People talk about things like “common sense” or “critical thinking.” They’re easy to say. And we all feel like we’re speaking a common language when we say them. But what do those phrases really mean?
Here’s an illustration:
Today, I saw someone post this on Facebook: “People are dying all over the world… And our “leader” is getting excited about his “tv ratings?!?!”
That was followed by this:
I read this post, in its entirety, and the first thought I had was, “Is this really true?” They I wondered how does she know that’s what he was doing. I thought, “Why would he do this?” I started considering what his motivation would be to write this.
It’s hard to believe that he truly sees this as a ratings hit. And I don’t think he could get in the position he’s in by being so callous or tone deaf.
Before I drew my own conclusion on what he wrote, I decided to look at the New York Times article he referenced. (Which, is behind their subscription wall, if you’d like to read the entire article.)
The article starts with this sentence: “President Trump is a ratings hit, and some journalists and public health experts say that could be a dangerous thing.”
Then there’s nearly three paragraphs of straightforward viewership numbers, before it descends back into the critique: “And the audience is expanding even as Mr. Trump has repeatedly delivered information that doctors and public health officials have called ill informed, misleading or downright wrong.”
In the next paragraph, it went on to imply that the husband and wife in Arizona who died ingesting chloroquine phosphate trying to prevent COVID-19 infection did so on President Trump’s recommendation. (Nevermind, it wasn’t even close to the same drug he recommended, and they acted without any medical consultation.)
The article then quotes MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, hardly an unbiased source or friend of Trump’s, saying they shouldn’t televise the briefings “because it’s misinformation.”
So, having read this article, Trump writes the media is upset because people are watching his daily briefings. He tweaks them further by adding, “”Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him.” said one lunatic.”
He ends by saying, “See you at 5:00 P.M.!”
To me, it’s pretty obvious that Trump didn’t proactively write this tweet to tell everyone how great his ratings are. He wrote it to call out the media’s bias against him and point out there’s nothing they can do to stop him from communicating directly with the American people.
Regardless of your views of Trump or these press briefings, I think there’s plenty of evidence to suggest my interpretation of this tweet is precise.
The person who posted this on Facebook went in with a bias and easily found it. But that was lazy thinking, which we see way too much of in this country.
Before we just believe what we read, we have to be more diligent about going through this mental exercise and research.