Media Matters

  • The Nixon-Kennedy debates. There were three in 1960—and one of them was virtual. Nixon was in a TV studio in California; Kennedy in a studio in New York. So, yes, there is precedent, even with the unprecedented Trump as president.
  • Recall that in 2016 Trump didn’t carry his home Manhattan district—you know, the one that knew him best. Now he’s changed residences—and tax scenarios—by making Florida his Mar-a-Lagoed, home state. Now his new hometown newspaper, the Palm Beach Post, has endorsed Joe Biden. To wit: “(Biden) will heed the advice of scientists to protect public health, push to increase access to affordable health care for everyone, fight for reasonable and popular measures for gun safety. That’s what the leader of any modern, developed nation is supposed to do.”
  • “Masks Required Beyond This Point. Please wear masks over both your nose and mouth at all times.” That’s what a sign on the door of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House says. It has a makeshift look for good reason. It wasn’t put up by the White House. It was actually affixed by the correspondents who have to show up for press briefings and interaction as needed with White House officials.
  • “The only place on the White House grounds where a mask has been required is the White House press area, and the only people who have routinely violated that rule have been White House staff.” That was Jonathan Karl, ABC’s chief White House correspondent.
  • “I felt safer reporting in North Korea than I currently do reporting at the White House. This is just crazy.” That was CBS News correspondent Ben S. Tracy.
  • The post-hospitalization, 30-second, Trump campaign TV ad that includes Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s pre-eminent immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is not playing well with—Dr. Fauci. A narrator says: “President Trump tackled the virus head on as leaders should.” That was directly followed by a (March) clip of Dr. Fauci saying: “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.” It’s out of context. Dr. Fauci was not referring to Trump–but to efforts of federal public health officials before mismanagement and chaos became self-evident and America became the leader in COVID deaths. Moreover, permission to use (part of) a clip from a Fox News interview was never asked, because it would not have been granted. Dr. Fauci doesn’t endorse. The ad, disingenuously, implies otherwise.
  • Last Saturday’s SNL cold opening focused on the vice-presidential debate. Fair enough. But there’s a manifest difference between politically spot-on satirical and over-the-top, quit-while-you’re-ahead silly. Speaking of the latter, the Jeff Goldblum-homage fly in the Pence ointment was all it took. Not even debatable.

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