Here is theologian N.T. Wright:
These two methods of speaking truth to power–official opposition parties and the media–regularly fail. As we all know, opposition parties often collude with governmental folly and wickedness, and newspapers can easily egg them on in precisely those areas where critique is most needed. The church’s vocation of speaking truth to power has thus been taken over by two systems that aren’t up to the job. We urgently need the voice of Christian wisdom to approve that which is excellent and to call to account that which isn’t. Of course, when we try to do that, the media regularly tries to rule the church out of order, not just because it doesn’t like what we might say but because we are treading on turf they took from us, and they don’t want us to have it back. So, once again, we have colluded with this diminishing role and God-given vocation; or, worse, we have been herded like sheep into the lobby of this or that party, swept along on agendas we assume too readily to be God’s agendas and unable to differentiate between the whim of the party and the conscience of the Christian.
If you are a Christian reader who has issues with the so-called “mainstream media,” then please step-up to the plate. The press is doing our job for us.
Today, Trump showed the following video during his coronavirus press conference:
This, of course, is little more than a carefully-edited propaganda video.
Then the questions began. Here CBS reporter Paula Reid:
Here is my transcript of that exchange:
Reid: What did you do with that time that you bought. The argument is that you bought yourself some time and you didn’t use it to prepare hospitals, you didn’t use it to ramp-up testing. Right now nearly 20 million people are unemployed. Tens of thousands of Americans are dead. How is this video or this rant supposed to make Americans feel confident in an unprecedented crisis?
Trump: You’re so disgraceful. You’re so disgraceful the way you say that. Listen, I just went over it. I just went over it. Nobody thought we should do it and when I did it…
Reid: But what did you do with the time that you bought? The month of February? That video has a gap. The entire month of February.
Trump: You know what we did. You know what we did. What do you do when you have no cases in the whole United States…
Reid: You had cases in February.
Trump: Excuse me, you reported it. Zero cases. Zero deaths. On January 17th
Reid: In January. The entire month of February? Your video has a complete gap. What did your administration do in February with the time that your travel ban bought you?
Trump: A lot.
Trump: A lot. And in fact we’ll give you a list what we did. In fact part of it was up there [on the video].
Reid: It wasn’t there. There was a gap.
Trump: Look. You know you’re a fake. You know that. You’re whole network, the way you cover it, is fake. And most of you, but not all of you. And the people are wise to you. That’s why you have a lower approval rating than you’ve ever had before times probably three.
Reid: 20 million people are unemployed. Tens of thousands are dead.
Trump: Why did Biden apologize. Why did he write a letter of apology…
Reid: I don’t think the American people care right now about why Joe Biden apologized.
Trump: No, that’s very important. Why did the Democrats think that I acted too quickly? You know why, because they really thought that I acted too quickly.
Trump: Now, I could have kept it kept it open. And I could have done what some country’s are doing. They are getting beat-up pretty badly. I could have kept it open. I thought of keeping it open. Because no one’s ever heard of closing down a country, let alone the United States of America. But if I would have done that, we would have had hundreds of thousands of people that would right now be dead. We’ve done this right. We really have done this right. The problem is the press doesn’t cover it the way it should be covered.
Some fact-checking is in order:
- Travelers from China continued to come into the country after Trump apparently closed down travel from China. This was not a ban on Chinese travel to the United States. Since Trump claimed he stopped travel to the United States from China over 40,000 people have arrived in the United States on direct flights from China.
- We also know that the president was warned about the potential for a pandemic on multiple occasions well before the virus hit American shores and did little about it.
- We know that several previous U.S. presidents warned the country about this possibility.
But back to Reid and the other journalists who challenged Trump today. I’m not sure I can put it any better than Christian writer David Dark:
— David Dark’s Pleasantry Exchange (@DavidDark) April 14, 2020