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More than 90,000 people have signed a petition asking news stations to stop live coverage of the White House information on the coronavirus outbreak.
The petition published on MoveOn.org accuses President Donald Trump of using each briefing as a “live campaign rally”. CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR and Fox News are asked to consider whether a live stream of COVID is required -19 press conferences complete.
“President Trump is openly using the news organizations’ extensive live reporting to freely campaign for a second term,” the petition said. “It is wrong and dangerous to offer so much unlimited airtime to someone happily and shamelessly spreading terrible, harmful misinformation that is already killing other Americans.”; Instead of broadcasting the White House’s COVID-19 briefings live, the MoveOn petition is asking broadcasters to monitor the briefings instead, “and to have your anchors and correspondents quickly share appropriately edited, valuable, and accurate parts.”
The “valuable precise parts”, the petition states, are the statements “from medical experts”. Cutting out Trump’s own comments, the petition said, would “leave the President’s insults, the wrong Braggadocio, and the direct lies on the editorial floor where they belong.”
“Please stop reporting on the President’s daily live rally (barely disguised as a coronavirus press conference),” the petition pleads. “There is no need for that.”
She quickly found support in the days since the petition was launched and has received tens of thousands of signatures in three days when she had only ten.
Speak with Newsweek On Tuesday, Julie Rochman, a retired insurance industry leader who launched the MoveOn campaign, said she was shocked by the support she received in just a few days.
“This is the first time I’ve done this,” said Rochman, in his late 50s. “I thought I would get 100 people to sign it … and then it just blew up.”
Rochman was frustrated by the ongoing struggle to analyze the political facts in the White House coronavirus briefings, and said she first sent the petition to friends and family members to see if they were the same.
However, when hundreds of people started to sign the petition, she said that she had started scrolling through the names of the signatories and found that “all these people, I have no idea who they are”.
Rochman said the surge in support for her petition should send a clear message to both the media and the White House about how Americans feel about how important information is shared with the coronavirus outbreak.
“This is not a time for politics,” she said. At the upcoming presidential election in November, Rochman said, “I know it’s the ‘stupid time of year’ as we said in DC, but it just isn’t helpful. What people need right now is to be well informed and confident feel and not. ” have someone, someone who spreads fear and misinformation and minimizes the effects of the virus. “
The former insurance manager said she wanted to make it clear that she did not support the president’s censorship. However, she said that while the president should be able to “say what he wants,” news organizations “are required to be objective and, as Fox News says, fair and balanced and to report the facts.”
“If the President insults reporters or insults governors or whoever, why do we have to hear the insults?” she asked.
“If the president or vice president wants to bring their gravitas and introduce people, well, but the people who give us the actual information should be experts. And there are many.”
Others who signed Rochman’s petition seemed to agree. A signatory wrote: “Stop promoting this tyrant free publicity that is also dangerous to the public.”
“All he does is lie and insult the people who are actually doing something constructive. He needs some time out,” said another.
While many seem to share these feelings, Rochman said that she also received a lot of criticism, including a wave of hate mail in response to her petition.
“”[People] started emailing me what’s good and bad. People send nasty emails and nice and supportive emails, “she said.” It’s nice to know that there are so many people who think like me. “
Rochman addressed those who sent “evil emails” and said they believed “people are scared, and rightly so.”
“I’m really sorry that some people feel the need to email me evil ad hominem attacks. I tried to respond with kindness. I just think people are scared.”
In the end, Rochman said, “I just want us to have the best possible information. I’m just saying: Can we only have the facts?”
Despite criticism of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the president has played a key role in the White House briefings on COVID-19 and has frequently asked questions about the U.S. response to the outbreak, including the introduction of tests and access to personal information through the country protective equipment.
Vice President Mike Pence listens to U.S. President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden for the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House in Washington on March 29, 2020. D.C. Trump has been criticized for dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
In a briefing on Monday, the President was the center of attention and answered a question why the United States did not test as many people per capita as other countries by claiming the United States was “very similar” to other nations.
“We have huge arable landscapes. We have huge areas where they don’t have a big problem. In some cases, they have no problem at all,” he said. “We did more tests … I didn’t talk about per capita tests. We did far more tests than any other country in the world.”
In addition, Trump said, “Our tests are better than in any other country in the world. And if you look at it that easily, it’s something that changes the game, and every country wants it. Every country.”
“Instead of asking such a question,” continued Trump, warning the journalist, “you should congratulate the people who ran these tests because we inherited – this administration inherited a broken system, a system that was out of date, a system that. ” did not work. It was okay for a tiny, small group of people, but when you got beyond it, it didn’t work. “
Since the start of the briefings, the White House has been repeatedly asked to keep politics out of the briefings. Scott Dworkin, co-founder of the Democratic Coalition, was an outspoken critic of Trump’s participation in the press conferences.
In a series of tweets on Monday, Dworkin asked broadcasters to stop sending Trump’s comments with the hashtag “#StopAiringTrump”.
“I’m watching Trump’s press conference so you don’t have it. Instead of watching, please let all the networks know that we don’t want a pathologically lying politician to get the corona virus under control,” he wrote. “We want doctors to talk about facts and science. Period. No more Trump propaganda.”