Washington Post Publishes Call for End to Live Broadcasts of Trump’s Coronavirus Briefings as Four New Polls Show Majority Approval for President’s Handling of Crisis

If you can’t beat him, censor him. The growing call within the journalism community to stop live broadcasts of President Trump’s daily COVID-19 Chinese coronavirus briefings got a major boost Saturday with the publication of a column by the Washington Post’s media columnist Margaret Sullivan. Prior to her joining the Post in 2016, Sullivan was the Public Editor for the New York Times from 2012 to 2016.

Grandstanding NBC News White House reporter Peter Alexander reacts as President Trump excoriates him for asking if he was giving Americans false hope and then followed up by asking Trump if had a message for scared Americans during a coronavirus task force briefing, March 20, screen image.

The calls to censor Trump are coming as four polls released late this week show a majority of American approve his handling of the coronavirus.

ABC News/ Ipsos: 53 percent approval. Harris Poll: 53 percent approval. Morning Consult: 53 percent approval. Survey USA: 51 percent approval.

Among other rationales to censor the President, Sullivan claims Trump is using the press briefings as a substitute for his campaign rallies.

Post headline and excerpt:

The media must stop live-broadcasting Trump’s dangerous, destructive coronavirus briefings

More and more each day, President Trump is using his daily briefings as a substitute for the campaign rallies that have been forced into extinction by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

These White House sessions — ostensibly meant to give the public critical and truthful information about this frightening crisis — are in fact working against that end.

Rather, they have become a daily stage for Trump to play his greatest hits to captive audience members. They come in search of life-or-death information, but here’s what they get from him instead:

● Self-aggrandizement. When asked how he would grade his response to the crisis, the president said, “I’d rate it a 10.” Absurd on its face, of course, but effective enough as blatant propaganda

● Media-bashing. When NBC News’s Peter Alexander lobbed him a softball question in Friday’s briefing — “What do you say to Americans who are scared?” — Trump went on a bizarre attack. “I say, you’re a terrible reporter,” the president said, launching into one of his trademark “fake news” rants bashing Alexander’s employer. (Meanwhile, he has also found time during these news briefings to lavish praise on sycophantic pro-Trump media like One America News Network, whose staffer — I can’t call her a reporter — invited him to justify his xenophobic talk of a “Chinese virus” by asking rhetorically if he considers the phrase “Chinese food” racist.)

…But Trump has proved, time after time, that he doesn’t care about truth, that he puts his financial and political self-interest above that of the public, and that he has no understanding of the role of the press in a democracy. And now lives are on the line.

The news media, at this dangerous and unprecedented moment in world history, must put the highest priority on getting truthful information to the public.

Taking Trump’s press conferences as a live feed works against that core purpose.

The saying in America used to be the solution to speech you don’t agree with is more speech.


The media’s solution to their disagreements with Trump is barring the American people directly from the President of the United States in a time of national crisis. Partly because reporters are making spectacles of themselves with their unprofessional behavior in the briefings.

President Trump, like all presidents, misspeaks and gets things wrong. Like all presidents he is held accountable. Unlike most presidents, Trump gives his daily briefings surrounded by experts who are free to correct any serious misstatements of medical facts on the spot. President Trump has opinions and he is not afraid to voice them. His optimism turned out be misplaced but he has also been trying to calm the public and the markets. So far, the public has been more calm, despite the daily barrage of end-times hysteria from the same media trying to silence Trump. Unfortunately, the markets have not been as calm.

The public gets it. President Trump is working hard to deal with the virus. His message is America will triumph over this virus. He has surrounded himself with experts who represent the best in America. The public sees that, and the media can’t stand that.

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