It almost could have been the start...

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2020

...of a beautiful question-and-answer:
Should cable channels broadcast the president's "daily briefings?"

Three New York magazine scribes debate the question here.
Especially after yesterday's marathon lunacy, we would say the answer is no. But any news org which took that stand would have to bite a series of bullets.

By now, it's abundantly clear that these daily "briefings" are really campaign events / propaganda sessions. Tiny amounts of information may sometimes emerge, but they're buried under an avalanche of nonsense and disinformation.

As we noted this morning, the haplessness of our upper-end journalists turns them into key players in this power grab. Their skills are virtually non-existent. They might as well not even be there.

You'd think that everyone could agree on the following points. The basic blocking-and-tackling of our current disaster turns on these basic question:
How much testing is available? How much testing is needed? Precisely when will the gap disappear?

How many ventilators exist in this country? How many ventilators will be needed? When will the shortfall be addressed?

How much testing will soon be possible? How many new ventilators will be produced? How much protective gear for the nation's health workers?

In all cases, we need to see two sets of numbers—current numbers versus projected need. How hard is this point to grasp?
In all these matters, the journalists must compare the amount of material being produced to the amount which will be needed. Otherwise, Trump will simply bluster ahead, rattling a litany of very large numbers, creating the impression that his incredible leadership has virtually flooded the zone.

So far, our journalists show no ability to produce such interrogations. With that in mind, consider a moment from last night's marathon "briefing." It almost seemed like it might be the start of a useful question:
QUESTION (3/31/20): Can I just ask a follow up testing question, real quick, before we move on?

So the testing numbers—I understand a million tests [have been] done; it’s a big increase. But we were told there would be 27 million tests available by the end of the month.

So can you outline where
in the supply chain, where in the logistics chain, are those other 26?
The question came from Shannon Pettypiece, senior White House reporter for NBC News Digital and frequent MSNBC guest. The question looked to the past, not to the future, but it went to a significant point:

It asked about a wildly inaccurate previous statement. Our journalists have had a very hard time getting Trump to respond to such questions, in part because their questions have often been poorly formed.

This question was quite straightforward. It involved a giant gap between an earlier pledge from a Trump official and the current reality.

Where are the 26 million tests? As retrospective questions go, this one looked quite promising.

In response to this promising question, the president threw to Vice President Pence. Tomorrow morning, we'll show you where that took us.

Spoiler alert:

Simply put, our current scribes simply aren't up to this task. You confront a pandemic with the press corps you have, but daily "briefings" will always be gong-shows given our current lineup of journalistic guardians.

Many journalists went to the finest schools. It doesn't much seem to have helped. Simply put, they lack the essential chops.

In large part for that reason, it's time to throw in the towel and call this gong-show off.

22 comments:

  1. "By now, it's abundantly clear that these daily "briefings" are really campaign events / propaganda sessions."

    Oh dear. We're shocked, shocked!

    Surely neither Demigod Bubba nor the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Demigod Barry would ever behave this way. Not to mention the current highfalutin govna of NY.

    This certainly goes against everything that is civil and decent in American zombie politics and zombie media, routine accusations of being secret foreign agent notwithstanding.

    As for the tests, dear Bob, what's with that shit? How do they help, these tests? Who do they save?

    Back when your posts still had some resemblance to musings of a humyn being, you'd call this 'stampede', I believe. And now you're one of 'em, stampeding cattle.

    Sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mao,
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      My husband and I have been married for about 7 yrs now. We were happily married with two kids, a boy and a girl. 3 months ago, I started to notice some strange behavior from him and a few weeks later I found out that my husband is seeing someone. He started coming home late from work, he hardly care about me or the kids anymore, Sometimes he goes out and doesn't even come back home for about 2-3 days. I did all I could to rectify this problem but all to no avail. I became very worried and needed help. As I was browsing through the Internet one day, I came across a website that suggested that Dr Great can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he did a spell for me. Two days later, my husband came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my family are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Great . If you need a spell caster that can cast a spell that truly works, I suggest you contact him. He will not disappoint you. This is his E-mail: 

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  2. “it's time to throw in the towel and call this gong-show off.”

    They can’t be called off. That’s a silly idea. Who is going to call them off? The White House? That’s not going to happen, because the White House is the one staging the press conferences.

    And the briefings aren’t going away, even if some networks refuse to air them. (Guess which network would continue to air them in that case?)

    The networks probably still have a duty to show them, even if the reporters’ questions don’t measure up to Somerby’s standards.

    The briefings are essentially controlled by Trump and the White House. He gets to cell on whomever he likes, he gets to refuse follow-ups, he gets to berate questioners. An accusation was made recently that the White House is able to control the reporters’ mic volumes, and can thus reduce the volume or cut the reporter off at will. (I don’t know if that’s true or not). And if the more adversarial reporters simply refuse to show up, then their seats will gladly be filled by Trump sycophants.

    And, with a “crazy” man — actually the “craziest person in the country” to use Somerby’s phrase, what kind of answers does Somerby expect from Trump? Even the world’s greatest questioner would fail.

    ReplyDelete
  3. “How much testing is available? How much testing is needed? Precisely when will the gap disappear?”

    Etc.

    Birx, in her opening slide presentation, mentioned an expected death toll of 100,000 to 200,000. That number would presumably suggest the number of expected infections and also the number of ventilators needed. She said her team were still looking at modeling to try to predict the needs, and that the needs will depend on mitigation efforts (social distancing, shelter in place orders, etc). There will also be a wide variation in cases based on location (New York will need more equipment than North Dakota, presumably).

    I imagine it’s difficult for Birx or Fauci to state anything “precisely” , because so much hinges on containment efforts.

    I’m certainly not trying to defend Trump or the briefings here, nor am I claiming that the reporters are all wonderful questioners, but with Trump there, there’s only so much reporters can get out of him or his briefings, and Birx and Fauci are doing what they can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Birx though also didn't give a time frame for that death toll. does she mean in the next month that many people will die? Or what? She didn't say.

      If people continue to die at the rate they died in the last 20 days there will be over 400,000 people dead by the end of April.

      Delete
  4. mh wrote: (Guess which network would continue to air them in that case?)

    The answer is CSPAN. Today, even FOXNEWS broke away and did not show the entire press conference.

    I follow the number of tests at https://covidtracking.com/data/us-daily/

    The US did a great job in ramping the daily number up from a few hundred to over 100,000. However. we really need more than 100,000. Supposedly the new test from Abbott should allow a big jump in the number of tests, but that has not happened yet. https://www.abbott.com/corpnewsroom/product-and-innovation/detect-covid-19-in-as-little-as-5-minutes.html
    Abbott has received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for the detection of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), delivering positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes.

    What makes this test so different is where it can be used: outside the four walls of a traditional hospital such as in the physicians' office or urgent care clinics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And why are they so important, these tests?

      Delete
    2. 8:43,
      If you pass them, you get to go to 3rd Grade, like a big boy.

      Delete
    3. The sooner we can identify people with the virus, the sooner they can be put in islolation, where they won't infect others.

      Delete
    4. Sorry, but that's just silly. Everyone is already in isolation. Schools, gyms, offices, restaurants and coffee shops are closed.

      200K cases have been identified already. Presumably based on the symptoms, for the most part. If you start breaking into their homes to test them, you might find, say, a million or two more. Where are you going to 'put them in isolation'? Gitmo?

      Besides, if one is not infected today, he might very well get infected tomorrow. Will you be testing everyone every day?

      Delete
    5. So you're against having tests to see whether or not people have this virus?

      Delete
    6. One of the problems (there are several) with the Abbott test is you can only do one at a time, its usefulness is limited. The test is not an innovation, it is not new, and its Trump virus version was only developed because of China's timely release of the virus' genetic sequence.

      The amount of testing being done is inadequate, the US has not done a "great job".

      Delete
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