During this time of uncertainty and worry, President Trump is airing daily press briefings on COVID-19. These briefings include U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Health and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Trump’s press briefings are popular with the American people, receiving an average of 8.5 million views. Despite outlets such as CNN attacking Trump every day, many Americans approve of Trump’s response to the coronavirus epidemic. The Real Clear Politics aggregate shows 50.6% of Americans approve of how he is handling coronavirus. Also, the President’s overall job approval is at the highest it has ever been, with the latest average being 47.3%.
The mainstream media is not taking kindly to the President’s success, and some pundits want to censor him. An NPR affiliate in Seattle, KUOW Public Radio, said it was not going to air the President’s briefings. The reason KUOW gave was “…a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact-checked in real-time.” Other leftists in the media want to follow NPR’s example and not broadcast the briefings. The Daily Beast reports how CNN and MSNBC staffers want their bosses to censor the briefings. For example, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said: “If the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape but if he keeps lying like this every day on stuff this important, all of us should stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it’s gonna cost lives.” New York Times reporter Michael Grynbaum questioned if networks should air Trump’s briefings live, citing supposed misleading or downright wrong information. He also linked Trump’s praising of medicinal chloroquine to a man who died after drinking fish tank cleaner, despite the fact that Trump referred to a very different substance.
The media has little evidence to support its claims of Trump handling the virus poorly. One line of attack against Trump is that he does not listen to medical experts. Both conservatives and progressives respect Dr. Anthony Fauci. Critics of Trump have attempted to divide the doctor and the President. Dr. Fauci refuted the idea he and Trump were at odds: “The president has listened to what I have said and what the other people on the task force have said. When I have made recommendations he has taken them,” Fauci added. “The idea of just pitting one against the other is just not helpful.” The media condemned Trump’s travel bans to China and Europe, even though Dr. Fauci later said the travel bans are ‘going to go a long way’ to prevent the United States from ‘becoming an Italy’.