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Mar 21 2020

Cut His Mike

Donald Trump’s life blood is the news media, especially cable news, since he doesn’t read. Since he took residence in the people’s house, he has manipulated the them to send his message to the followers of his cult and campaign for his reelection. When some of the cable news outlets stopped televising his sporadic lie fest press conferences with Sarah Huckleberry Sanders, she quit and he just stopped giving them. Now, with everything being shut down and mass gatherings banned due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump has turned the daily briefings at the White House with his “task force” on the pandemic into his own campaign rallies to stoke his frail ego, spewing lies and misinformation.

At yesterday’s pressed he disputed his own infectious disease expert, Dr. Antony Fauci, after a reporter asked about the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat patients infected with the virus.

Fauci: That evidence is anecdotal evidence. As the president mentioned yesterday, we are trying to strike a balance between making something that has potential of an effect available, at the same time we do it under protocol that would give us the information to determine if it is truly saving effective. But the information is anecdotal, it was not done in a clinical trial, so we cannot make a definitive statement about it.

Trump: Without saying too much, I am probably more of a fan of that than may be than anybody. But I am a big fan. We will see what happens. We understand what the doctor says is 100% correct, certainly. But I have seen things that are impressive. We will know soon. We will see. Including safety. But when you talk about safely, this has been prescribed for many years for people to combat malaria, which was a big problem. It is very effective. It is a strong drug. We will see…look, it may work, it may not work. I agree with the doctor. It may not work. But I feel good about it. That is all it is, just a feeling. You know, I am a smart guy. I feel good about it. We will see soon enough. We have big samples of people, if you look at the people. There are people in big trouble. This is not a drug that obviously I think I can speak for a lot of, from a lot of experience going because it has been out there for over 20 years. So it is not a drug that you have a huge amount of danger with. It is not a brand-new drug just created that may have a monumental effect, like kill you. We will know very soon. The FDA is working hard to get out. Right now in terms of malaria, if you want that you can get a prescription. By the way, it is very effective. It works. I have a feeling—I am not being optimistic or pessimistic. I think we should give it a try. There has been some interesting things that are happening. Some very good things. Let’s see what happens. We have nothing to lose. You know that expression? What the hell do you have to lose?

“What the hell do you have to lose?” How about your life???

This is not the first time that Trump has spouted misinformation about this virus, its spread and its treatment. It also dangerous.

Hydroxychloroquine is a class of drugs used to treat and prevent malaria, a tropical disease spread by mosquitoes. It is also used to treat discoid or systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis in patients whose symptoms have not improved with other treatments. While Trump thinks he a medical doctor now and say that the drug is safe, it’s not. Beside the obnoxious side effects of headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, and skin rashes, it also has these nasty side effects that can be fatal: heart arrhythmias (irregular heart beat) and liver failure. It can also damage the retina of the eye, although that only happens with long term use. It also doesn’t mix well with other drugs like insulin, digoxin (a drug that regulates heart irregularities) and drugs that control seizures.

Hydroxychloriquine is far from an innocuous, or safe, drug.

From our favorite uncle, Charlie Pierce

You know, he’s a smart guy who has feelings so what do you have to lose? This, of course, just as well could be used to defend such therapeutic regimes as bleeding, boring for the simples, and voodoo. It is time for networks to stop televising the daily briefings from the Coronavirus SuperFriends live. They are vehicles for dangerous disinformation and for the president*’s re-election campaign. You get the sense that he’s getting juiced for them now that he can’t hold his mass rallies any more. But, mainly, people are told things at these briefings that at worst are perilously untrue. (Has he actually activated the Defense Production Act? Nobody seems sure.) And at best they provide false comfort for a nervous nation, which is what Alexander rightly was trying to get at when he served up that softball about frightened Americans. The president* responded by hitting himself repeatedly over the head with his bat. Somebody get the hook.

It’s time that cable news cuts his mike.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow reviewed the empty promises and overpromises Donald Trump has made about the federal response to the coronavirus crisis and points out that his repeated lies and misinformation are not harmless when the stakes are as high as they are with this epidemic, and the media should consider not airing his press conferences live.

Maddow brought up an exchange from that briefing about a malaria drug that the president talked up while Dr. Anthony Fauci was taking a far more cautious tone about it.

“The president loves saying things like, you know, ‘There’s a drug we’ve got, it’s very effective. It approved already. Everybody is going to get it.’ He loves saying things like that because that would be a lovely thing to be able to tell people,” she continued, “unless, of course, that’s not true, and telling people a fairy tale like that is cruel and harmful and needlessly diverting and wildly irresponsible from anyone in any leadership role. It’s actually wildly responsible if someone said that to you from a barstool if any of us could go to bars anymore, but to get from the presidential podium?” [..]

“If it were up to me, and it’s not, I would stop putting those briefings on live TV. Not out of spite, but because it’s misformation. If the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape. But if he keeps lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, all of us should stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it’s going to cost lives,” she concluded.

Maddow brought up a few more claims made by the president before saying that the president’s remarks could be genuinely harmful

In this time of crisis, the country will be better served if the media just reports the information that is accurate and factual. The best way to do that is cut Trump’s mike.