Trump’s rage at the media takes a dangerous new turn

Greg Sargent writing in The Washington Post:

  • relentlessly minimized the coronavirus threat for nakedly political reasons
  • disastrously hampering the federal government response to the crisis
  • telling millions of Americans to entirely shut out any and all correctives to his falsehoods
  • using his megaphone to tell the American people not to trust an institution they must rely on for information amid an ongoing public health emergency, all because that institution held him accountable for his own failures on this front
  • Unloaded in a fury at a PBS reporter (who asked) a perfectly reasonable question about whether he takes responsibility for the 2018 disbanding on his watch of the White House pandemic office
  • repeatedly lashed out at reporters for … trying to hold him accountable for his own words and deeds
  • relentless efforts to persuade the country that coronavirus is no big deal.

Trump has told the American people to dismiss what the media is telling them. First, Trump insisted initial reporting on the crisis was deliberately hyped to harm him. Now Trump is claiming efforts to hold him accountable for all the failings that flowed from that impulse are just more “fake news.”

The big story here is that we’re now seeing just how catastrophically unsuited Trump’s brand of autocracy truly is in the face of a crisis like this one. As Anne Applebaum details, Trump’s enforcement of a loyalty code against civil service professionals, and his retaliation against them for exposing inconvenient truths, paved the way for Trump’s pathologies to hamper the response, because “Trump has very few truth-tellers around him anymore.”

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