John King had no use for Donald Trump's baseless attack on another reporter, but they're missing the larger point: These are Trump rallies and they should not be live-streamed.
March 20, 2020

Earlier Friday, Donald Trump went off on NBC's Peter Alexander after Alexander lobbed him an easy question to give Trump a chance to show a little empathy for the people in the country he supposedly governs. Instead of taking the question seriously and giving an answer intended to reassure Americans, Trump lost his temper.

CNN's John King was incensed. "What the president did to Peter Alexander was reprehensible. The people are looking for answers. They do want hope, they do want support, Mr. President. That was a very fair question," he told viewers.

Turning to Kaitlan Collins, he went on. "Kaitlan, this is a Trump trademark."

"It was striking that this came -- forgive me -- this bullshit attack on fake news came just moments after the Secretary of State said the American people need to be careful about where they get their information, to go to sources they can trust," he said.

So here's the thing, John King and Peter Alexander and network executives. You are streaming a news conference in real time that is nothing more than a Trump re-election rally. It is not meant to convey information; it's meant to get him re-elected. And like any good Trump rally, it had all the elements: An announcement that the borders were being shut down because immigrants are to blame for the virus, a lot of lies and happy talk, some Dear Leader adoration, and of course the obligatory attack on "fake news."

May I respectfully ask that these rallies not be streamed in real time, but taped and reviewed for fact-checks before portions of them are aired? There is no reason to live stream every minute of a lying liar.

Each and every reporter and network executive should read Professor Jay Rosen's column today about why they must not do what they have been doing with these pressers. Because yes, they ARE bullshit, and they're disinformation streams.

It's time to cut off the stream, for the sake of the nation.

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