Blow believes there is no circumstance in which Trump’s briefings should be broadcast live at this point. The columnist wanted to make clear that he thinks the press absolutely has a duty to report on the presentations and even air clips of what Trump has said when he’s imparting information. But the way the mainstream media has been covering Trump in the last few weeks is not something Blow thinks is appropriate.
“Let me be clear: Under no circumstance should these briefings be carried live. Doing so is a mistake bordering on journalistic malpractice. Everything a president does or says should be documented, but airing all of it, unfiltered, is lazy and irresponsible.”
Blow cited media veteran Ted Koppel, who recently said that pointing a camera at someone and just allowing an event to play out is technology, not journalism. Koppel also posed the question of whether the fact that Trump was the president obliged the media to air everything he said unfiltered. Koppel, like Blow, thinks the answer is “no.”
Blow’s column comes on the heels of briefings that critics have deemed more campaign rally than coronavirus outbreak update. They have complained that instead of allowing medical experts to take the podium and answer science-based questions, Trump has aired videos and attacked political rivals. Trump has also gotten into arguments with reporters over issues such as the number of tests in the country and the availability of personal protection equipment (PPE).
Blow believes the problem is more than just the media being lazy during these appearances. He pointed to a study done four years ago that said Trump was given more than $2 billion worth of “free advertising” from journalists who aired his speeches and campaign rallies without a filter.
Back then, it was thought that Trump didn’t have a shot at winning the White House. Blow says that networks decided to continually give him broadcast time because they thought he was hurting his own campaign when they did and that it wouldn’t matter in the end. Instead, Blow posited, the media gave rise to Trump as president. He is worried that’s happening again.
As was the case four years ago, he wrote, the daily appearances are marked by Trump’s own “misinformation, deceptions, rage, blaming and boasting.” In short, Blow argued that the president is playing the same game he did to get elected, and that the networks are letting him get away with it again.