President Trump fights the media narrative about his COVID-19 response
Usually, when we talk about “must-see” events, we’re describing sports, concerts, or blockbuster movies. With President Trump in the White House, though, a must-see event is a President Trump’s COVID-19 press conference.
On Monday, Trump took the press conference to a whole new level. He directly attacked the media’s effort to rewrite history with their false allegations that Trump, due to ineptitude and crude political calculations, failed to respond to the virus in a timely and efficient way, effectively killing Americans.
In the face of media lies and slander, George W. Bush, always the gentleman, would have said nothing. Trump, thank goodness, has no effete gentlemanly notions. If you slander him, he fights back.
Trump’s grand moment at the press conference began when he made irrefutable factual statements about the facts on the ground and his responsive actions. He then showed a video that summed up his aggressive efforts responding to the virus, the way the media once downplayed the virus, and the grateful thanks Trump received from many governors, both Republican and Democrat, as they struggled with the virus in their states.
Trump’s performance was magnificent. In typical Trump fashion, he actually had two simultaneous narratives going. The dominant narrative was a straight factual recitation. This established that Trump responded aggressively to COVID-19, while cases were in the single digits, and before anyone had died. Meanwhile, the media and his political opponents (especially Biden) were slamming him for overreacting and being a racist.
Trump’s secondary narrative revealed itself in his frequent asides, which are the spoken equivalent of parentheticals and footnotes. Thus, after stating a fact, Trump often added editorial commentary. These were statements about the media’s gross dishonesty, about his presidency keeping media outlets alive, about how Biden attacked Trump for “xenophobia” when the latter slammed the door on China, and about the ghostwriter’s propping up Biden.
To leftists, this commentary is infuriating. They attack it relentlessly, calling it divisive, crude, unpresidential, gross, etc. For conservatives, though, it’s refreshing and invigorating to see a president following the Confucian model of “rectification of names.” That is, Trump is improving the political world before our eyes by speaking the truth, avoiding euphemism, and making words correspond with reality.
President Trump’s open (and necessary) challenge to the media narrative is too long to transcribe in this blog post. In any event, a transcript cannot capture his unique style, with the two-tiered narrative of both fact and commentary. You have to watch it for yourself:
Showing once again that they can dish it out but can’t take it, MSNBC and CNN cut away from the briefing. CNN’s John King, despite admitting that Trump was right about the dishonest criticism, nevertheless claimed that the president’s video exposing the media’s many lies was “propaganda”:
CNN's John King calls Trump's video that was just shown in the press briefing room, highlighting how the media downplayed the coronavirus and the steps he took early on in the pandemic, "propaganda": "It was cherry-picked." pic.twitter.com/vQG6bEjBFg— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) April 13, 2020
And here's MSNBC refusing to show the White House briefing:
MSNBC cuts coverage and Ari Melber says they won’t return to the press briefing until they actually start talking about the Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/zWqpFOVRtR— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 13, 2020
Both outlets seem to have lost sight of their traditional role, which is to relay to voters what the White House is saying even if those in the media disagree with it. In the past, the media rebutted material with which they disagreed. Nowadays, they indulge in totalitarian censorship.
When CNN finally returned to covering the briefing, whoever was writing chyrons used them, not to convey information, but to editorialize:
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) April 14, 2020
For decades, a left-leaning media has waged a war against Republican administrations. Reagan responded with wit and humor to some effect. George H. W. Bush responded with peevishness, which is not a good strategy. George W. Bush tried to rise above it all, which was a disastrous approach.
Trump’s strategy is different: He gives as good as he gets, bashing back at lies with truth, responding to insults with insults, and never, ever conceding an inch. He’s right too. Americans can decide their nation’s fate only if they clearly understand what’s happening, without an Orwellian institution “mediating” the “truth” for them.