist. You can’t stop Trump from acting like Trump. But never has it been more crucial for the media to limit the damage he leaves in his wake.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/24/its-time-socially-distance-real-journalism-trump








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Reply How reporters should handle Trump's press briefings - Karen Tumulty (Original post)
question everything Wednesday OP
elleng Wednesday #1
I_UndergroundPanther Wednesday #2
world wide wally Thursday #3

Response to question everything (Original post)

Wed Mar 25, 2020, 09:59 PM

1. The networks, with the exception of C-SPAN, should quit carrying the briefings live.

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Response to question everything (Original post)

Wed Mar 25, 2020, 10:29 PM

2. Shameless narcissists

Will never change.

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Response to question everything (Original post)

Thu Mar 26, 2020, 10:22 AM

3. This is certainly a unique problem in American history.

We have a President (the same job held by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln) that has left us with no choice but to take his toys away because he keeps hitting other kids with them.
This is actually what the idiots in America want as their leader?

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