“You shouldn’t risk your life reporting to work at the White House,” CNN security analyst Sam Vinograd tweeted Monday, after Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two of her aides became the latest members of the Trump administration to test positive for the virus.
CBS White House correspondent Ben Tracy took the hyperbolic fear to another level, saying, “I felt safer reporting in North Korea than I currently do at the White House. This is just crazy.”
I felt safer reporting in North Korea than I currently do reporting at The White House. This is just crazy.
— Ben Tracy (@benstracy) October 5, 2020
The sentiment appeared to strike chord with Trump critics. Some have scolded the White House Correspondents Association for “sending people into these super-spreader events,” while others called for the White House press corps to “walk out en masse” in protest.
Conservative media pundits argued that the fears were overblown, rather seeing them as another opportunity to vilify Trump and his administration. Podcast host Michael Doran responded to Tracy’s North Korea tweet by saying, “Twitter has its faults, but at least it offers a window onto the hallucinatory world of the news people who claim to be reporting on reality.”
Twitter has its faults, but at least it offers a window onto the the hallucinatory world of the newspeople who claim to be reporting on reality. https://t.co/HoiSFdTTPt
— Fiery but peaceful Mike (@Doranimated) October 5, 2020
In North Korea, reporters get sentenced to death for just reporting the truth, let alone criticizing the government. In America, we give guys like you White House press credentials.
— Kristin Shapiro (@mrsshap) October 5, 2020
Some suggested that Tracy move to North Korea for safer working conditions. “I am genuinely and personally offering to pay for a full trip to North Korea for you and crew,” Blaze TV host Elijah Schaffer said. “Only catch is, you have to act the exact same way in North Korea as you do at the White House. Move freely, walk without a guide, speak poorly of the leader, negatively about the country.”
I am genuinely & personally offering to pay for a full trip to North Korea for you & crew
Only catch is you have to act the exact same way in NK as you do at the White House
Move freely, walk w/out a guide, speak poorly of the leader, negatively about the country
Let’s see https://t.co/JpUKoC4JrI
— ELIJAH RIOT (@ElijahSchaffer) October 5, 2020
Others encouraged the reporters to quit, while conservative journalist Jack Posobiec called for all correspondents who attended recent White House events to be identified “so contact tracing of their newsrooms can commence.” Author Mike Cernovich agreed, saying, “Watch now how all of the rules the press said must be applied to every else get ignored by the media when applied to themselves.”
Feel free to quit!
— JT Lewis (@thejtlewis) October 5, 2020
The White House outbreak apparently began last Thursday, when Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and high-level aide Hope Hicks tested positive. Several other White House staffers and people who had been in close contact with President Trump’s inner circle – including former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Senators Mike Lee, Thom Tillis and Ron Johnson – have since tested positive.
At least three White House reporters have tested positive, and the White House Correspondents Association said some members are awaiting test results. CNN reporter Jim Acosta tweeted a picture of a normally busy press area at the White House, saying it was almost empty because administration staffers were working from home. He also tweeted a photo of McEnany, who was not wearing a mask, briefing reporters on the White House grounds yesterday.
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