Mix in a grandstanding TV reporter with an annoyed President Trump, and it usually doesn’t end well.

That’s what happened when NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander repeatedly laid the bait at Friday’s daily coronavirus briefing.

“What do you say to Americans who are scared, though? Nearly 200 dead, 14,000 sick, millions as you witness, who are scared now. What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now, who are scared?”

Yeah, we get it. Scared! Very subtle.

“I say that you’re a terrible reporter. That’s what I say,” Trump replied. “I think it’s a very nasty question and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope and you’re doing sensationalism. … You ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism. Let’s see if it works. It might and it might not. I happen to feel good about it, but who knows. I’ve been right a lot.”

Trump was referring to an anti-malarial drug that’s being tested on coronavirus victims.

He had reason to be annoyed at Alexander. This was the correspondent’s opening question: “Is it possible that your impulse to put a positive spin on things may be giving Americans a false sense of hope and misrepresenting our preparedness right now?”

When Trump tried to speak, Alexander interrupted him, prompting Trump to say, “Such a lovely question.”

The media went wild, of course, accusing the president of all kinds of nasty things.

NBC: “Trump, promoting unproven drug treatments, insults NBC reporter.”

CNN: “Trump viciously attacks NBC news reporter in extended rant after being asked for message to Americans worried about the coronavirus.”

John King of CNN was especially triggered by Trump.

The media’s normal bashing of Trump has been ratcheted up during the coronavirus pandemic to new levels.

But it’s getting old. Trump is right — the public wants answers. Hope, not hype. Trump is actually right about the anti-malaria drug, chloroquine. As the Herald’s Rick Sobey reported, Boston Medical Center is already using it on suspected coronavirus cases, with some success.

“It seems to stem some of the inflammation,” said Lee Wetzler, an infectious disease specialist at BMC.

That’s called reporting. It’s not false hope.

Trump has become the face of the government during the crisis. You can’t accuse him of being in the bunker. Democrats and their media supporters are privately hoping the pandemic leads to the end of the Trump presidency, but they may end up being wrong.


(c)2020 the Boston Herald

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