March 21, 2020

It's nice to be in good company. Yesterday, our own Karoli Kuns called for the cables and networks to stop airing Trump's press conferences live, because they are, as she noted, "nothing more than a Trump re-election rally. It is not meant to convey information; it's meant to get him re-elected." They are "disinformation streams." She cited Jay Rosen in her piece. Rosen is doing just that, because, he writes, Trump "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." Elie Mystal had his own call to shut Trump down at The Nation yesterday, challenging the media to stop disseminating Trump's hate and repeating his racism and calling it "news."

Well, last night, Rachel Maddow spelled it out as plainly as possible, not that the people in charge are listening, but this is for sure a "Great Minds Think Alike" moment. In this segment, Maddow cites the myriad unconscionable lies about the COVID-19 outbreak Trump spews at these pressers — which he has daily, now, since he can no longer hold his Nuremberg rallies. The list is staggering:

  • A drug for malaria had been approved for use against COVID-19.
  • The virus was well-contained.
  • The virus will disappear, like magic.
  • There would be 1.4 million tests available this week. (Only 1/10 of that appeared.)
  • Google is developing a website to help people determine if they need testing, and where to go to get tested. Fast! For everyone! Almost immediately! (Just northern California. Early stages. Not working well.)
  • Two Navy medical ships! One to NYC and the other to California! (Neither have medical personnel. Both undergoing maintence.)
  • Massive number of ventilators! (Shortage of ventilators.)
  • Ordered 500 million n95 masks! (Will take 18 months to fill order.)

Maddow notes not only the pathological nature of this behavior, but also the cruelty. The harm.

MADDOW: And so the specific way in which the president is failing now is clear. We have said from the very beginning, watch what they do, not what they say. That's very, very, very relevant here and I say this not to vent my outrage. I'm over that frankly at this point.

I'm just saying it because I feel like we should inoculate ourself against the harmful impact of these on going false promises and false statements by the president recognizing when he's talking about the coronavirus epidemic more often than not, he is lying. Even when he's talking about what he has done or what he will do, he's consistently lying and giving you happy talk that is stuff that the federal government isn't actually doing.

And it's making people around the country count on the fact the federal government is doing that stuff when they're not. There may be people in the federal government who are saying stuff that are true, but it's a litany of things from the president that would be awesome if they were true and if they were happening but they're not and so the sooner we come to terms with that, I think the better for all of us.

If it were up to me and it's not, I would stop putting those briefings on live tv. Not out of spite but because it's misinformation. If the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape. But if he keeps lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should, all of us, we should stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it's going to cost lives.

As if it hasn't already.

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