News Networks Must Rebut Trump’s Briefings

Donald Trump has turned his daily COVID-19 briefings into campaign events, which demand consistent and swift rebuttal, writes Truthout.

Some networks have considered suspending coverage or have switched away during Trump’s broadcast. But so doing denies the world the reality of the catastrophe.

Networks should instead fully air these “chaotic, embarrassing, deeply disturbing displays of presidential dishonesty and incompetence,” followed immediately by equal time for rebuttal—similar to the practice following State of the Union addresses.

Democrats or progressive leaders and non-aligned experts should have the opportunity to fact-check, discuss, and point out the lies and ignorance in Trump’s self-aggrandizement.

New COVID-19 Relief Bill Lacks Progressive Needs

On Thursday, Congress voted nearly unanimously to approve a $484 billion COVID-19 economic relief bill. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the sole opposing Democrat and spoke out on the House floor to advocate for rent relief and better public health measures.

Democracy Now! discusses the bill with guest David Dayden. It adds $310 billion to the small business Paycheck Protection Program, which has funded 1.6 million small businesses and has hundreds of thousands more pending relief. To defraying hospital costs went $75 billion and to surge testing $25 billion.

But the bill also allocated much money to large corporations and left out key progressive measures for individuals such as rent relief, fixing the Postal Service, ensuring vote by mail for the November election, and payroll support.

Insufficient Democratic Crisis Response

U.S. Democratic leadership has consistently disparaged and dismissed the Green New Deal—which proposes measures that could be mitigating the devastation of the coronavirus and climate crises, writes In These Times.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spoke frequently in 2019 to assure that established leaders could address crises without radicals’ naive measures such as the social programs outlined in the GND.

But even in the $2 trillion stimulus bill, Democrats allowed for a $500 billion corporate bailout, while giving workers an insufficient one-time $1,200 payment. ProPublica investigates how, for many poor people, this money is inaccessible anyway.

While corporations collect government bailouts, GND supporters say the plummeting price of oil offers an opportunity to nationalize oil, strengthen the economy, and move towards renewable energy.

Trump Attacks US Postal Service

Donald Trump on Friday threatened to withhold all future COVID-19 relief funding from the U.S. Postal Service unless it quadruples its shipping prices, reports Common Dreams.

Such a price increase would strain retailers, consumers, postal workers, and likely the USPS itself, during a time when many purchases must be made online.

Critics are accusing Trump of trying to destroy the USPS to suppress voting by mail, an option the pandemic has sparked calls to widen. Trump has been baselessly attacking mail-in voting as insecure.

Senator Bernie Sanders observed in a tweet the senselessness of exploiting and attempting to privatize America’s most popular government agency during a pandemic.

Police Criminalizing Black People During COVID-19

On April 17, six U.S. senators, including Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, sent a letter to the Department of Justice and FBI demanding bias training for police officers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Colorlines reports this call is in response to reports from around the country of police targeting black people for wearing protective face masks and black men for not wearing masks. A video shows two black men being escorted from a grocery store for wearing masks, while another shows a black man being forced off public transit for not wearing one, despite other face coverage.

As Colorlines previously reported, black people are afraid to wear masks in public for fear of racial profiling.

Amplifying the Coronavirus Protests

Anti-lockdown rallies have been seen in several states this past week, with Donald Trump even tweeting to provoke a few. Fox news dedicated substantial airtime to these “Freedom Rallies,” attempting to make them appear to be part of a grassroots movement.

But, as Columbia Journalism reports, these protests may be “Astroturf”—a simulation of grassroots action. Some of the largest Facebook groups used to organize many of these protests are run by the far-right, pro-gun activist Dorr family. These groups have espoused coronavirus misinformation seen at the protests.

News outlets that run photos and videos of the protests are playing into the desire to make the movement appear larger than it is. With reporting should come context of political organizations’ machinations.

Corporate Media Driving Biden’s Primary Victory

FAIR analyzes the role of corporate media—such as Comcast-owned MSNBC, AT&T-owned CNN, and News Corp-owned Fox News—in the 2020 election cycle.

As FAIR consistently documented, corporate media outlets have aggressively pushed centrist and right-wing Democratic candidates like Joe Biden while assailing progressives like Bernie Sanders as “unelectable”—even though exit polls show most voters agree with Sanders ideologically.

Corporate media outlets frame criticism as conspiracy theory, often putting scare quotes around “corporate media” as if to deny their existence. Another strategy to nullify criticism has been to equate Sanders’ disapprovals with Donald Trump’s. But in a Columbia Journalism Review op-ed, Sanders promoted a diversity of media sources not owned by the same handful of companies and “benevolent billionaires.”

A Mindful Antidote to a Pandemic

Fair Observer offers a guide to introspection and mindfulness during the pandemic—steps aiming to “unlock ourselves, during the lockdown, from meaningless trepidation and worry.”

To attend to mental, emotional, and physical health, find an achievable exercise and maintain it. While it doesn’t have to be much, exercise releases endorphins and clears the mind. Reach out to a missed friend or family member through a simple text or phone call to feel more normal and connected.

Consider finding a hobby to disengage from a boring routine. Or offer time to others for chores or listening. Try taking time to steep in the details of nostalgic childhood memories.

Jared Yates Sexton with the tweet of the week:
Inside Clean Energy

InsideClimate News checks in with developers of clean energy projects previously scheduled to be completed this year. Companies report small delays at worst, costing no more than a few months.

COVID-19, in most cases, is affecting the availability of resources needed to complete projects: electronic equipment for a Wyoming wind farm and workers’ housing for a Wisconsin solar farm.

Due to the economic uncertainties of the pandemic, the development of an Ohio plastics manufacturing plant has been put on an indefinite hold. Environmental activists have opposed bringing petrochemicals to a region already befouled by coal and steel.

The Headlines

1. Coronavirus: ‘No evidence’ recovered patients are immune to re-infection, warns WHO (The Independent)

2. We Are Living in a Failed State (The Atlantic)

3. These Health Care Workers Spoke Out. Their Hospitals Fired Them. (HuffPost)

4. Coronavirus: Worldwide death toll climbs to 200,000 (BBC)

5. Trump says briefings ‘not worth the effort’ amid fallout from disinfectant comments (The Guardian)