U.S. President Donald Trump holds press briefings for what he calls FAKE NEWS. When he does, he often chastises one or more journalists for the type of questions they ask. Then, journalists often write articles complaining about this ill-treatment of their profession by the president.
For example, CNN’s Editor-in-large Chris Cillizza just wrote an op-ed entitled, “Here’s the biggest thing Donald Trump doesn’t get about the media.” Chris then relates the incident that occurred at yesterday’s briefing in which Fox News reporter Kristen Fisher asked President Trump concerning the HORRID covid-19 pandemic, “When can hospitals expect to receive a quick turnaround on these text results” for covid-19?
Mind you, this was a Fox News reporter, and Fox News is President Trump’s favorite news channel that he supposedly watches a lot and gives interviews to a lot and thus not much to other networks. And just about everybody thinks that was a very legitimate question.
But President Trump replied with disdain by saying to Kris Fisher, “You should say congratulation, great job, instead of being so HORRID [my emphasis] in the way you ask a question.” The reason it was a perfectly legitimate question is that hospitals are having to wait extraordinarily lengthy times, even several days, in order to get back test results performed on patients from laboratories. In the meantime, if those patients have the coronavirus, that may compromise their health leading to death. The labs are taking so long to analyze the tests because this pandemic has overwhelmed them.
So, editor Chris Cillizza asks of Trump, “why did he react the way he did? He’s demonstrated this repeatedly–on some of the biggest stages in the world.”Cillizza then relates an incident in which President Trump was with China’s President Jinping Xi in 2018. Trump said of Xi, “He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.” The American press then criticized Trump for saying this, and he replied by saying he was only joking. Yeah, sure! A biblical proverb reads, “Like a maniac who shoots deadly firebrand arrows, so is one who deceives a neighbor and says, ‘I am only joking!'” (Proverbs 26.18-19 NRSV).
Cillizza again relates that when President Trump attended the G20 meetings in Japan last year, he did a photo-op with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and the press was asking Trump questions. Trump then said to Putin, “Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia.”
Cillizza also reports that when Trump was with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last November, Trump said to the press, “a friendly reporter from Turkey, please Only friendly reporters we like to see. There aren’t too many of them around.”
Cillizza therefore concludes, “Trump doesn’t seem to grasp–or, more worryingly, doesn’t care–about the difference between how the press should function in an authoritarian state. He likes how authoritarian rulers are ‘covered’ by their media because it is so favorable.”
That’s putting it too kindly. (But he has to do that due to his job.) NO! Trump doesn’t believe in our form of government. (See “Does President Trump Believe in Our Democracy?“) So, it’s not that he doesn’t get it–doesn’t understand our democracy and thus our freedom of the press. No, he DOES GET IT. The truth is that he is TRYING TO CHANGE IT. Thus, he needs to be stopped. It’s not that the media is FAKE NEWS as he calls it. It’s that he is a FAKE PRESIDENT, and his miserable mishandling of this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is proving it!