President Trump’s unfiltered daily press briefings continue to get under the skin of the legacy media.
Michelle Cottle of the New York Times editorial board is the latest to urge her peers in the media to “Drop the Curtain on the Trump Follies.”
“Why does the nation need to be subjected to the president’s daily carnival of misinformation, preening and political preening?” the subhead on Ms. Cottle’s piece asks.
Nobody is “subjected” to the president’s briefings. It’s still a free country, Ms. Cottle. You can flip the channel, read or do something else. I for one, however, am a huge fan of the briefings. I wouldn’t miss one for the world.
Here is how Cottle sees the briefings:
Even as the Trump administration slowly finds its footing in the war against Covid-19, one high-profile element of its response remains stubbornly awful: President Trump’s performance in the daily news briefings on the pandemic.
Early on, Mr. Trump discovered that he could use the briefings to satisfy his need for everything to be all about him. As the death toll rises, that imperative has not changed.
Most nights, he comes before an uneasy public, typically for an hour or more, to spew a thick fog of self-congratulation, political attacks, misinformation and nonsense.
If President Trump is such a buffoon, wouldn’t the media do well to showcase it? Doesn’t the public deserve to see what kind of man is leading us? However, I suspect many Americans don’t see the briefings in quite the same way Ms. Cottle does. Indeed, I suspect Ms. Cottle and her peers recognize that many viewers find the briefings valuable.
The most important aspect of the briefings is that they are full of information. Yesterday’s briefing, for example, provided a first-hand look at President Trump’s thinking on U.S. funding for the U.N.’s World Health Organization, which has covered for China, thus slowing the world’s response to the coronavirus.
Seeing the president as he speaks candidly about the WHO, and why he might freeze U.S. funding to the organization, is so much more informative than hearing an unhinged media hyperventilating on the horror of not kowtowing to the semi-useless WHO in the midst of a pandemic.
Moreover, if Ms. Cottle doesn’t find the briefings informative, she should ask herself whose fault that is. Trump makes himself and members of his coronavirus taskforce available to answer any questions the press asks. They can ask about the U.S. death rate, what models were used to predict the course of the virus, and why New York had so few ventilators on hand.
Instead, with a few exceptions, they daily unleash a barrage of questions directed at eliciting answers from the president that put him in a bad light. That seems to be the only thing they care about achieving. Mostly, they are ineffective, unless you tuned in planning to hate the president no matter what.
The president is a showman. That makes the briefings interesting. Rick Moran has called them “one of the most popular shows on cable news.” The press hates this. Further proving that disparaging Trump is more important than ratings, they want to cancel the popular briefings rather than letting the president communicate with the public.
President Trump does praise his administration’s response to the virus. He knows that this is a chance to go around the media, which is often more interested in fighting the president than the pandemic, and speak directly to the American public. That, of course, is what the media really hates.