By Maddi Lete
November is a key month for all legal U.S. citizens, as they will decide if re-electing the, perhaps most controversial president of the history of modern world, Donald J. Trump, will be worth it or not. As Obama dealt with the H1N1 (also known as the Swine Flu) pandemic, the elected head of the Republican Party is currently fighting what he calls “The Chinese Virus”, as well as whatever media outlet that appears to be opposed to his conservative ideas. Trump’s behavior wasn’t any different during one of the recent Coronavirus Task Force Members press conference held on April 13th, as CNBC reporters Breuninger and Pramuk mention in their article, “He tore into members of the media repeatedly on Monday. He called one reporter “disgraceful” and “a fake” when he took issue with her line of questioning”.
Acknowledging one’s mistakes
Donald Trump, just like any head of the state, makes frequent appearances to address the nation and give updates on the current situation the country is facing. As of the third week of April, the U.S. lead the number of reported coronavirus cases in the world, reaching over 600,000 cases. However, as the figures go up, Trump has found his way to transfer the weight on his shoulders to the democrat-leaning media conglomerate which he often refers to as “fake news”. But not only that, at the same time he points fingers, the U.S. president is taking advantage of the situation the novel virus COVID-19 has brought, which is allowing him to launch an early presidential campaign based on briefings. These short propagandistic videos make their appearances throughout the Coronavirus Task Force Members press conferences. Controversy was assured when one of those clips claimed that “THE MEDIA MINIMIZED THE RISK FROM THE START”. Once again, President Trump doesn’t seem very fond of the idea of taking accountability for the statements he’s made regarding coronavirus and takes it on journalism.
From “hoax” to “pandemic”, that’s how drastically Donald Trump has switched his narrative. Back in February, the President stated that “35,000 people on average die each year from the flu”, “Did anyone know that?”, he asked the public. The republican head of state didn’t waste the opportunity to throw a tantrum on Twitter and hold both the media and the Democrat Party responsible for “inflaming the CoronaVirus situation”. Three days later, he addressed the nation at the Oval Office to announce he was suspending all incoming flights from the Schengen area until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak in Europe.
Two T’s: Trust and Trump
With the 2020 presidential elections peeking around the corner, many may wonder if Trump’s almost constant negative remarks on left-prone media affect the readers’ voting intention and trust on different newsrooms. According to the site Psypost, researchers found no evidence to support the link between Trump’s tweets and people’s lack of trust towards the news organizations he usually discredits. Daniel Tamul, who was in charge of conducting the study, told Psypost that, “The more tweets people chose to read, the more they saw a news product as credible, the author as credible, and the more they wanted to read such stories in the future”.
This is great news for journalism, quite literally. It’s comforting to know that as engaging as Donald Trump’s tweets are, people still choose the factual statements over the biased propaganda. Journalism should never be threatened by a head of state no matter what ideology he or she belongs to. Moreover, it’s quite alarming the fact that he only brands as “fake” those sites that don’t agree with his politics and views. How can we trust someone who went from calling a global pandemic a hoax to declaring a nationwide state of emergency in a matter of days? That’s up to one’s personal preferences. However, in these uncertain times, it’s advisable to get your facts from different sources, or else, you’ll find yourself overusing the words “fake news”.