The shape of the problem we face: In what ways should major news orgs cover Mister Trump's daily TV programs?
On Friday, well offer a list of ideas. But one thing is already clear:
The sheer stupidity of these sessions is their defining characteristic.
Consider what happened yesterday when one reporter asked about Governor Kemp's recent odd decision in Georgia. To his credit, the reporter did two things which very few others do:
After an endless monologue by Trump, he butted in to ask a follow-up question. And when he did, he said he wanted to direct his question to Dr. Birx!
The magnanimous president granted Birx permission to talk. But as he did, the cluelessness already seemed to be visible:
REPORTER (4/21/20): If I might just—pardon me. Hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors. Dr. Birx, can you weigh in on this? Because the people of Atlanta want to hear from you as well, as much as they want to hear from their governor and from you, Mr. President.Even after granting Dr. Birx permission to speak, Trump kept interrupting. In this case, he seemed to reveal the fact that he didn't even know what state was being discussed.
TRUMP: Yeah, I think—I think it’s fine.
REPORTER: What, what about—how do you success—safely have hair salons and nail salons and tattoo parlors where people apparently—
TRUMP: Where is that? Where is that?
REPORTER: This is in Georgia. —where people have to inherently be close together.
At any rate, how do you safely open hair salons and tattoo parlors—places where people inherently have to be close together? The reporter had asked an obvious question.
In response, Dr. Birx said people can be very creative. After that peculiar remark, Trump chimed in with this:
TRUMP: And it also depends—as an example that you just gave—are they doing testing before they go in? We have to find that out. That’s why I’m speaking to the governor in a little while, and I’ll be asking him those questions.Will the tattoo parlors be testing people for coronavirus before they're allowed to enter? In Trump's world, Georgia's tattoo parlor owners will perhaps have access to tests, in a country where doctors often can't test the people they'd like to test.
This kind of nonsense emerges each day from our commander-in-chief. How should big newspapers handle this fact?
On Friday, a possible answer to that obvious question will be part of our list.