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Critics demand full media blackout of Trump coronavirus briefings

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It is almost unthinkable in a national emergency. Journalists and commentators are now calling for a complete media blackout of President Trump’s live briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, concerned that these daily TV events promote misinformation of have turned into a Trump “rally.”

These critics overlook the fact, however, that Mr. Trump shares the podium with vital members of his task force including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The briefings also include official information, timely discussion and questions from the press.

Nevertheless, the call to silence Mr. Trump has been percolating for the last 72 hours.

“The media must stop live-broadcasting Trump’s dangerous, destructive coronavirus briefings. He’s just using them a substitute for his rallies. Put him on tape-delay so journalists can counter his rush of information,” writes Washington Post media analyst Margaret Sullivan.

MSNBC prime-time host Rachel Maddow is also calling for a blackout, deeming Mr. Trump’s statements as “needlessly diverting and wildly irresponsible” and that the public needs to “inoculate” themselves to it.



“The daily briefing is a litany of things from the president that would be awesome of they were true, if they were happening. But they’re not. The sooner we come to terms with that, the better for all of us,” Ms. Maddow said in a on-air commentary. “It’s misinformation. If Trump is going to keep lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should, all of us, stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it’s going to cost lives,” she concluded.

There is already a #blackouttrump hashtag circulating on social media.

“If President Trump is not capable of leading stably and effectively, he should for the good of the country stop making things worse, and consider leaving the podium to others,” said CNN host Jake Tapper on his own broadcast.

Viewers may not agree with this idea. Multiple polls suggest that the public approves of Mr. Trump’s response to the pandemic, including an ABC News survey which found that 55% approved of the president’s actions during the pandemic.

One observer smells a rat, citing the timing of the “blackout” call.

“It is no accident this insidious and un-American idea arrived the day after a number of polls showed a clear majority of the public approving of Trump’s handling of the Wuhan virus,” writes Breitbart News editor at large John Nolte, who traced calls for a Trump blackout to such news organizations as The Atlantic, NBC News, The Boston Globe, the Nation, and “former Obama officials.”

Is the “Deep State” in on it? Mr. Nolte believes the push to remove Mr. Trump from the media realm is meant to turn the coronavirus pandemic into “Trump’s Katrina,” referring to former President George W. Bush’s experiences during Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,883 people and caused $108 billion in damages in 2005. The weather event was often referred to as “a political storm.”

NOW THERE’S A THOUGHT

“Three cheers for President Trump’s success in forcing a federal bureaucracy that normally moves at the speed of a glacier to begin working at ‘Trump Speed,’” writes American Thinker contributor William Noel.

“That’s why they call it the Trump train,” responds Lucianne Goldberg, founder of Lucianne.com, a political news site.

BIDEN’S ‘SHADOW BRIEFING’

Though he is currently confined to his own home Delaware due to the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic presidential hopeful Joseph R. Biden plans to offer “shadow briefings” on the national emergency.

In a press call, Mr. Biden announced he was in the process of upgrading space in his house to include enough high tech equipment to livestream his coronavirus commentary via the internet. The former vice president also has renewed his pushback against President Trump — advising him to “stop saying false things” about the health crisis.

Politico has already deemed Mr. Biden’s plan as a “shadow briefing” and predicts the new feature could start as early as Monday.

“In times of crisis, the American people deserve a president who tells them the truth and takes responsibility. Donald Trump has not been that president,” Mr. Biden declared in a recent tweet.

The former vice president is not holding back now — and has already debuted an online “COVID-19 Breakdown” video with Ron Klain, the White House Ebola Response coordinator during the Obama administration.

A SUCCINCT MEDIA REALITY CHECK

“The coronavirus epidemic is shaking humanity and turning the world upside down. Quick, somebody alert the media. The Washington press corps is covering one of the largest, continuing stories in recent history the same way it has covered the Trump administration since Day One. The formula is simple: Whatever the president does is not just wrong, it’s borderline evil. Details at 11,” writes New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin.

“In the real world, events are unfolding at a pace and scale impossible to comprehend. But at too many news outlets, the aim is not to inform. It’s to render the harshest possible judgment on the man journalists love to hate,” he says.

2020: THE SHOW MUST GO ON

Should the presidential election be canceled or delayed in the year of coronavirus? Uh, no. A new Rasmussen Reports voter survey finds that 62% of voters oppose the idea; 25% approve and the rest are undecided.

“There is virtually no difference of opinion among Republicans, Democrats and voters not affiliated with either major party on this question,” the pollster said.

POLL DU JOUR

75% of U.S. voters believe China is “very” or “somewhat” responsible for the spread of coronavirus.

65% blame “individuals who are not staying inside their homes at this time.”

45% blame the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

43% blame President Trump.

34% blame Vice President Mike Pence.

Source: A Morning Consult poll of 2,006 U.S. adults conducted March 17-20; respondents could give multiple answers.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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Media conference with Moe, Shahab postponed – CKOM News Talk Sports

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A media conference that was scheduled for Tuesday with Premier Scott Moe and Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer, was postponed until Wednesday.

The announcement was made shortly after the province issued its COVID-19 update for the day. No reason was given for the postponement.

The media conference was to take place at 3 p.m.

Moe was to join by video from his home in Shellbrook, where he’s in self-isolation after potentially being exposed to someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.

It was expected that Moe and Shahab would announce further restrictions as the government tries to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Further measures are under active consideration and development by Dr. Shahab and will be announced during tomorrow’s COVID-19 update with the Premier and the Chief Medical Health Officer,” Moe’s office said in a media release announcing the postponement.

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Local mayor rips social-media ills after man convicted of online threat – St. Thomas Times-Journal

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Norfolk Mayor Kristal Chopp used a questionable image to express her discontent with the county’s treatment at the hands of the province during a meeting with Municipal Affairs Minister Steven Clark in Toronto earlier this year.

Postmedia Network / File photo

SIMCOE – Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp says online harassment has been part of her job since being elected two years ago, including one case that resulted in a man being criminally convicted.

“I’m pretty tough, but the constant barrage of abuse that some find amusing has affected my psychology,” the mayor said in a recent interview.

Earlier this month, a 57-year-old Port Rowan man was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to uttering a threat to cause death or bodily harm to Chopp.

Dana Robert Dargie was placed on house arrest for 30 days and put on probation for 18 months, during which he is banned from communicating with or going near the mayor. He also can’t go to the municipal building or attend any Norfolk council meetings. And he must get counselling for anger management.

Dargie is just one of many people who lash out on social media against the mayor, who has faced controversy over council’s decisions to cut services and staff, among other things.

Along with emails and negative online comments, Chopp is mocked through a parody account on Twitter, which often compares her to U.S. President Donald Trump. She said a members-only Facebook site with 3,000 members seems to have been formed specifically to discuss and denigrate her work and that of Norfolk County’s top bureaucrat, Jason Burgess, who is the municipality’s fifth CAO in just over a year.

She said she regularly receives inappropriate emails, including some from a “dirty old man,” who has sent dozens of messages, including half-naked photos of himself.

“I never used to believe in blocking people but that has changed in recent times. Social media has become too out of control, too offensive, too damaging and too harassing.”

And that harassment has extended to her family.

Chopp said her parents’ Hamilton-area farm was visited last year by bylaw officers looking for illegal cannabis.

“They realized they had been sent on a wild goose chase the second they stepped onto the farm but said they had so many phone calls and emails telling them to check it out that they finally went.”

A spokesperson for the City of Hamilton confirmed bylaw officers visited the farm and found no violations.

Chopp said that incident is still under investigation and included a “22-page manifesto” from someone named “Harry Smith,” who mailed his allegations to major media organizations in Canada and to Chopp’s employer, Air Canada, where she works as a pilot. The “manifesto” said the mayor is a narcissistic dictator and psychopath, who owns her own plane and runs a marijuana business.

“I think there’s a reason why women, in particular, don’t want to get involved in politics,” she said. “I can give you a list of more than a dozen men I’m allegedly sleeping with. And, if they don’t get off on that one, they call me a lesbian.”

Chopp said she has pondered taking civil action against some of the harassers as the abuse intensifies

She said she hopes Dargie’s conviction will stop others.

“But I don’t think it will,” she said. “Social media has taken on a life of its own and the facts don’t seem to matter.

“Ignoring the keyboard warriors is difficult but I will do my best to soldier on.”

At a Norfolk council meeting last Tuesday, the mayor was accused by her council colleagues of using bullying tactics and intimidation as the politicians aired their feelings and grievances. Chopp refused to participate in the meeting, gathering her things and leaving.

SGamble@postmedia.com

@EXPSGamble

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Judge at Toronto van attack trial suggests media should stop naming killers but courts should not – National Post

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Article content continued

Her words on Friday, born of exasperation, described it as having a “gun to my head” and being handed “a ransom demand” for her kidnapped child.

The evidence from Westphal and his team is the only expected expert testimony directly supporting Minassian’s mental state defence.

“All of Mr. Minassian’s eggs are in this particular basket,” Molloy said in her ruling.

A screengrab of Alek Minassian’s booking video. Photo by Toronto Police Service

After all, Minassian has admitted he purposely rented a van on April 23, 2018, and drove it down a busy sidewalk with the planned purpose of killing as many people as he could.

Because Westphal is in the United States and the trial is being held online due to COVID-19, Molloy cannot do what she has done before, which is send police to corral a witness and bring them to court, where refusal to testify could lead to imprisonment.

“The devastation wrought by Mr. Minassian cannot be overstated. However, he is entitled to a fair trial in our courts, and to call a defence supported by evidence. That evidence exists, but is in the control of Dr. Westphal,” she concluded.

Molloy’s words on not naming killers rekindles the debate over what to do in the wake of violence that was raised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after the Nova Scotia rampage.

In Trudeau’s first public address after the Nova Scotia mass shooting during which 22 people were killed in April, he asked that the killer’s identity not be included in media coverage of the tragedy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comments on the mass shootings in Nova Scotia during a news conference on April 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Photo by Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images

“I want to ask the media to avoid mentioning the name and showing the picture of the person involved,” he said as part of his prepared remarks. “Do not give him the gift of infamy. Let us instead focus all our intention and attention on the lives we lost and the families and friends who grieve.”

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