CNN’s Reliable Sources demonstrated the usual partisan tilt on Sunday. Host Brian Stelter came out of the latest live briefing from Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York championing his “glass half-full” approach. Then he turned to CNN medical contributor Dr. James Phillips, and they both gushed over Cuomo’s briefings as so much better than President Trump’s.
STELTER: People talked about the contrast between the President's briefings and these governor briefings. What stands out to you about these governor's briefings? I loved how Cuomo was talking about cabin fever, trying to help people through the therapy part of this, the psychology of this experience.
PHILLIPS: And that's a display of fantastic crisis messaging. Governor Cuomo is being -- is popular in the United States for a reason. He's doing exactly what should be done. He's reliable, he's incredibly knowledgeable about the situation, and impressively, even the medical aspects of what's going on there.
You want someone who is in authority who's also comforting, displays empathy and sympathy. And so, there's a reason why people are tuning in to watch his briefings. There is a sharp contrast with the way the President's style is. And my criticisms of President Trump are not political in any way.
You know, he's not only the commander in chief right now, but he's also the incident commander for the entire nation when it comes to what we call the incident command structure. And so we turn to him for leadership and we turn to him for advice.
And we also turn to him because our hearts are hurting and we need someone to give us real hope and also shoot it to a straight. And I think that there is a failure on his part as the incident commander when it comes to messaging.
A few minutes later, Stelter turned to Susan Glasser of The New Yorker for the usual sturm und drang about how horrible the president is:
STELTER: Here's a tweet from the Trump reelection campaign saying President Trump is reaching for hope and journalists just want to shoot him down. And here's Senator Ted Cruz saying, right now, too many in the press are giddy with glee. Susan Glasser, are you giddy?
SUSAN GLASSER: It's just an absurd and outrageous statement. You know, I can't think of a more collective act of the American people watching day after day the inconsistency and untruth and misleading nature and confusing response by the federal government in the form of the president over the last few months.
So my perspective is this, and I haven't watched, I think, basically every single one of these briefings. My takeaway, you know, I wrote about them as comparable to, if not worse than the "5 O'Clock Follies" during the Vietnam era at which the Pentagon lied to the American people about the Vietnam War. I believe that this is Donald Trump's version of that.
I think there's a very real debate. And I'm, I'm glad I don't have to be the one to make the decision as far as airing these briefings on television because I think that's a very difficult decision. And I think your previous guest has suggested why it's very problematic to expose people to so many untruths about the public health from the president.
Glasser mourned it's "monumental and breathtaking in many ways, the collapse of leadership that we've seen at a time when actual lives are at stake over the last few months."