The less we have of these blowhards flapping their yaps the better we all will be…
Why is the Media Exempt from Coronavirus Business Shutdowns?
Is sticking microphones in front of senior citizens not a public health hazard?
“You’re actually sitting too close,” President Trump remarked at a press briefing. “Really, we should probably get rid of about 75, 80 percent of you.”
Trump was only partly joking.
The White House Correspondents Association had asked its members to sit one seat apart at press briefings, but at a time when most businesses have been shut down even when they offer far more space to customers and employees, the sight of crowded press briefings is still surreally hypocritical.
Governor Jared Polis delivered his press briefing on social distancing surrounded by a huddle of other Colorado officials, including a sign language translator, and tightly packed reporters facing him. That’s not unusual. Governors and mayors have announced the shutdown of countless businesses for the sake of social distancing in the same format that is the opposite of social distancing.
The exemption for the media from coronavirus rules extends beyond these strange scenes.
When Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an order effectively shutting down most New York non-essential businesses, the list of essential organizations exempted from the order included hospitals, power plants, pharmacies, farms, banks, supermarkets, and the media. One of these items is not like the others.
The essential businesses provide necessary services that allow people to function. That’s not the media.
The question of what is an “essential business” is the difference between employment or unemployment, staying in business or going bankrupt, for millions of Americans. It’s a weighty financial and moral question that the media has entirely evaded by cutting in line and relying on its privilege.
A generation ago it might have been argued that the media provides important updates, but in the age of Twitter and handheld access to any website, the idea that the public is dependent on the media to stay informed about coronavirus health and safety information, or any other emergency issue, is silly.