NEW YORK (AP) – Do you remember the presidential debate? The revelation on how much President Donald Trump pays in taxes? The appointment of a new US Supreme Court?
They all happened in the last week. Then they were remembered just as quickly when it was revealed on Friday that Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. News, important news, rush by at the speed of light.
Memory more than full.
“I don’t know how many writers who worked on political melodramas just cleared their files and opened a bottle of scotch,”
Seventeen hours after the world learned of the president’s diagnosis, televised images showed the president walking towards the Marine One helicopter before taking off to take it to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Minutes later, he tweeted a video image thanking people for their concern.
“I think I’m very fine, but we will make sure everything goes well,” he said.
The hospital trip increased speculation about how sick the president was. CNN’s medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta called it “a little troubling”.
Meanwhile, the White House Correspondents Association announced that three journalists there tested positive for COVID on Friday. All had reported on events in the White House last weekend. The Association of Correspondents urged all of its members who are not assigned to small pools to follow the president and who do not have closed workplaces to work from home.
The coronavirus story unfolded just after 8 p.m. Eastern Thursday when Jennifer Jacobs, a reporter for the Bloomberg News White House, tweeted that sources had told her that Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s closest advisors, had tested positive. Trump confirmed that news in a tweet two and a half hours later, adding that he and First Lady Melania Trump had been tested and were waiting in quarantine for the results.
Then at 12:54 a.m. east, the president tweeted that both were positive.
“It’s a lot to wake up to,” said Savannah Guthrie, who heads NBC’s “Today” show for those who were asleep when the news came on.
There were many prospects for reporters, and questions have been raised as to why Trump went to a fundraiser Thursday when he knew Hicks was sick. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was specifically asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask when he briefed reporters on Friday afternoon.
ABC’s hiring of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as an analyst paid off when he told a Good Morning America audience that he had been to the White House for several days through Tuesday to prepare the debate, and that none something of Trump’s aide wore masks. Christie looked shocked and was preparing herself for a test.
Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace, who hosted the Trump-Biden debate in Cleveland on Tuesday night, said he didn’t get any closer to Trump than it was on TV. He appeared on the network several times on Friday for updates and said the day’s lesson was “wear the damn mask”.
Wallace also had harsh words for Scott Atlas, a former Fox guest who recently had the president’s ear for advice on coronavirus policy.
“Listen to the independent people who don’t have a political ax to sharpen,” Wallace said. “And I honestly don’t think Scott Atlas is one of those people.”
For much of Friday, Twitter was a bunch of announcements of positive (like Ronna McDaniel, Chair of the Republican National Committee) and negative (Democratic opponent Joe Biden and his wife Jill) testing.
It was all a bit exhausting. Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather said it felt like he had “newsquake”.
“I don’t remember a week in which there were so many important stories in the same week, not since World War II,” he said. Whenever a narrative begins, “something is booming, something comes in and changes the subject.”
Greenfield, 77, said he couldn’t remember a time when such important news came so quickly and furiously. This makes Bob Woodward’s book on the Trump administration and the revelations it contains feel like an old story.
Greenfield recommends that people take some time out on social media and television. Read a novel. Watch some sports.
“You might want to go for a walk,” he said. “But by the time you get back, the asteroid may have hit or the aliens landed and you have a whole new story.”