Listen now | Criminal neglect
That press conference may have just revealed how much damage the last presidency managed to do the media itself. This group of people are professionally broken.
WaPo reports the number of times Biden referred to the former guy in his recent presser; writes a front page story about fundraising the former guy is doing for Rs running for various offices. Why is the press still reporting on this man and his ugliness? Addiction? Eric, you are absolutely right. Great piece. Trump’s myriad covid failures have been astonishingly yet predictably deadly. Takes my breath away. If the press wants to report about scandals, this is the one they’re failing us on. Btw, Eric, you were great on The Sunday Show. Happy to see you on tv fighting the good fight with grace and blunt talk.
Eric you got to the heart of the things in the discussion on Capehart’s show when you said that the problem is “the DC press looking at the news through the prism of the GOP”. That is the root of what is wrong in my opinion. For years Republicans have top people like Frank Luntz who understand the science of how humans communicate and comprehend things and how to manipulate our perceptions. Republicans always working to frame discussions on their terms because they know that is how to manipulate how we understand issues and what we think is important. This article from 2003 is a very good description of framing and of the propaganda machine Republicans have built over decades.
What the media should be doing is asking questions from from the perspective of the public, not Republicans. They should take a step back and think about what the general public needs and wants to hear from our government, not about what people who are immersed in politics are interested in hearing. You can bet that the vast majority of Americans are not nearly as concerned about immigration as they are about getting past the destruction of COVID. Understandably Republicans don’t want the focus on our top crisis. Unfortunately they have manipulated the media into adopting their frame by hyping the long running border issue.
It is mind boggling to me that there were no questions about the ongoing threat from COVID and the spread of much more infectious variants. From the number of people I saw cramming the streets in my city this weekend I would bet that Americans don’t know that infections are again starting back not only in Europe but also here.
Donald Trump has always been about overpromising and under-delivering. This has been his whole life. Any success he's had has been because other people around him did the work if they were able to away from his interference. In the White House, he surrounded himself with a sickening cadre of yes-people that had no guts to do the right thing even when on their own to make decisions.
If it makes any fans of the world's greatest political press feel better, the latter would be all over a Democratic POTUS if they responded to the pandemic the way Trump did. Or less sarcastically yet worse: They know how to respond to how Trump, enabled by his loyal party and, well, said political press, failed but chose to ignore. Now they're not just demanding undeserved credit for Trump they continually downplay the benefits of three vaccines available.
But it's even worse than that.
Sometimes, the future is unbelievably obvious. When one delays acting and fails to take all necessary actions, the death rate gets maximized. Been obvious that that would be the endgame of Trump's response to the pandemic and we're damned if it wasn't as predicted.
In sum, the press' refusal and failure to call out Trump on his failings (other than playing the What outrageous thing did he say now? shtick, minimizing how disastrous his outrageous statements were) has been going on for well over a year.
Trump was literally a killer, his party and the mainstream political press were accomplices and takes some profound moral failing, a complete lack of human decency to ignore that.
The WaPo has an article up now about CNN’s interviews about the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic. This is the snarky headline “ Feuds, fibs and finger-pointing: Trump officials say coronavirus response was worse than known”. FIBS?? Talk about trivializing a disastrous response that cost hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths! I’m surprise the didn’t call the disagreements “spats”. Excusing idiotic headlines by saying that the reporters didn’t write them doesn’t wash. The WaPo editors need to be taken to the woodshed for repeatedly allowing these kinds of headlines. I just wish I knew how we can do that.
So far in reviewing the meager coverage by the beltway press of the CNN interviews I've seen plenty of reference to "not knowing anything about the stockpiles in January", and "starting from scratch". Nothing yet about the "Obama admin's pandemic playbook" the former administration was widely reported to have ignored or thrown out. Why isn't that part of the analysis of these interviews? What's the reason the press seems to want to give trump a pass and actively forget and ignore his neglect and active downplaying of the one crisis that will define the era? Where's the bleach?
Narcissism does not stop in front of the camera.
Our failed political press™ has become used to being the story, first by being bullied by the twice-impeached loser, and now by NOT being bullied by the current administration. The cries of anguish about not having an official President Biden press conference for some number of days are the same cries of anguish as the year that Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham held no briefings whatsoever.
I don’t think that there is any way to take the beltway press seriously. I’d say that they are like children, but I think their drama is more like middle-schoolers acting out.
"Is it possible the press doesn't want to accurately label Trump a stone-cold Covid killer because they're anxious for his return to the political stage?" Unfortunately that seems to be the case and it's terrifying. Proves the beltway media has become just as toxic as Trump and his Republican enablers. They need to decide if the higher ratings they get from obsessively covering Trump is worth the damage it's doing to our democracy.
Trump’s negligence cost the US 500,000+ lives, limiting the “credit” or blame he should get to only 400,000 lives lost is a gross understatement IMO. He he not eliminated the pandemic response team before COVID hit, the whole response could have been different. But not only did eliminate the response team, he actively undermined any and all response that could have helped keep numbers down. Does Trump deserve credit for his COVID response? If by “credit” you actually mean blame, then you bet your ass!
It would create a terrible dilemma for the press if they or anyone started holding Republicans accountable for their actions. Where would it stop, given the history of the last few decades from Reagan on?
Thank you Eric. If I hear one more outlet say that the midterms are already basically 'lost' to the Rs, I am going to tear my hair out! BTW, I thought you were very polite on that show yesterday...more than I would have been!
But "Dr." Deborah Birx got attention for suggesting something similar. Of course, to report on this, the members of the DC political media brothel would have to do something they abhor: Research and think. It's so much easier just to be hundredth-of-a-cent streetwalkers.
Oh my gosh Eric, you have written exactly how I have been feeling about his stunning neglect over the biggest health crisis this country has dealt with in 100 years. It's shocking and criminal in its breadth and scope. He created a situation through deliberate mis information that directly led to people dying. My anger leads me to tears. He should be jailed. The press should be pinning the deaths on him, his administration, and throw his criminal family in for good measure. Good grief, could the man be a worse human?
Eric, another great column. And, you wrote parenthetically: "(Former White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx made news recently when she said U.S. Covid deaths could have been “decreased” after the first 100,000 fatalities, but Birx news coverage ignored the Atkeson findings.)"
RIGHT...?!? Unbelievable. And, as we all well know, Dr. Birx needs to be treated with some skepticism because she was playing both sides during her time with the Trump Administration — and that erodes trust and confidence tremendously.
I did a search and I found ONE piece that not only discussed the research but also implicated Trump in the headline (all the others were way too 'softball'): it was from MSNBC. Although, not an article, but a clip featured on All In With Chris Hayes:
Enjoyed your appearance on The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart — who, btw, I think is doing a terrific job. You were absolutely telling it like it is and totally calling out the press, as should have been done. BUT, ha ha ha, they also booked Yamiche Alcindor, who I do like very much, but who was one of the people who asked a damn border question (granted, yes, her second question was on a different subject) — and the look on her face when you were excoriating the media was priceless! I could just feel the, um, consternation coming out of the TV, could you while you were on-air? I'm almost surprised that Jonathan didn't put it down to a duel. But good that Margaret Sullivan backed you up on your assertions.
Another thing on Yamiche: she was trying to defend why an "in-person Presidential press conference" was important, and overdue, yet she forgets that a week or two into Biden's Presidency, there was a press conference held after he made some announcement at a research or pharmaceutical facility, and she was there, and SHE asked a few questions. He took questions, if memory serves, from six different reporters, and one of them asked FOUR questions! And, then, of course, how about the CNN Town Hall..?? But, these reporters have short memories in favor of sensationalizing things or making themselves self-important.
I realize this comment is now approaching the length of War & Peace (sorry!), but, Eric, one thing I just don't get. There are like, what, 25 or 30 press from Washington, around the country, around the world at these press conferences. And Biden picks only 6 or 7 of 'em, each one asks, 2, 3, even 4 questions. WHY...?!? Everyone should only be able to ask ONE question. They get their one chance — and then let more reporters have an opportunity to ask an intelligent question (or put their foot in their mouth!). I suppose this could be seen as the fault of Kate Bedingfield and/or Jen Psaki, however. Perhaps they should set ground rules that reporters get only one question and MAYBE one follow-up on the same subject, and that's it. Or is this just the way it's done? Biden did joke about it when (ironically) MSNBC's Kristen Welker wanted to ask her 3rd follow-up question and he retorted, "You only got another hour now, ok?"
Thank you for telling it like it is. Literally, hundreds of thousands Americans did not have to die.