On Friday, the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing was the shortest to date, lasting about all of 25 minutes. And on Saturday, there was no briefing. Then, the president tweeted this:
What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2020
Axios reported late on Friday that four anonymous sources familiar with deliberations say White House advisers were looking to pare back the daily briefings. According to the report, the advisers worry the president is overexposed during the marathon briefings and worry a lack of new information no longer justifies the daily regimen of briefings. His advisors are also reportedly concerned about the president tangling with reporters during the crisis, warning that fighting with members of the press is not what the American people want to see right now. This comes as a shock to those of us who tune in only to watch the president dunk on reporters, especially since professional sports are no longer a thing.
On Friday, the president participated in a very succinct briefing that concluded around the 25-minute mark, denying reporters their usual opportunity to ask irrelevant gotcha questions designed to embarrass the president, as opposed to eliciting information that may be useful amid the pandemic. It was the press that politicized the briefings. On Saturday, reporters were told late in the afternoon that there would be no press briefing.
While the president's media opponents say the cut back on briefings is driven by fears that the president may be hurting himself, Trump has given nearly 50 coronavirus briefings to date, and just about everything that can be said about the virus at this point already has been said. The liberal media stopped covering the briefings, not because they made the president look bad, but because Trump was cutting through the media's false narrative.
When there is news to justify a press briefing, Friday's briefing is a good template for the administration to follow. Keep it about 25 minutes, don't let CNN reporters interrupt, and don't give the hostile press the opportunity to politicize the current crisis. They do that enough on their own airwaves.
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