President Donald Trump is under a lot of pressure to change the way he deals with the media, but he’s not interested.
At his coronavirus briefing Monday, Trump bashed the press for asking “hostile” questions instead of rallying behind a president in crisis, Mediaite reported. While Trump’s briefings have been mischaracterized as angry and misleading, Trump said that he has an obligation to push back against reporters looking to “[foment] tremendous anger” and divide the country.
Fomenting “a lot of anger”
For weeks, Democrats and their allies in the media have argued that President Trump bears most, if not all, of the blame for the devastation of the virus. The president has forcefully pushed back at coronavirus briefings.
In the media’s telling, Trump is thin-skinned and always looking for a scapegoat. But Trump said Monday that he feels compelled to fight back against “hostile” reporters, and that the media is responsible for “[fomenting] a lot of anger.”
“I do think that the press, the media, foments a lot of this — a lot of anger. I really believe it. It foments tremendous anger. For instance, I’ll be asked a tremendously hostile question from somebody, and then I’ll answer to — in a hostile way, which is appropriate; otherwise, you look foolish. Otherwise, it looks like just walk off the stage and bow your head. I can’t do that. You know, I just can’t do that.”
Trump also said that the country is “coming together” and that Democrats and Republicans are striking bipartisan agreements to help the American people, notwithstanding “nasty” Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). But he suggested that the media’s hostility is inappropriate and not helpful, since America is in a “war” and needs unity.
“But a lot of these questions that are asked from certain networks are so hostile, and there’s no reason for it. There’s no reason for it. We are in a war. This is a World War Two, this is a World War One — where, by the way, the war essentially ended because of a plague. That was one of the worst ever. They lost almost 100 million people. But we’re in a big war,” Trump said.
Trump keeps media propagandists on their toes
Of course, the president should be able to take criticism, especially during a crisis. But is all of that criticism warranted? And is the media troubled that the president is spreading “propaganda,” or that the president refuses to play along with their narrative?
In the media’s telling, it was the president who blew past warning signs and failed to respond aggressively to the virus early on. But Trump poked a hole in that narrative Monday, pointing out that Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was distracted with the “impeachment hoax” into February, and was even encouraging San Francisco residents well into that month to go to Chinatown.
Pelosi has glibly dismissed claims that she downplayed the virus, arguing that she was trying to dissuade stigma against Asian-Americans. She said that “everything is fine here.”
Curiously, the media hasn’t shown much interest in dissecting the timelines of Pelosi’s response to the virus, to say nothing of their own of course. It’s true that nobody saw the pandemic coming, but the impulse to blame it all on Trump is just partisan.
If Trump wants to push back, then more power to him.