CNN issued a blistering critique of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus and claimed that he adopted “the audacity of false hope” in trying to raise Americans’ spirits during the country’s public health countermeasures. By doing so, CNN implied that Trump should not be promoting a message of hope to the American public that the country can overcome the virus.
The analysis said that “it is also becoming clear” that Trump’s rhetoric is an attempt to try “to get everyone to look the other way” as the pandemic dominated the news cycle. But CNN did not explain why a message of hope was inappropriate, given the circumstances facing Americans. It also failed to elaborate whether a message of doom-and-gloom would serve Americans better than Trump’s current upbeat and hopeful message.
Instead, CNN focused on the negatives surrounding Trump’s response, such as making allegedly false promises on the government’s efforts to discover a vaccine and get credit for taking control of the country’s response to the coronavirus. “I’m hearing very good things on the ground,” Trump said about America’s response to the virus, but CNN said that he was unwilling to “address the conflict between the sunny White House view and terrible choices facing doctors.”
CNN also criticized Trump for playing the blame game with China to score political points, but their criticism lacked detail and context. “There are serious questions to be asked about the transparency of the Chinese government in Beijing over the emergence of the virus late last year,” CNN said. But CNN’s one-sentence criticism did not specify that the Chinese government covered up the virus for weeks. As a result of the government’s coordinated cover-up, which included the government ordering the destruction of coronavirus samples, the world lost time to prepare for the virus’s spread. CNN should use stronger language to convey the seriousness of China’s mistakes in handling the spread of the virus.
The cable news network’s claim that Trump was wrong to promote a message of optimism and hope was an example of unethical journalism. It is not the media’s job to tell lawmakers which messages to convey, but it is their job to report on what the lawmakers’ messages are. CNN should recognize that leaders promote hopeful messages in tough times, such as the United Kingdom’s Winston Churchill during World War Two or President George W. Bush after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trump is doing the same to help raise Americans’ spirits during the coronavirus crisis.