‘Absurd’: Brit Hume has message for fellow media comparing Trump briefings to campaign rallies

Brit Hume and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer rebuked critics in the media who have been whining about President Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings.

The Fox News senior political analyst denounced the complaints and the “absurd” comparison CNN host Don Lemon made when he said the news briefings were Trump’s “new rallies.”

(Source: Fox News)

“I haven’t noticed a lot of reporters gathered in front of the president asking him questions at his rallies and I never detected the presence at his rallies of Dr. [Deborah] Birx and Dr. [Anthony] Fauci explaining the daily data of death and illness that they must interpret … through this pandemic,” Hume said on “The Story” Tuesday.

Lemon was among many liberal voices suggesting the president’s coronavirus task force briefings not be carried live by media outlets, claiming on Monday that the briefings have become Trump’s new version of his old reality show “The Apprentice.”

“Those press briefings have become his new ‘Apprentice,'” Lemon said on “CNN Tonight” Monday. “They’ve become his new rallies. And he treats the press and the media as if he’s talking to the people at his rallies. It’s the same thing. It’s no different except the audience isn’t there.”

“I think the comparison being made here is absurd,” Hume told Fox News host Martha MacCallum, adding that Lemon’s comment “seems to be on its face preposterous.”

Hume admitted that Trump does, at times, “brag” and “fence with reporters” but the setting is still more like a press conference than a rally, noting that Americans are depending on the daily updates.

“Reporters are like people who have one tool,” he said. “You’ve heard the famous saying, ‘If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.'”

“If the only thing you’ve ever been is a political reporter and you are covering the White House briefings on a major worldwide pandemic, you might be tempted to ask a lot of political questions, which is what they’ve done,” Hume continued.

“Of course, the president is a political actor and he says things that may be to his political benefit … criticizes his critics and all that. But I think people have been hungry in this country for information on this pandemic and I think these briefings have been an absolute fountain of information about that subject,” Hume contended.

He went on to praise Tuesday’s news briefing was “very helpful.”

“Today’s briefing, which was so sobering and full of detail and such troubling news was a perfect example,” Hume said. “We got a lot of explanations with charts and graphs and so on, and we got very good explanations of the failings of models and why you can’t always take them … it was very helpful.”

“If you dismiss these as nothing but rallies,” Hume added, “you are missing the point. If you are asking questions about nothing but politics, you are missing it again.”

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer found the calls by Trump critics to stop airing the coronavirus briefings “really distressing.”

“It’s not because he’s accurate or inaccurate, it’s actually because his job approval is going up. That’s the reason,” Fleischer told Fox News host Dana Perino on “The Daily Briefing.

“If his job approval was going down, they’d be the first ones to insist on broadcasting it live,” the Fox News contributor added, rebuking those who “don’t want the president to be seen on TV” during a crisis.

(Source: Fox News)

“That’s what’s driving them,” Fleischer continued. “They just cannot stand to see the president have any type of success.”

The former press secretary also called out the press for its treatment of Trump.

“It’s bad for democracy when people start calling on the media to censor the president at a time like this,” Fleischer said. “It’s not what we should be doing.”

He also criticized the media’s lack of pushback against China while relentlessly criticizing Trump, as he reacted to remarks by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who noted the need for transparency and getting accurate data from countries like China.

“I can’t for the life of me understand why the press is tougher on President Trump than they are on President Xi,” Fleischer said, “but they seem to be giving China a general pass for this.”

“Many reporters are doing their best asking scientific questions, asking substantive questions, but there is still too much of a strain in the media where they are fighting the last war, which is just politically confront anything and everything Donald Trump does and really give China a pass,” Fleischer said.

“That’s not going to cut it for this crisis,” he added. “The American people want deeper, fuller reporting.”


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