Da, they stood, shoulder to shoulder, on the podium: Donald Trump, Vice Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, Corona Virus Coordinator Deborah Birx and the Chief of the Service Task Force, Admiral John Polowczyk.
There is no question of distance. Only as Dr. Birx, coordinator of the coronavirus containment, explained why she hadn’t been there before (“I had a slight fever, probably a digestive history, but I’m fussy, I’m a doctor”), Trump jokingly moved away from her: “Oh dear. “
Such jokes are of little use to teach Americans to take the risk seriously and to follow the recommendation to stay away. Such conflicting signals and the half-truths that the president is spreading have prompted journalists to stop broadcasting the briefings live. “It’s now life and death,” wrote journalism professor Jay Rosen of New York University. “We have to switch to an emergency setting when reporting on the President to prevent him from misleading you through us.” In the Washington Post, media critic Margaret Sullivan said the networks should use the President’s comments on the Corona crisis no longer broadcast live, but with a delay that allows a review of his claims.