New Yorker: “Over the coming weeks and months, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues on its destructive path, it will alter the fabric of the country. Already, the disease has exposed the fragility of the American health-care system, highlighting its weak points, showing us where it is easily overwhelmed. It will do the same for other systems, including the media ecosystem. The question at this point is how much of it can survive, and how it might be rebuilt.”
“The White House Correspondents Association on Wednesday voted to remove One America News, a small right-wing media organization, from the rotation for a seat in the briefing room, an extraordinary rebuke of the network for violating social distancing guidelines put into place to protect the health of its members,” CNN reports.
“The decision was made after a fringe personality for the far-right media outlet, Chanel Rion, continued to attend the briefings, in defiance of the WHCA’s new rules limiting the number of journalists in the room.”
New York Times: The pro-Trump media’s coronavirus distortion.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, the brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has been diagnosed with coronavirus, CNN reports.
He is feeling well and will continue to anchor his 9 p.m. program from his home.
Gov. Cuomo confirmed the diagnosis at his press briefing: “He is going to be fine. He’s young, in good shape, strong, not as strong as he thinks, but he will be fine.”
“The story of the 1960s far Right, who were frustrated by what they perceived to be liberal bias in the national media, particularly the media’s sycophantic relationship with the John F. Kennedy administration. These people turned for news and commentary to a resurgent form of ultra-conservative mass media: radio. As networks shifted their resources to television, radio increasingly became the preserve of cash-strapped, independent station owners who were willing to air the hundreds of new right-wing programs that sprang up in the late 1950s and 1960s.”
“Some in our media can’t contain their glee and delight in reporting that the U.S. has more Coronavirus cases than China.”
— Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), on Twitter.
James Fallows: “It’s nearly three-and-a-half years later. Everything we saw about Trump on the campaign trail we have seen from him in the White House, including the limitless fantasy-lying.”
“I submit that these three-and-a-half years later, much of the press has still not rebuilt itself, to cope with a time or a person like this. Or with a political party like the subservient Trump-era GOP.”
“To choose only a small subset of examples, from only the past three days’ worth of history, here are some illustrations. These are words and deeds that, each on its own, would likely have been major black-mark news events in other eras. Now they are just part of the daily onrush.”
“CNN chief Jeff Zucker on Monday defended the network’s decision to carry President Trump’s coronavirus press briefings live despite criticism that he uses the conferences to spread misinformation during a pandemic,” the Daily Beast reports.
“Zucker argued on the staff call that it is important for viewers to hear critical information from the administration’s public-health experts like Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, and for the CNN audience to hear the president answer tough questions from journalists including the network’s own.”
“He did note that the network had pondered whether to air portions of the briefings after Trump finishes speaking, but said that he felt comfortable airing the briefings live because of those reporterly grillings.”
Gabriel Sherman: “When I’ve been talking to Fox insiders over the last few days, there’s a real concern inside the network that their early downplaying of the coronavirus actually exposes Fox News to potential legal action by viewers who maybe were misled and actually have died from this. I’ve heard Trish Regan’s being taken off the air is, you know, reflective of this concern that Fox News is in big trouble by downplaying this virus.”
“I think this is a case where Fox’s coverage, if it actually winds up being proved that people died because of it, this is a new terrain in terms of Fox being possibly held liable for their actions.”
A Fox News producer promised Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that host Maria Bartiromo would go easy on her if she sat for an interview, which she did six days later, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
From the email: “Please remember any question she doesn’t feel comfortable answering — she can choose to not answer and pivot the topic — and Maria is seasoned enough to understand and move on… So no worries on that front. This will be an easy interview and enjoyable.”
“If you were watching some of the commentators on Fox News and Fox Business in the first 10 days of March, you wouldn’t have been too worried about the coronavirus — it would be no worse than the flu, and the real story was the ‘coronavirus impeachment scam,'” the New York Times reports.
“But one elderly Fox News viewer, a crucial supporter of President Trump, took the threat seriously: The channel’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch, who was to celebrate his 89th birthday on March 11.”
“On March 8, as the virus was spreading, the Murdoch family called off a planned party out of concern for the patriarch’s health… There were about 20 people on the guest list.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere called it “pretty disgraceful” that CNN and MSNBC did not show the entire White House briefing on the pandemic sweeping the country.
He thanked Fox News “for keeping Americans informed.”
President Trump late Sunday lashed out at news networks and newspapers over their coverage of his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, claiming that all he’s seen is “hatred of me.”
Sean Spicer joined White House press corp at today’s coronavirus task force briefing by taking the Newsmax seat in briefing room, the Daily Mail reports.
Spicer has a show on the conservative network.
Kelly O’Donnell: “It is simply not appropriate for the former press secretary to sit among journalists to ask questions of the president he served. The door between politics and media sometimes revolves but it is not appropriate to question one’s former boss.”
In a poll shared on-air and on Twitter, Lou Dobbs asked Fox News viewers to rate President Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic and offered three ratings: “very good,” “great” and “superb.”
Vanity Fair: “Tucker Carlson started talking more extensively about the virus on his Fox News show on February 3, spurred, he says, by harrowing reports emerging from China. Trump, it seems, was the last to know. A White House adviser arranged for Carlson to meet with Trump so the TV personality could, in essence, penetrate Trump’s bubble. They talked for two hours. The oncoming pandemic, Carlson told him, was an existential threat to the nation. To translate it into Trumpian language, an existential threat to his reelection. Mike Pence joined at one point.”
“Carlson won’t discuss the president’s reaction on the record, but suffice it to say that Trump’s denial went on for another week while the pandemic ballooned and right-wing allies—many of them on Fox News—suggested the virus was a liberal hoax and members of Congress, as recently as three days ago, told people to continue going out in public as if nothing was happening.”
The Chinese government announced that it will revoke press credentials for American journalists who work for the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal in retaliation for restrictions that the Trump administration placed on Chinese state media outlets operating in the U.S., Axios reports.
“For weeks, some of Fox News’s most popular hosts downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, characterizing it as a conspiracy by media organizations and Democrats to undermine President Trump,” the Washington Post reports.
“But that was then.”
“With Trump’s declaration on Friday that the virus constitutes a national emergency, the tone on Fox News has quickly shifted.”
“On his program on Friday, Hannity — the most watched figure on cable news — lauded the president’s handling of what the host is now, belatedly, referring to as a ‘crisis.'”