by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
For years, the media complained that President Donald Trump wasn’t holding enough press conferences. Now, as the media’s poor performance in his daily coronavirus press conferences is on worldwide display, they’re begging him to leave his own press conferences, and leave them alone to craft their anti-Trump storylines.
When March polls showed Trump receiving unusually high marks for his handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, and the media receiving their traditionally low marks for it, many journalists began pushing for censorship of the press conferences. While many outlets tried this approach, it obviously failed with viewers who turned to other outlets for the news they sought.
The media, however, continued to be mocked for the prevalence of silly and unserious questions from reporters who clearly think they come off better outside their echo chambers than they do.
In an attempt to regain control, the media have shifted to a new approach. Trump’s daily press conferences with updates on the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic are actually bad for him, yeah that’s the ticket! …
… Those who virulently loathe him, such as those in the media, would not give Trump positive ratings even if their lives depended upon it. Others support him seemingly no matter what he does. But those outside those extremes are able to balance competing thoughts. They can approve of virus suppression attempts while not thinking it should go on perpetually, as the media are pushing for. They can support initial efforts while getting annoyed and losing patience with Trump bending the knee to Coronavirus concerns at the expense of all other concerns. …
… It is rather absurd on its face to suggest that the president of the United States should not be managing his own press conferences no matter the situation. But in a situation that marries public health, economic, and media crises, it’s even more absurd.
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