erik lundegaard

Wednesday April 01, 2020

‘The President Doesn’t Have Accurate Information': How NPR Contorts the Language and Avoids Responsibility

Yesterday morning, on NPR's “Morning Edition,” Rachel Martin spoke with the Republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, about the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic  See if you can spot the moment that made me want to throw the radio across the room.

(Hint: It's not anything the Republican governor said.)

HOGAN: Governor [Gretchen] Whitmer [D-MI] and I did an op-ed in The Washington Post today, together, talking about what governors need. And one of the things we need is what we—you—just talked about, which is more production and distribution and coordination of these materials and supplies, the PPEs, testing and ventilators. ...

MARTIN: But President Trump has suggested that the testing problems are over. They‘ve been fixed. It’s no longer an issue.

HOGAN: Yeah, that's just not true. I mean, I know that they‘ve taken some steps to create new tests, but they’re not actually produced and distributed out to the states. So it's a aspirational thing, and they have taken—they‘ve got some new things in the works, but they’re not actually out on the streets, and that's ... No state has enough testing.

MARTIN: Then how much concern does it give you that the president right now clearly doesn't have accurate information?

HOGAN: Well, it's ... We think it's important to get the facts out there, and I think there are people in the administration who are talking about the facts every day. And we‘re listening to the smart team, the coronavirus team, the vice president and Ambassador Birx and Anthony Fauci and people like that who are giving factual information on a daily basis.

Good news! A Republican governor is dismissing the Republican president—as all good Republicans should be doing. Look who he says are talking about the facts every day: Pence, Birx, Fauci. Who’s missing? You know who. As a country, we‘ve been in difficult situations before (Revolutionary War, Civil War, Great Depression, WWII), but during those times we generally had good leaders (Washington, Lincoln, FDR). Right now we’ve got a dipshit. People are going to die because 63 million Americans voted for a dipshit for president.

But I knew that. That's not what set me off.

What set me off was Rachel Martin's follow-up when Gov. Hogan told her that Donald Trump, the president of the United States, was saying things that weren't true in the midst of a global pandemic: 

Then how much concern does it give you that the president right now clearly doesn't have accurate information?

Doesn't have accurate information? Like he's asking for it and isn't getting it? Like it's in the next room somewhere? Like aides are keeping it from him out of some kind of deep-state conspiracy? Could she divorce Trump any more from the misinformation he's daily disseminating? From responsibility or accountability of any kind?`

Good god, NPR.

So what should the follow-up be? Maybe: “Why do you think the president is disseminating misinformation?” Sure, you might get the same response, but at least you'd been honing in on the real question. At least you wouldn't be avoiding responsibility. Both the president's and your own.

Posted at 08:31 AM on Wednesday April 01, 2020 in category Media  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard

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