Even this far into his term, it is still a bit of a shock to be reminded that the single most potent force for misinforming the American public is the current president of the United States. For three years this has been a massive — and unsolved — problem for the country and its political leadership.
But now it is life and death. On everything that involves the coronavirus Donald Trump’s public statements have been unreliable. And that is why today we announce that we are shifting our coverage of the President to an emergency setting.
This means we are exiting from the normal system for covering presidents— which Trump himself exited long ago by using the microphone we have handed him to spread thousands of false claims, even as he undermines trust in the presidency and the press. True: he is not obliged to answer our questions. But neither are we obligated to assist him in misinforming the American people about the spread of the virus, and what is actually being done by his government.
We take this action knowing we will be criticized for it by the President’s defenders, by some in journalism, and perhaps by some of you. And while it would be nice to have company as we change course, we anticipate that others in the news media will stick with the traditional approach to covering presidents.
This we cannot in good conscience do.
Switching to emergency mode means our coverage will look different and work in a different way, as we try to prevent the President from misinforming you through us. Here are the major changes:
* We will not cover live any speech, rally, or press conference involving the president. The risk of passing along bad information is too great. Instead, we will attend carefully to what he says. If we can independently verify any important news he announces we will bring that to you— after the verification step.
* We plan to suspend normal relations with the Trump White House. That means we won’t be attending briefings. (We can watch them on TV.) We won’t gather around him as he departs in his helicopter. We won’t join in any off-the-record “background” sessions with Administration officials. We won’t enter into agreements of any kind with the Trump team, which includes those nameless “senior advisers” who mysteriously show up in news stories.
* We have always tried to quote public officials accurately, including President Trump. In emergency mode we add a further check. In addition to, “does this fairly represent what he said?” we will ask: is what he said something we should be amplifying? If it is simply meant to demonize a group of people, rewrite a history that now embarrasses the President, or extend his hate campaign against journalists who are doing their job, we may decide not to amplify it, even though it happened. An old tenet of White House reporting states that what the president says makes news— automatically, as it were. Today we are disabling that autoplay system and replacing it with a manual one.
* In general, we will be shifting the focus of our coverage from what President Trump is saying to what his government is doing. We will be de-emphasizing the entire White House beat and adding people who can penetrate the bureaucracy from the rim, rather than the center of the distortion machine.
* Experience has taught us that there will occasionally be times when the President makes a demonstrably false claim, or floats a poisonous lie, and it is too consequential to ignore. We feel we have to tell you about it, even at the risk of amplifying his deceptions. In those special cases, we will adopt a news writing formula that has been called the “truth sandwich.” It is a more careful way of reporting newsworthy falsehoods. First you state what is true. Then you report the false statement. Then you repeat what is true. Like so:
In January and February, President Trump minimized the danger of the coronavirus. “We have it totally under control,” he said on Jan. 22. But two days ago he tried to erase that fact and escape accountability for his prior statements. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic,” he said. If we judge by his public statements this is an outright lie. On Feb. 27, at a White House meeting he said: “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
Refusing to go with live coverage. Suspending normal relations with his White House. Always asking: is this something we should amplify? A focus on what he’s doing, not on what he’s saying. The truth sandwich when we feel we have to highlight his false claims. This is what you can expect now that our coverage has been switched to an emergency setting.
One more thing. Because we don’t know that we have done this right, and because your confidence in us describes the limits of what we can achieve as journalists, we will be hiring immediately a public editor who is empowered to field complaints, decide if something went wrong, find out how it happened, and report back.
Early in President Trump’s term, Marty Baron, the editor of the Washington Post, spoke these memorable words about the President’s “enemy of the people” rhetoric: “We’re not at war, we’re at work,” said Baron. This was a smart warning not to get caught up in bringing down a president.
Today we are recognizing that our journalism must shift, not to a “war” but to an emergency footing. (Donald Trump, meanwhile, is calling himself a “wartime president.”) We feel we cannot keep telling wild and “newsy” stories about the unreliable narrator who somehow became president. Not with millions of lives at stake. We have to exit from that system to keep faith with you, and with the reason we became journalists in the first place.
I need to clarify what kind of text this is. I am not a news organization with a White House press pass. I am a journalism professor and writer who is also a press critic. Since 2015, I have written a lot about the problem of covering Donald Trump. This post is a further elaboration of that work. It is written in the voice of an editor’s note “announcing” a new policy. But I am not a news executive in a company of journalists, and I don’t want to give the impression that a national news organization has made this shift. As far as I know that has yet to happen.
Prof. Rosen is right. The WH briefings on Covid-19 have degenerated into mini-hate rallies as the experts fade out. Where is Dr. Fauci?
Just saw him on MSNBC, so he’s okay.
Not any more – I was so hopeful Dr. Fauci would be the light in the administration, but last night on CNN he blew it: He refused to acknowledge the lies the President made at yesterday’s press conference. So disappointed.
Did you not just read this article? It is NOT beneficial for Dr. Fauci to “acknowledge” or amplify Trump’s lies. Why would he anyway?
I believe he means Trump will remove Dr. Fauci from speaking because he wouldn’t confirm what were knowingly lies.
Good one, Gail. I’ve thought this all along, before it was even seriously thought of as it is in the good Professor’s take on the issue .
If Fauci didn’t act the way he is acting, Trump would replace him with someone more amenable to toadyism. Dr. Fauci is walking a tightrope and I think he’s doing a great job. Remember, not many people can do their job, tell the truth, and still placate someone who has severe mental health problems.
Not acknowledge……”point out” was the intent of that comment
Because he took an oath to do no harm as a doctor and has failed that with his complacency/complicity. Let Trump replace him. And replace the next honest doctor. And the next. We’re done with complicity. Or we should be.
Probably threatened by the president. That wouldn’t surprise me. We already know that Trump has to be number one. He cannot let anyone else be smarter or take credit for anything
It occurs to me that Dr Fauci feels the need to hope we citizens can see through the bs he must perform in order to keep what factual information coming our way that he can. In other words, he is knowingly demeaning himself in order to bring us facts.
This is not the right thing to do. Let people listen to the President and decide for themselves. Or is that what you’re worried about? Journalism is dead. Shame on the MSM
Yes. That is very disappointing. I can only say that he is afraid of trumpty-dumbty calling him a name and firing him, shortly after.
You don’t get to be in Dr. Fauci’s role without being able to act in this manner. The good doctor actively and clearly contradicted Trump’s use of “very effective” for chloroquine within 30 secs. So smoothly, thar Potus nodded when Fauci said it. Thank goodness we have Dr. Fauci.
Paul what were you saying about “chloroquine”
Dr. Fauci is just trying to keep his job. He gas countered Trump so many times I am happily surprised he is still on the staff.
I’d rather he does what he needs to do to stay in the loop. We’re better off with him there than out.
Amen. Very disappointed. He knows the truth. Trump knows the Doctor knows the truth. How can Dr. Anthony stand and listen to the lies.
He has to weigh things very carefully, or he’ll get booted out completely. It’s sort of like pick your battles
Professor Rosen is right, has been right the whole time. But the press/media will completely disregard this. They absolutely love Trump, even the ones who are on cable every night condemning him. Trump gives them hot content every day. Dana Bash is an earlier indicator of how they are going to play this. Trump, reformed by crisis, becomes the Great Leader. Remember, these are the same people who were comparing George W Bush to Winston Churchill
I think the mainstream press should no longer attend Trump press conferences. Let him and those co-opted by this criminal, lying administration talk to Fox News and all their media operatives.
Long Overdue!!! Media coverage is complicit in helping an unfit carnival barker damage his country and perhaps imperil survival of the species, with no goal beyond his own vanity.
“You’re” is a contraction for “You are.”
If you must insult someone do it effectively with appropriate grammar for God’s sake. Otherwise, it’s *ahem* pathetic.
I thank you for your efforts to bring fact based news to the public. For 3 years we have been lied to time after time. We the ppl need this.
May we have a list of Prof Rosen recommendations for coverage? I don’t want to bother reading anything else. I do not want to support those who do not follow Prof Rosen decree. This is such a relief. Thank you professor !!! It is the only way to cover tRump.
Rachel Maddow refuses to play any Trump (with the exceptions noted) or his spokespeople (no exceptions) tapes, rallies, etc. “Follow what he does not what he says,” is her motto about him.
Yes. I wrote about her policy two years ago.
He’s in the background waiting to be told what to say by Trump
As a physician (not an infectious disease expert), I find Fauci impressive for his scientific objectivity and willingness to answer questions forthrightly, even when those answers contradict Trump. I bet that Trump wants to get rid of him, but his handlers tell him that that would be bad optics.
Oh, he’ll find a way! His ego can’t handle this…
I would agree that underneath it all, trump is champing at the bit to replace him with a truthbender.
Thank you for using “champing” correctly. And I agree.
Dr Fauci said on tv the other night, I wish the media would stop playing me and Trump against one another. The president and I don’t agree on everything but he listen to me on all the most important things and abides
All media should follow suit.
Agree. Ever since 2016, he has used the media as free advertising. And disinformation. So glad to see Press Think take this step. It would be great if it were held up as a best practice.
Every journalist who is on the right side of the truth needs to walk away from this president. No more airtime. No more hate speech allowed in our homes.
This thread is brilliant and I think it is the way to go. Fact checkers have to spend their energy pointing out endless lies instead of attending to detail. Trump is a malignant narcissist who will make every event, even one involving imminent tragedy a cheap campaign tool. His pressers literally make me sick; he amplifies the drama by Tweeting about it later. It is a toxic diet.
You’re sick of people who want & demand the truth? If that’s the case you’re right… you’re sick!
All have to be Dems.
I know the President goes off sometimes, I don’t care for it either. Reporters ask questions that can’t be answered by any but God. All they do is try to piss him off and they do. He handles it a whole lot better than Biden,he can’t even talk to an everyday worker without wanting fight ( it’s childish, and stupid on his part)
I will stop venting now. Trump 2020
Please. This is life and death for millions and the highly probable death of the United States economy for a long, long time. I’m not going to rehash examples. . .they are everywhere for the aware citizen. Many of us will die before the election even comes close.
Wow! So you vote for a heartless man who has cut funding for the CDC and the WHO. Fact. A man who put innocent children in prison cells on the border. Fact. A man who is underfunding special education students. Fact. A man who gives the wealthy corporations a huge tax cut but underfunding education. Fact. Prove me wrong. Please.
You lady, are about as idiotic as they come.
That’s your rationale! He’s better than Biden at handling this. I feel sorry for you and am actually LMAO at your naivety.
You elected a game show host that pitted people against each other. He now has governors scrambling against each other for life saving equipment. You have had three years of The Apprentice : Presidential Edition. I hope you cancel this disastrous reality T V show in November for all the rest of us who have to live on this planet too. P. S. Stop calling your president the leader of the free world until you let the other hundreds of free countries vote for the American president. He is barely your leader and most certainly not ours.
Dr Rosen – this site is the shelter I’ve been desperately seeking for the last week and the message I’ve been sending to every news outlet I can on Twitter. THANK YOU! Please keep serving your sandwiches!
From the brain that voted for the idiot in chief, he’d rather blindly follow his lord and master because his brain hurts when they try to think.
Thank you, Dr. Rosen!
I hate the way Trump addresses Dr. Faci as “Tony!”
He is there every day!!!
Thank you! Report true facts please. Stop reporting and giving any attention to false statements and misinformation. I am not able to thank you enough for being the first to FINALLY take this step.
Facts are by definition true.
Agreed! It was the continuous coverage by the news media that gave us trump as President in the first place. Reporting his every asinine statement with little coverage left over for other qualified candidates. I applaud your response to this pathetic presidency especially when we really need accurate information.
We expect you to cancel this terrible reality show in November for all of us who also have to live on this planet.
BRAVO!!!!!!! I’ve been saying this FOR YEARS!!!!!! Finally a journalist with gumption!!!!!! I applaud you for your courage and stand by you 100%. #votebluenomatterwho
Professor Rosen needs to write more concisely, and not use so many words to express himself.
I wait for this liar to walk on stage
And TURN OFF THE BS BROADCAST
Its all a trump shit show
If there was even a chance it would be Scientific
Id continue to tune in to hear About the
National Covid Crisis
BUT Not Not
His inability to confront the Truth
Ill wait and have someone else wade through all his ridiculous opinionated comments most of which are turning out to (Oh Gee What a surprise)
the same ole hogwash that full of half truths that we have become accustomed to hearing for 3 awful yrs
Please please from the UK make them wake up. I am seeing this from a healthcare angle with my voluntary work at a large organisation (I speak with HCPs/paramedics/doctors. They are under strict instructions to follow the government line – they have no PPE, they have one mask a day), My friend’s daughter got sick on Saturday. Our first line response phone call 111 called a nurse. They called an ambulance. The ambulance staff called the hospital. They said coronavirus, go home, isolate. There was no contact tracing. They had been at a charity fete. I went in the next day and deep cleaned the room to protect the retired people who volunteer there. I dont know if they made the list of infected. If you go on our NHS direct website You are diagnosed with flu if you havent been to France/Italy or met a confirmed case. Oh, and the paramedics told my friend, they are only testing people who are hospitalised so you cant be ‘confirmed’ without the test.
In my day job I work in a school. I work as a first aider. i have a degree in Microbiology and have been following the things in China. I have been watching keenly and trusting the government to do the right thing. 19 days ago, in school, I was asked to double check on a girl who was having trouble breathing. I think they thought it was a panic attack. She was breathing as if she had asthma but she had no diagnosis. She was struggling with a coughing fit, she’d had the cough a few weeks. (no mention of fever, I guess you know most people are asymptomatic). She had no allergies, no medical history, took no medications. She had no anxiety issues. She hadn’t been abroad anywhere in the last two weeks. the ambulance came and took her to A&E. She came back in school the next day, she had had no testing and still had a cough. I thought no more of it really, assuming a chest infection.
Last week, several children were coughing, as were a few staff members. I was at this stage taking as many precautions as I could, bleaching my door handle, not touching door handles, avoiding the corridors when pupils were around. The number of confirmed (hospitalised cases) in my city was 8. My city has a population of about 500,000. My school holds about 1500 pupils. Hearing pupils cough, we made a joke of it.
On friday I had a tickle in my throat, not even a tickle really. I can’t stress how insignificant this was, but I seem to notice every little ill and ache I get, research it, then get on with it. About every 2/3 hours, I cleared my throat. With 8 cases in my city and knowing there were all in hospital, I dismissed this tiny cough as allergies, though I had no other allergy symptoms. On saturday we had the scare with my friend, who was told she had coronavirus. I heard the paramedics were only wearing gloves and a mask. I was very alarmed by this and asked a friend who works in a hospital ward. She said we only decided to do a stockcheck of masks yesterday – with no government instruction to be alarmed or alert still. I couldn’t reach out to paramedic friends figuring they were busy. I think they have all been told not to say anything anyway. Their facebook accounts have been silent.
So, I realised, something wasn’t right. Why was contact tracing not being started? Why was my friend who worked in a school not tested? Why was the school not closed. My other friend who has children attending that school was unaware and to this day no communication has gone out from the school that there was a Coronavirus case.
Seeing the emails coming in from PHE, on Monday, I saw our school was being told to not close, to not communicate anything about coronavirus without first speaking to PHE. No communication has gone out apart from official government guidelines.
On Sunday I went to visit family, as my father is moving 150 miles away. I was extremely wary by now. He is 69 with a diagnosis of severe COPD. I informed all the family we would wash hands on arrival, and on departure. I told my Father we were high risk working in schools but ya know 8 cases in my city at the time. I avoided my father but for a brief hug which I now regret dearly. I noticed to my sickening shock my sister had the same little clearing throat cough as me. She is a teacher in a different county. Anyway, we all washed hands, family laughed at me. I told my Dad, put your clothes in the wash when you get home, and get in the shower and scrub. He was pretty much isolating already as he was scared. I assured him we were minimising the risk but dearly wanted to see him. How I regret this now.
On Monday I went into work, feeling a bit foolish, assuming still I was over reacting. I felt a little off. I had a slight tightness in my chest, and I was getting a bit breathy walking up to my office. I put it down to anxiety. The office manager was coughing up a storm and an admin officer came in to my office in distress, asking why wasnt she self-isolating. Her husband has COPD and she has been very scared for him. I said I would talk to the business manager, and I did. I informed her that I felt off too, I told her, the head of science looked ropy and had mysteriously refused to come into my office. I know he knew he had it. I was telling everyone to wait at the door, I was hand washing every hour and bleaching the door handle as soon a I went into the office to try to protect others. The little cough was worrying me now. I thought this can’t be it. It’s not even a cough, its me clearing my throat. I noticed a little ache in my left side. The last time I felt the little ache was when I was recovering from pneumonia 11 years ago. I was getting more concerned and I told the business manager vulnerable teachers need to go home. I named several members of staff, and she nodded and said she would bring it up with the head teacher. I avoided everyone. I now know this wasn’t enough but everyone didnt want to be the first to over-react, to let the side down. The british way.
On Monday night, I got hit with a burning fever. It came on over the space of half an hour, and I went from feeling 95% to 60%. My temperature was elevated. I had been taking it the week before as it’s usually low. It was 1 degree above normal.. 38 equivalent. I rang my friend who was told she had it on Saturday. She said symptoms were the same. NHS direct – 111 had on the website, not to ring them or tell then if you were self isolating with the symptoms. Even internally they haven’t monitored this.
I managed to sleep a little and called in sick the next day. Once again, I advised the business manager to make vulnerable teachers go home, and not just them but those with loved ones with serious illnesses. She said I will bring it up with the head. I spoke to the It technician later that day. He can see who is using the computers and teaching. I was disappointed to see all the teachers I knew with health issues were there and teaching. One of my favourite teachers, I begged to go home. He has a serious heart condition and is in his late 60s. I saw the email go out saying there were about 50 pupils from the primary school alone self isolating with the symptoms.
I have been trying to raise awareness ever since. My sister (the teacher) confirmed she has fever and the cough. Again, the number of cases in her county has not gone up from 2/3, I forget. Her school remained open. Every school remained open.
My friend, a first aider in another school in my area took what I was saying seriously. She got approval from her head teacher to send vulnerable staff and pupils home. She saved their lives I believe, as long as caring relatives haven’t popped over for a brew and some toilet roll.
Tue – Friday, I remain feverish and the little cough almost gone. I have a nagging ache in my left side still. I would rate how poorly I’ve felt as not even cold level, though the fever is a bit nasty.
I have been watching from my bed the comings and going of the neighbours while trying to do as much work from home as I can, so the teachers can work remotely. None of the vulnerable staff went home, and my favourite laughed again yesterday when I begged him to go. Opposite my house are 10 bungalows all rented from the council out to disabled and ill people. One lady has schizophrenia, the man opposite has severe COPD. I hear him coughing from my house. There are alcoholics in another bungalow. Two of the bungalow owners won’t open the door. On Monday, I told one through the window crack I can get anything she needs. I thought she was being careful, but she has had at least three young visitors go into her house. Yesterday I watched the daughter of the guy with COPD, her car packed with toilet rolls, go in with her young 5 year old. She had the cough I have mentioned and come to dread hearing. Another woman who was with them, had a very bad cough. They have spent thirty minutes or so each day this week with him. Today I went over, maintaining a good distance of course and said I was a volunteer first aider, and if they needed me please knock. They said, oh we’re fine. I pointed out the cough and they said, oh the nurse said its just a chest infection. I said, you have a new cough, you should be staying at home. She was glaring now, and said I do not have the virus. I left it at that.
So today is Friday and I have been sending all I know a list taken from the WHO website of the symptoms and percentages of people who got them. I have told everyone I have the virus, the word needs to get out, though I fear it is horribly too late.
Our government website published a list of key workers tonight. It stresses how they gave clear and simple advice to people to self isolate. It is clearly inferring that this is the general population’s fault. The prime ministers own faher went on TV this week saying nothing would stop him going down to the pub.
Hearing americans revealing that their government figures sold all their shares in January, I can only assume that they knew in January. I thought our government was inept, I couldn’t believe that they were trying to sell people this ‘herd immunity’ theory. I tried to tell people how herd immunity works, giving measles as an example. People are now waking up, but still they go to work, fearing the loss of their jobs. A van of men put a letter through my door telling me the road is getting fixed in three weeks. One of the men was coughing up a storm. I told him go home, self isolate. He looked at me as if I was mad, and jumped into the van with his three colleagues.
Celebrities are dying but no mention of why. Footballers are telling everyone they have been tested and are fine. A journalist form the Guardian I follow tweeted the PM saying he was sat in bed gasping for breath and had been told by 111 to do breathing exercises. He’s not tweeted since. Friends loved ones are getting sick – one has sepsis. I didnt have the heart to tell her that was a complication of Coronavirus. The government is now reporting, number of deaths from CONFIRMED cases of the virus. People will start dying next week, and wont be tested, and their deaths will go unrecorded on the world statistics.
Please america, wake up, this is you in weeks time, if it isn’t already. Please also bear witness for the UK. I am waiting the troops and lockdown to stop riots. They will say its our own fault for not following their ‘advice’. Our government has embraced a strategy of herd immunity and I believe we will see over a million unnecessary deaths. It could have been so so less.
I am sorry this is so rambling, I’ve not slept so well. I do ask for anonymity. Please bear witness and let USA know what to expect.
Thank you for being brave and writing about what is really happening. We here in the US are so far behind in preparing for this. I am a teacher and our schools are all closed down. People are being told to stay home. California just stated that their people MUST stay home. In our county— children and teens are still gathering together to play soccer and basketball. 20-30 kids were on the local basketball court.
Today it was announced that a 5 yr old nearby was diagnosed with Corona virus.
The US is very short in providing tests also— and hospitals are running short of masks and protective coverings too!
I will send prayers for you and your other teacher friends. Hang in there.
Thank you desperate in the U.K. for sounding your alarm. We watch the lies & are scared here in America.
You are not alone.
Thank you for caring. My husband and I are elderly and are sheltering in place. I’m sorry you were so disrespected by the ppl at your school. I am praying for you and for your dear father and for all of us.
I fear this is happening all over the world. UK and America both with a similar message. People still working, people not taking it serious.
I fear we will never know true numbers of those that pass. I hope somehow they are taking blood samples or swabs. This is a horrid failure on Western Countries.
I am cruuently locked down. I’ve been watching since January what’s happened in China. I saw the UK and American leaders talk and was agast and still am.
I have a friend working helping people find employment. They are not allowed to go home. They have desprate crowds of people hoping for work. This may kill them and those looking.
They work for the government. How crazy. I don’t know anyone personally yet, but my friend on Ameticas sone, age 30 got very ill. Couldn’t breathe well. Fever cough, all symptoms. No test available and told stay home. He has a wife and young child. His workplace too. They never even took his name to follow up.
I’m trying to find how he is, but have heard nothing. I fear not well and working or worse.
I’m sorry, I will be witness if I survive. History will sadly have stories like this and it never needed to be this way.
Stay safe, take care and prayets.
The thing is, this will get worse. What I’d ne curious about is however, what would you have the government do? Close down everything and incur massive debt to run society on lended money for a year or more? Reality is, any strategy that doesn’t involve forcefully restricting everyone to their homes until a vaccine is created 12 to 18 months from now means most of the population will get the virus. What they want to do is to as far as possible stretch that process so we don’t get a massive explosion of cases where healthcare is overloaded and can only help a fraction of those who needs it.
We have to understand that this is the worst pandemic for a 100 years, maybe even longer and it will take many lives and cost massive amounts of money, this no politician nor anyone else can fix. So what would you have a government do?
“Reality is, any strategy that doesn’t involve forcefully restricting everyone to their homes until a vaccine is created 12 to 18 months from now means most of the population will get the virus.”
Yes, this is exactly what we must do everywhere. I don’t know where you are, but in the USA, we have enough food, supposedly. We may have to eat grain, grain and more grain, but this can be done if needed. I am not suited to grain at all, but it alone will not kill me.
Economies can recover. Everything can recover. Dead people are dead, and we will lose many people with skills we need. Many of them will be older people like myself. For example, although I am very highly educated, my mother was a professional seamstress. I can sew darn near anything. Just give me a pattern and materials and I can keep a lot of medical workers supplied. When this is all over, I can repair all the clothing we will need to keep wearing until manufacturing recovers. This doesn’t even cover my ability to teach most subjects in the humanities or my skill with computers.
We have parallel existences, unfortunately. What you report is the same behavior we have here – and the smart ones among us are terrified. I have only been out of the house twice in 8 days, for very short trips and have behaved as you reported on both of those (cleaning behind me, trying not to touch anything or get too close to anyone). I am fortunate to live in one of the first states to have cancelled school for a while. Our GOP governor has been proactive for his people while maintaining a thin veneer of schmooze to keep the federal eyes from falling on him critically. I was so relieved when he did it that I had some hope, maybe, we could keep from going down Italy’s path. That hope has died over the last week.
My family, immediate and extended, both in my state and others, and people at my husband’s office as well, have had minor symptoms (diarrhea and vomiting) that everyone says is “just a stomach bug going around”, but experts have said are documented (rarer) COVID symptoms too. My feeling is that there’s NO illness going around right now that we can assume “probably isn’t” COVID when we’re NOT TESTING ANYONE. So I am staying home for the foreseeable future with my kids, because even if what we’ve had isn’t Covid there are thousands of people walking around with it now, right outside our door. I have too many friends with magical thinking because they’ve been stupefied by our “president” and his cadre of FOXRuse syGOPhants. I don’t care if people think I’m being too paranoid, and would be more than happy to be proven wrong, but I have begun to mourn for our wasteful, complacent, too-busy, yet beautiful, lives that are gone. I plan to love my kids, give them a pass on most of their useless homework that is just more busy-ness, and help give them a safe place from which to look out on the world after the devastation which is about to swallow everything we know.
I am praying you and all those you have mentioned make it through this with minimal personal scars. Please keep in touch or re-connect with your loved ones electronically, as I have been dead set on doing for the last several days. Find something positive on tv (unlikely these days) or online to give you mental support – and don’t feel that it’s wrong to be worried or to escape, however briefly, from that worry. But DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF for the actions you’ve taken or the things you “didn’t do”, because YOU DID EVERYTHING RIGHT to the best of your ability, and you trusted the “experts” to keep you safe. It is they who have failed, not you.
What in God’s name is wrong with you? No one has failed yet. Your still alive aren’t you . Nobody in your family is dead yet. You’re such a Debbie downer. Don’t be encouraging doomsday thinking. Keep it to yourself ! To me you sound like a quitter . In the good old U.S.A. we don’t quit. Become a team player , stay positive and never QUIT !!.
Dear Desperate in the U.K.~
What a terrible ordeal you’ve been/are going through. It must be so frustrating when you’re trying to sound the alarm and people turn a deaf ear. I had no idea what things were like in the U.K.; we tend to think of Brits as being calm, practical, and no-nonsense. It truly saddens me to hear that we are not the only ones laboring to do the right things under the repressive thumb of so-called ‘leaders’ who are incompetent, ignorant, and self-serving. Many of us have taken matters into our own hands; here in California, with all the dine-in restaurants closed, owners and staff are using food that would otherwise have been thrown away (eventually) and putting together things like the “Taco Emergency Kits”, complete with rolls of toilet paper, that people can pick up or have delivered, cutting down the number of those that may be hesitant to go out in public and shop for groceries considerably, especially the senior folks. Just yesterday I came across a website that shows people everything they need to know in order to make facemasks for our health workers and anyone else who needs them. It’s unconscionable that a country like the United States can’t even supply something as simple and mandatory as face masks to help keep people safe. But, being ashamed and embarrassed is a luxury we can’t afford when there are so many people who need help.
I hope you will not forget to take care of yourself!~it’s easy for self-neglect to happen when one is so focused on helping others. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. We have heard you and we are standing witness to it. Let us know how you are faring, when you can, and stay safe. Strength and peace to you, my friend.
Thank you Great plan . Since the middle of February, any time Donnie comes on.for pep rally( presser) I TURN OFF HIS FOUNTAIN OF LIES and wait for the REAL NEWS outlets to broadcast example, CNN TOWN.HALLS WITH GUPTA . Donnie,you should watch your kids sre.
Seems you could not resist the lure and use parentheses to let his words through your mic:
(Donald Trump, meanwhile, is calling himself a “wartime president.”)
Why did you print that?
1) He was drawing a distinction between what he believe’s the news media’s mindset should be and Trump’s mindset. It is a useful distinction. 2) You’re nitpicking.
Perceptive and important work as always, Prof. Rosen.
It seems you are advocating “journalistic distancing” from Trump pronouncements. Reporters need to keep their distance to avoid endangering the public.
Everyone with any common sense, intelligence, sanity, concern for the country must stop covering him & his lying minions as if these are normal people & these are normal times. This should have happened a long time ago.
All that is being accomplished is helping them to get their misdirection, lies and dog whistles out for free to a massive audience. By doing this, reporters & organizations are complicit in what is happening to this country.
He is like a virus and he thrives off of the chaos, anger, confusion and seeing others in distress. We should all be working together to stop feeding his malignant narcissism.
Can you get MSNBC on board? I love Hayes, Maddow, Reid, etc. but corporate kahunas gave Trump millions of dollars worth of free air time in 2015/2016. Same with CNN.
Thank you for an article that says what needs to be said and to be acted upon. It takes guts to call the president a liar, but it should have been done years ago. Unfortunately, Trump has built up a following of fellow liars and teams of sycophants who protect him no matter what ridiculous things he says.
I wish every journalist and reporter would read this article and do what you suggest. Trump thrives on the spotlight, and taking it away from him would benefit our country and the world.
Bravo! If only this was how the media covered him from his primary campaign forward.
I support this approach. Good. We need this.
Good stuff, Jay. And you’re right: News media should have embraced this approach long before now.
Thank you for doing this. I have been waiting for a brave move from our reporters. We need facts not rhetoric. Hoping more news outlets follow your brave lead!
Jay is absolutely on point here. I cite his work in my media ethics course as well as the work of Stephen Ward, who writes about the need for “democratically engaged journalism.” Journalists should realize we are in an emergency situation and the old ways–which didn’t work very well before Trump–are not up the challenge.
I hope the high bar you are setting gets the notice it deserves! I can only hope other journalists display the same integrity. Thank you!!!
Thank God for this!!!!
I hope media reads and pressthinks!
You speak to what a lot of us “news consumers” would like to see happen. Some journalists are doing all they can to help the public stay informed and navigate the flood of lies coming at us. But not enough yet. Keep writing, Prof. Rosen. And thank you!
Why has it taken SO long for the authentic journalists (yes, I know, many or most are beholden to their corporate media bosses) now understand what are the consequences of their “silence” from reporting and calling out the truth of the obvious lies and misinformation spilling out of this president’s mouth which everyone (almost everyone except those who had no conscience or needed this so called “leader” to be their voice) knew was a liar and very dangerous man with policies put in place by his administration made up of “puppet, bootlickers”, destroying and weakening the very, most important pillars of our democracy; placing our nation in great danger. Your integrity and statue as a journalist will be a new level of truth telling for the news media at this crucial time in our nation’s history.
Thank you for having the courage to cease from parroting and/or amplifying Trump’s lies, slurs and misrepresentations. Most print and TV “journalists” are nothing more than conduits through which he communicates to the public. Together he and the media constitute a codependent relationship in which they depend on him for ratings and sales and he depends on them to get his message out. The only way to dismantle a codependent relationship is for one of the parties to stop playing his/her role. This you have done. I would like to see a strike by White House Press Corp but know that is too much to ask. In the meantime, thank, again, for your witness.
A brilliant idea. I have wondered, literally for years, why journalists bother to attend these press conferences. Most of the information is incorrect, ridiculously superlatively stated and designed only to bestow additional unearned self praise on an inept administration. Hard questions are rarely asked because everyone wants to avoid being barred. It’s a waste of time for anyone who wants to know what, actually, is being accomplished — not just talked about.
I’m having a strange experience since the coronavirus arrived — I’m no longer as angry as I’ve been since November 2016. COVID-19 has made it abundantly clear that there is no reason to listen or attend to a word the Orange Sociopath utters. He will only lie, and lie, and squirm, all to protect his sorry hide while the economy crashes and people die. He’s a malignancy. Fortunately, there are still people and systems doing their best, sometimes heroically, to counter the viral threat. They matter. The malignancy has shown himself just another disease. Our lives depend on replacing him. But he’s of no interest.
I’m risking the chance to become a troll bot. I’ve pasted this to many journalist on FB and T . > Its now Life and Death. I just watched the press conference -I think this could Help Stop the epicenter of disinformation. < Let's help spread this like the CV19
Why the fuck wasn’t this done five years ago?
Because he hadn’t even declared his candidacy for the presidency yet? Or are you referring to Obama?
Fabulous!!!!! I want to help! Funding cuts to HHS eliminated my position with Partnership for Patients. I have free time and 20 years of patient safety and risk management experience. What I am hearing from the current administration infuriates me and has me worried sick about healthcare workers and patients alike. All of our current situation was able to be controlled early on. All of it.
I think this is an excellent idea. I wish other news organizations would follow this method.
It’s important to point out (because no one ever does) that when Trump says two obviously contradictory statements, that it is also possible–even likely–that the FIRST statement was the lie, not the second. Or both were–also likely!
I think you are right. Any attention to a narcissist is still attention. I hope this can be achieved without losing facts that should be released good luck
This is such a wonderful approach. Americans want the truth not to watch a political rally.
I appreciate your taking this step. Public Health is important. It’s why we pay plumbers thousands of dollars to connect our toilets to sewer lines, and why we pay large sewer bills; so we don’t get sick. It’s why restaurants are inspected regularly to make sure we won’t get sick if we eat there. It’s why we get vaccinated. We spend huge sums on this, and yet this one man desperate for attention can cause thousands of additional deaths by saying, “Don’t trust the media. “
This is all true, but in fairness was said by many people right at the beginning of Trump’s tenure. When the White House press corps was denigrated from the start, in so many ways, and so little real information was made available in lieu of talking points made up of demonstrable lies, many asked why the WH press corps should grant the WH and Trump a platform; either send second stringers or not cover it at all.
I have no bone to pick with Rosen – better late than never – but if his good idea had been adopted 2 1/2 years ago maybe things would be a bit better today.
This is one of the funniest comments I have received in 24 years online. Funny to me, I mean. When “skip” says, “This is all true, but in fairness was said by many people right at the beginning of Trump’s tenure,” I am one of those people. When he writes “many asked why the WH press corps should grant the WH and Trump a platform; either send second stringers or not cover it at all” he is almost certainly referring to my essay entitled “Send the interns,” which was published on the second day of the Trump presidency. “Better late than never,” he says of me today. LOL.
With all the great work you have been doing the result have been almost nil. All the press covers him anyway including his lies. I am dejected and feel nothing can be done. Unless press as a United whole, except Fox, joins hands and boycott him. Owners be damned
This is a great idea, long past due. Is there a subscriber list? How will I receive updates?
GREAT IDEA! I’ve been saying this to my husband for a long time!
This is excellent first step.
I would further propose local, state, and federal legislative ombudsman committees, comprised of the people who would be most negatively impacted by any piece of proposed legislation, who would have final say in whether a bill is approved to move forward to be voted on.
Legislation at any level of government could then be decided by public referendum.
The one problem shared by our ideas is that we, the employers, lack a holistic sense of civic duty, proper education, and critical thinking skills in order to dispatch our own duties well.
This would have to be addressed before such measures can be properly implemented.
Thanks Jay for continuing to carry this torch. Maybe with the life and death urgency of the corona virus, this life saving idea will gain better traction and start to spread, virus like, [and I hope exponentially] to one news media outlet after another.
I am going to do my best to share this widely. If you have a list of media that has at least started to use some of your ideas for moving to an emergency setting, that would be a great thing to share.
Well, there’s Rachel Maddow. https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1241184015148707840
Thanks. Jay. It’s a first step.
Truth Sandwich Enhancement Suggestion.
For Step 2: Reporting the False Statement, I recommend that wherever possible we use our own words rather then showing a video clip or playing an audio clip or showing a Twitter post or other written verbatim quotation.
Rationale: Many false statements contain powerful intentional linguistic frames. So if you give an exact quote or show a clip, that simple act will amplify and spread more widely those very frames you know are false or misleading and that you don’t want to amplify or spread.
It you put the false statement in your own words, you have a better chance of not reinforcing and spreading frames that will misinform.
Admittedly this extra step is difficult to pull off, but well worth the effort.
It was about time somebody called Tramp for what he is: a liar, and the worst president this country has ever had. May God help us all. I commend all the journalists who will not cover this individual live anymore.
THINK OF AN ELEPHANT. Thank you for finally waking to the harm of amplify lies and following the advice of linguistics professor George Lakoff. Now also quit repeating the framing words the psychopath President uses, like “War.” Doing so is like telling people not to think of an elephant.
THINK LIKE FUTURIST. Futurists play out different scenarios to imagine different futures so their clients can better choose a “preferred future” and know what to do to move in that direction.
THE BIGGEST MEGATREND. In a recent article, I described a hopeful vision of how the novel coronavirus pandemic could spark major changes in public attitudes over things like universal healthcare, telemedicine, telework, distance learning, and how government can be made to work for People and not wealthy special interests. Your post suggests that journalism changes could be part of the MegaTrend. (https://mHealthTalk.com/covid-19-biggest-megatrend/)
We need the entire AP to adopt a similar stance
Thank god, finally someone is willing to cut off the ‘oxygen’ of fawning praise that is Drumph’s lifeblood. Good on you, sir, for standing up and taking the kind of real action that so many of us have been desperate for. Here’s hoping that other news outlets/journalists will have the courage to follow your example. Thank you!
You are right on every point. Our fight against the torrent of lies & disingenuous bullshit needs professionals like you adding their voice. I hope that this crisis will finally, FINALLY be the straw that breaks the back of this inept and dangerous administration*. But it’s beyond tragic that people will~and have~died as a consequence of their bungling, ignorance, and greed.
I wish MSM would adopt this model!
This is precisely how the major news organizations should have been covering Trump since November 4th, 2015. If he can admonish and throw reporters out of the briefing room then reporters can “quarantine” his statements.
News minus trump equals truth. Wish news would not repeat lies.
I am really amazed that there are ppl (the amount) here in Fl who still have the sense to not just see the lies but look for the truth if you have doubts. The area in Fla I live in is scary for myself and Daughter to live in, many flying Drumpf flags at there house and trucks outwardly talking about how this virus is not like the news says, arguing with you if you state something being said is untrue, as happened to me this morning in neighborhood store (owned by recent immigrants) amazing, there. We do not speak out were ppl in neighborhood, at store or on street can hear us, anymore, about the lies coming from W.H. and so called potus! We are outnumbered by Morons and zombie like followers of this Insanity! I am happy to see morals and sanity are still alive in Florida, at least a minority though.
Good for you. Trust but verify should be at thre forefront of news right now
He should not get a free pass, he never should have.
I live in Canada, and appreciate so much that we re getting straight talk on this whole Coronavirus situation, scary though it is to hear it. We are being instructed, even nagged, to self-isolate, clean our hands frequently etc. We don’t have enough testing kits or medical supplies in the country, but we at least are not being lied to about that, nd efforts are being made to supply asap.
So my suggestion to you all is watch CBC news to get an unbiased report on these matters, including on the current president’s pronouncements. And do what you need to do to slow this viral menace in its tracks.
Hi USA, Canada, UK, I am from Spain and rigth now the situation is really very difficult.
My advice is to be very watchful of what it is happening in Italy and Spain. At the beginning politicians did not wanted to see the real gravity of the situation. Rigth now, they are cowardly; they are thinking about politics. They started cowardly and they go on like that.
Here the spread of coronavirus is increasin more and more. FROM SPAIN take care and be alert.
My heart goes out to you Jay. I hope and pray that you and your family will be able to cope and to survive what is New York City right now. I am in Santa Clara County, CA—another hot spot—and my husband has the virus—caught in London—and yet I am grateful we are not in NYC. I say all this as a preface to my remarks about your essay here. What comes across to me—so powerfully that it obliterates any points you are trying to make—is that your writing this piece is your attempt to assert control over something neither you nor anyone can control. The pandemic. An irony for you is that you are/were part of a movement (remember citizen journalism?) to expand media beyond the control of media elites. Successfully! Now there is no way to tidy up or elevate or make wiser reporting in the aggregate. Of course, an individual reporter and his/her news organization can decide not to cover the daily press briefings, but the briefings will still be widely available. I watch every day for the News crumbs from the State Department (I need to hear the phrasing) because I have a daughter stuck in Lviv, Ukraine. Finally, I point out that misinformation is rampant now. I can no longer watch “Morning Joe” because Mika tends to make a few factual misstatements any given morning. I do not hold this against her or her level of professionalism, however, because all of us are under stress and making mistakes as we cope.
Thank goodness someone is finally going to cease giving Trump an open microphone for his ceaseless and dangerous lies! This is way past do!
The White House press corp are collectively doing unfathomable damage to what is left of our so-called democracy by continuing to treat Trump as if he were somehow normal and reasonable.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! From a U.S. citizen who can no longer watch or read the news because his lies and bile are ubiquitous, I thank you. From someone who has become physically ill because of the damage Trump has done to our culture, our citizens, our country and our planet, I thank you. I will breathe just a bit easier tonight with this information. Thank you.
You are welcome, Jennifer.
Necessary but not sufficient. The concept of a “truth sandwich” is good, but its effectiveness is blunted if the sandwich still feeds his brand. Obama gets it. Don’t put the president’s personal brand on anything you publish or broadcast. The problem is that unlike normal humans, there is no person to respect or trash; there is ONLY the brand, wrapped around an empty shell. That brand thrives independently of the content of the coverage, be it positive, negative or neutral. That is why truth is irrelevant and even the most stunning contradictions are as likely to be calculated as careless or even carefree.
By all means, serve the truth, but don’t wrap it with the logo of the liar. That’s just another kickback. The “White House” holds press conferences. The “oval office” spouts nonsense. The “executive branch” fails Americans. As you noted, the public output of your current president is not worthy of attention beyond the rare consequential correction. The brand is even less newsworthy, and that is saying something.
That’s a fitting thought. Refer to DT as “the brand” (no caps).
In this new era of our self-described “wartime president”, the habitual competitiveness of the various media covering the White House dis-served the greater cause of Journalism when we need it most.
January 11, 2017 at P45’s first press conference when the p denounced Jim Acosta and CNN, his network, as “fake news” after a Acosta’s question about Russia, then called on other reporters for their questions, is when the good guys dropped the ball.
The next reporter should have repeated Acosta’s question and saved their own. If the president continued to act in his asinine way then the next reporter should’ve asked the same question also and the next and the next…
I forgive them for not thinking of this because they were probably in shock at the uncivil treatment of Acosta and his network. P45 simply saw their competitiveness and played on it to divide and conquer them in what was his opening shot in declaring war on “the enemy of the people”.
It is a war, P45 shot first, and so far, is winning.
Andrea Bernstein, in discussing the approach to researching her book American Oligarchs, stated that the documentary material was so dense on the presidents doings and dealings that many in the journalism field saw fit to combine forces and cooperate to parse through the material.
Perhaps the press corps should present a unified front by defending each other’s questions, cooperating with each other, thus defending their DUTY to question authority. Eventually P45 will be reduced to calling on Fox News for questions. The rest of the media can just run minimal word stories on the proceedings, only referring to P45 as “the president” or even “the current administration”, and only running the seal of the oval office or a picture of the White House as a graphic. For added fun, when the p accidentally makes a true statement, make a big thing of it in the intro to the statement, then run a clip of the single true sentence he uttered that day, with his picture. That way his ego gets fed for saying something true, something out of classical conditioning in psychology. Unfortunately, any attempt to punish lies or other negative behavior is probably illegal, no matter how satisfying it might be.
Eventually he will rage at the deflation of his ego, and the sarcasm of running the true statements and blame the media for being disrespectful. The Press Associations can reply as one that they respect the office, but not its current occupant.
It should serve to enhance the quality of the information the responsible media disseminate, as well as their self-respect.
It was January 21, 2017 and here is what I wrote the next day: “Send the interns.” https://pressthink.org/2017/01/send-the-interns/
You and other media should have treated his messages as you did Osama Bin Laden from the time he started the racist comments about mexicans and continued to double down on that stance. I have been saying that since 2015 the only reason he won is because press gave him all their air time for being ridiculous. In contrast with others who had to buy airtime for adverts. He drove the news cycle because he knew how you work
He gave you a new item every day before you got on air so you had no time to prepare for it and just kept talking about the new thing rather than the one absurd thing from yesterday thaybyoindid prepare for.
So I am glad you are finally figuring out what to do.
Kudos for taking this courageous stand. I’ll add one suggestion: use the space that would have been covering Trump to amplify what other leaders are doing to address the pandemic.
It is really difficult to speak publicly, and I envy anyone who does it well. I really admire how prepared and focused Gov. Cuomo is everyday facilitating his press briefings regarding the updated status of COVID-19 in New York State. Unlike Trump, Gov. Cuomo doesn’t project insecurity, misinformation, or a confused and irrational report of the current state of this national emergency. He’s calm, direct, sincere, and reasonable. I feel comforted watching this man everyday even though I am from New Jersey.
Trump is a mumbling, bumbling, immature liar. His daily press briefings are a train wreck, and I think it’s paramount that Americans tune out from Trump, and tune in to Gov. Cuomo to get their information.
As soon as POTUS uses the term “Chinese virus” all networks should cut the feed.
trump is making oodles of money and has raped our tax dollars with his $3 million dollar golf trips to his golf courses. He is the most malignant narcissistic, unprepared, unknowing, ego-maniac. He may have closed the Chinese from coming here but he called the killing virus a HOAX. He could have begun in January but until stock market crashed he didn’t notice.
Please, do this and leave him out of everything
How can we set this as a standard for all media? I live in the Boston area and will be sending this as a guideline to the news media here. I will also call into both WBUR and WGBH, major stations with global reach on radio and part of the NPR network. I also plan on sending it in to FOX here. Can this standard be amplified by others?
A you say all news organizations should be treating and should have been treating this White in this manner. I hope it is infectious like Covid 19.
This is absolutely FANTASTIC! Finally someone is taking the reins and returning journalism to its routes: truth…
This is a good first move and should have been done years ago. Every other serious news outlet interested in serving the public should boycott as well. Same for Trumps minions who also lie. If Trump lies and the press walk out of the briefing room Trump will crack.
Thank you for no longer publishing Trump”s remarks. His press conferences on the Coronavirus are like watching him read off a grocery list. Our governor in Illinois gave a press conference that was serious, intelligent and honest about our state’s “Stay at Home” policy in such a way as to make citizens feel like he “had our backs” and knew of what he spoke. I don’t have to be a Democrat or Republican to know when I am being lied to. I only have to be an intelligent citizen…unlike the president. He cannot even read a speech which was written for him without out sounding like he has never taken a public speaking class before or been in a public office until now. Oh wait!! He hasn’t. His lack of basic knowledge about the Constitution and government is embarrassing. My 8th grade grandchild knows more, and he isn’t narcisstic liar. And now in this crisis, Trump is showing his true idiocy everytime he opens his mouth. I am so glad to see that by not reporting on this site, you are helping stifle his verbal diarrhea.
BRAVO!! Let’s extend these guidelines to ALL reputable news sources. Immediately.
Thank God someone has the courage to disconnect from him. Recently I have referred to him as ‘he who shall not be named’ in my own attempt to eliminate him from my psyche and the collective psyche
The empty shell — “the brand” (no caps)
How will this keep the people informed, rube? President Trump isn’t the only person speaking at these daily briefings. You beg for press briefings, don’t hear what you wish and then censor. You should all lose your credentials.
I don’t have credentials.
Not sure how to deliver this news, but the White House briefing is not the only source of information.
Are we supposed to thank you for your superior moral fortitude? I don’t want a journalist peon or a large media establishment to censor information coming from our president and this administration.
I’m an adult that can come up to my own conclusions from information presented, whatever the source.
And by the way for all the haters, Faucci is still there.
We don’t need to hear his ramblings and give him all the coverage. And no, many Americans are not bright enough to know that he is not telling them the truth. That is the problem. Maybe you are, but many are not. I wish it wasn’t true and would like to have smarter people in our country, but that just me.
And give coverage to the dem candidates instead. Trump is monopolizing the coverage just like he did before and the press is falling for it again. Today he made claims that he may quarantine NY and got all day coverage about him and nothing about the other candidates. He once again backed off. Liberals get all offended and his base gets riled up. The press needs to stop doing this. It’s not fair to the candidates running. They are getting no attention even though we know they would handle what’s go8ng on so much better. Cover that.
Nothing would piss ol dumb donald off more than if the press simply stopped showing his face on tv and covering his every move.
As of today when he gives his daily pep rally on the corona virus, he repeats much of what we already know,and then goes off on the democrats and the media blaming them for his problems at witch time they pull the plug and go to the commentators.
Its so funny to watch .At first he gave his daily interruptions at noon just as the institutions are getting to work at the stock market…and down it goes as he talks.
Then they tried to bore 2 people with one bullet by holding the conferences just b4 your evening news comes on (and the markets are closed) so they can disrupt the nightly news.(his life’s ambition).I love it, the media are now just cutting him off when the world news shows come on. and they are now debating “do we want to keep covering him when he wants a pc?”
This blog doesn’t need wider distribution. Let word of internet do the publicizing.
I recently read an article that explained all of Trump’s foibles by pointing to his innate greed My take is that that is not his sole motivation. I won’t go so far as to say that he’s more complex than that, but he is far more confused than that. With him, truth blends seamlessly into falsehood. He IS greedy, but he also believes that all will be well by May, or June, or by the 4th of July, or whenever.
The really sad part is that his vague roaming through facts and fiction isn’t really going to hurt him, come the next election. His followers will just remember his last pronouncement and believe it until he alters it to fit the new “facts”.
Best of all, from his viewpoint, he now has the grandest possible answer to why Amerika isn’t Great Again. It’s that slimy Chinese virus behind the disaster. And the “deplorables” will love his answer.
So much for today’s ramblings.
Thank you Professor Rosen. I have utmost respect for your career, tenure and expertise, and am grateful you are on Twitter voicing your concerns about his live TV pressers.
Some background, in hopes I will earn a small amount of respect for my opinion below, and to verify I know a little of what I speak:
I was a very strange kid, growing up in a gang-infested, poor neighborhood. I would find tv test-patterns fascinating (when stations used to not be on-the-air 24/7), and would learn at age 11 that my Industry in Film, TV, News, Music and Entertainment chose me, not the other way around.
By age 14, the local college tried to give me a scholarship, and even had me lecture – because I was hanging around the local Big-3 affiliate stations and told that I knew more than the professors who were still stuck with black-and-white video gear trying to teach their students how to pull together a newscast. Schools got the big stations’ hand-me-downs when they all went color.
At age 15, years before MTV’s launch, I convinced the major record labels to give me copies of music videos from their master tapes, which were experimental at the time. By 17, NBC cleared my TV pilot in primetime, and we had Pepsi as a sponsor. Coming from nothing, I wrote a prospectus and raised $120k ($488k in 2020 dollars) to fund the pilot and build the edit suite in my grandparent’s spare bedroom. This was in the #72 DMA Nielsen market, where a :30-second TV spot on a #1 show like “E.R.” could demand $900; Hawai’i was not even in the Top-50 of 210 TV markets. I loved live TV and being in a newsroom, and was about ready to launch a “60 Minutes” in Hawaii when my career took a turn.
I was shown analog 1035-High Definition by Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony, in 1982 (Hi-Vision/MUSE), 27 years before we would adopt 1080/720 HD in the US in 2009 via the great ‘analog shut-off.’ I have managed to build a home edit suite in my apartment with EVERY major format from 1956 to present day, and take time to mentor people of all ages once a year.
I never thought back then that this kid from no means or education would one day be in Beverly Hills, directing-writing-editing; helming a live national broadcast with 25+ cameras, or having my team receive a Primetime Emmy® nom for our work on The Academy Awards® telecast.
Today, I am asked to guest lecture at UCLA, USC and I recently built the Kelly Clarkson Show’s facilities on the NBCUniversal lot – and was also next-door in the Tom Brokaw NBC News building. I have 42+ years under my belt as a paid professional.
If I can ever help you with BTS info, pics, videos or teaching materials, please reach out.
With respect, on Twitter, I have rebutted your calls (and those of other journalism teachers, professionals, retired journalists and the public at large) for the broadcast and cable nets to not carry Trump’s daily Covid-19 briefings.
I know you and many others ‘get’ my point, but people on Twitter misunderstand me (often), so I tend to elucidate more thoroughly to try and avoid unintended meaning to my comment.
In 1983 when the Soviet Union ‘accidentally’ shot down commercial jet Korean Air Flt 007 for straying into USSR airspace, I watched in fascination a Phil Donahue talk show where, live via satellite, he co-hosted with a Russian talk host counter-part. Both US and USSR studios had live audiences, though I suspect some in the Russian audience may have been plants or carefully screened. I was surprised how misinformed the Russian audience was – they believed the US put spies on the KAL plane (the irony of the flight number is not lost), and that it straying into their airspace had unsavory intentions. The GPS satellite system up to then was accessed only by our military, and as a result of this ‘accident,’ president Ronald Reagan made the satellites available to the airlines, and eventually, all of us, to prevent any future accident of a plane going off-course.
We were in a scary arms race: both of our countries were increasing nuclear warheads which could eliminate the globe 6,000x over. The era is why the movie “War Games” was so successful.
The USSR would release very little about their president. When Yuri Andropov took power and invited a little girl from the US to visit the USSR, they also let it be known that he ‘liked American Jazz’ and wanted us to like him back. Suddenly, US citizens were romanced and were sending him letters and gifts. Jazz records would arrive at his office.
LEAVE TRUMP ON-THE-AIR
“There have been loud calls from the public and journalism professors for the TV networks to not carry Trump’s pressers. As a member of the Fifth Estate, I have strongly disagreed, on purist grounds. Utmost, I say that unlike Fourth Estate print medium, only video (especially “LIVE”) has the emotional punch resistant to charges of “Fake News” by Trump’s supporters. Our electronic mediums should carry videos of our POTUS unfettered, so all can see for themselves the charlatan naked emperor. Witness the most powerful leader of the world making it up as he goes along – to wit, he is erratic, incoherent, unprofessional, disheveled and no one has edited anything. His “information” is rebutted and challenged; his short fuse is exposed.
Since his daily Covid-19 ego broadcasts were started, weekly polls show that (R) voters have a precipitously rising disapproval rate – it started at around 5% the first few days, and as of Friday April 3rd, it climbed to 40%. Tangentially, this is why FNC: Fox News Channel, the GOPs megaphone, went from being dismissive about the virus, to unanticipatedly, in unison, having all their on-air talent warning to take the matter seriously. Toppers at FNC knew that they couldn’t keep ‘trump-eting’ the “Democratic hoax” all day while actual (R) voters were getting or about to be getting sick.
As with Iran-Contra, Nixon Watergate, and other landmark political events, and especially after the birth of an unfettered, unregulated Internet – where some social media sites like Twitter can become the ‘back alley’ of the web – it is even more important for our old-media broadcast brethren to expose everything as it happens, even if Trump or anyone else tells lies that could harm public safety (Joseph Goebbels aside).
CNN and MSNBC and others have begun to not air Trump’s portion of the pressers, or do them via ‘tape-delay’ (we use a $250,000 box called EVS, a ‘TiVO’ if you will that is always recording multiple camera angles, and we can replay and select ‘clips’ very quickly, which fools viewers into thinking things are spontaneous and LIVE). Not airing Trump doesn’t really help matters, because many (but not all) people will go to Internet streaming sites and social media and just watch the broadcast anyway. The problem there is that these streams usually don’t cut back to an anchor journalist – who is safe behind ‘enemy lines’ and can question and challenge Trump without fear of having their White House press credential pulled like reporters on the front lines.
When Trump reads off a teleprompter, like in State of the Union speeches (written by someone else), liberal or neutral commentators will praise him as “sounding presidential.” The daily Covid briefings are him in the raw.
In this election year – where our very Supreme Court hangs by a thread and its own rulings entrenches itself, lower Appellate, and trial courts into hyper-partisan chaos via holdings which dismantle and obstruct fair voting for every eligible voter – it is more imperative than ever for the mainstream electronic mediums in the Fifth Estate to cover and disseminate and challenge as much as possible for a wearied public. Unlike the evening news, short SOTs (Sound-on-Tape sound bites) are edited and Trumpers can be suspect taht we are obscuring his sheen; with him live that accusation is negated.
As with debates about the Electoral College and Second Amendment, our founding fathers did not know or would apply the same interpretations and ‘spirit of the laws’ of the First Amendment had they envisioned the environments we are in today would be governed by the ‘letter’ of their laws.
I thank you for allowing me in this space.
Film & Television Director-Writer-Editor
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