And President Trump, of course:
What else were you expecting? In the early days of the acute COVID-19 crisis in the United States, the mainstream media (CNN, I’m talking to you) took barely a few days of respite from its nonstop political obsessions. Now CNN’s journalists and editors have seen that the world (or at least their corner of it) probably isn’t going to end as a result of this. So it’s back to business as usual.
Specifically, in this case, this means portraying President Trump as a buffoon who is contemptuous or dismissive of science.
President Trump seemed to falter at times during the early days of the crisis. We all did. For a few days, all of America, from the president on down, were taken aback, knocked for a loop.
In more recent days, however, President Trump has recovered. I watched his White House briefing yesterday, with Surgeon General Adams and other members of his coronavirus task force. The president has recovered and is on top of this.
This doesn’t mean that the concerns of the president and medical authorities like Dr. Anthony Fauci are always going to overlap perfectly. The medical specialists rightly have one area of concern: the public health aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak. And it’s perfectly right that their concerns should be narrow and highly focused. That’s the implication of the word specialist.
The president, on the other hand, has to concern himself not only with public health, but also with the larger state of the nation—including the economy.
How are we going to manage this health crisis, cover the attendant costs, oh…and maybe get the economy going again? If you’re the Surgeon General or a doctor at the CDC, you don’t have to worry about all that. That is the job of the president.
The president has stated that if we listened only to medical authorities, we would keep the country closed for months, or even years. This is what it would take to completely rid America of COVID-19, or any other communicable disease.
But that wouldn’t really work, either. In the meantime, our economy and our civil order would collapse. This would make the maintenance of public health rather difficult.
This doesn’t mean that health officials are wrong, or that the president is dismissive of them. It means that they’re specialists, and his job is to assess the big picture. (Divisions like this exist in any large organization, by the way. I often saw similar scenarios during my time in the corporate world.)
Journalists and editors at venues like CNN don’t acknowledge these complexities, largely because of their political biases. But there’s another factor, too: The typical journalist (not to put too fine a point on it) simply isn’t all that bright.
Think about the five smartest kids in your high school class, if you can remember back that far. How many of them became journalism majors in college?