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CNN Reporter Jim Acosta covered the White House Coro­n­avirus Task Force briefings and received some attention for his pointed ques­tions to Pres­ident Donald Trump. Courtesy | Wiki­media Commons

On Wednesday, cases of COVID-19 sur­passed 200,000 in the United States. While doctors put them­selves at risk to help reduce the casu­alties, the media has made a point of asking slanted ques­tions. Reporters have turned the White House Coro­n­avirus Task Force con­fer­ences into a series of lengthy ban­tering matches.

American fam­ilies, healthcare providers, business owners, and workers are fighting the virus and its eco­nomic impacts on the ground. Mean­while, jour­nalists and politi­cians are fighting each other. They must come together with the rest of the American public to fight the pandemic. 

But some jour­nalists are refusing to do so. CNN reporter Jim Acosta has gained some attention over the past few weeks for his repeated spats with Pres­ident Donald Trump. 

“What do you say to Amer­icans who are upset with you over the way you down­played the crisis?” Acosta asked Monday. To which Trump retorted, “It’s people like you and CNN that say things like that — it’s why people just don’t want to listen to CNN anymore. You could ask a normal question.”

The day before, PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked the pres­ident about a comment he made the night prior on Fox News. “You’ve said repeatedly you think that some of the equipment that gov­ernors are requesting they don’t actually need,” Alcindor said

“Why don’t you act a little more pos­itive?” Trump said. “It’s always trying to getcha, getcha, getcha. And that’s why nobody trusts the media anymore.”

Joe Concha reported in The Hill on March 20 that NBC’s White House cor­re­spondent Peter Alexander com­plained about Trump’s response to a question, which he said later on MSNBC was a “softball.”

But Alexander’s question was decidedly pointed: “Is it pos­sible that your impulse to put a pos­itive spin on things may be giving Amer­icans a false sense of hope and mis­rep­re­senting pre­paredness right now?”

This isn’t to say Trump’s responses are pres­i­dential. He called Alexander “a ter­rible reporter” and said his question was “nasty.” 

Under normal cir­cum­stances, these ques­tions, and the responses Trump gives in return, are simply not helpful. Under a worldwide pan­demic, they are unsafe. Ban­tering between media and politi­cians dis­tracts the American people from the infor­mation they need to know and puts us all in danger. In a time of crisis, it’s the pan­demic we should be fighting — not each other.