MSNBC host: Do you know how many Americans die during Trump’s coronavirus briefings?

Er … the same number of people who would have died even if Donald Trump hadn’t held a briefing? There may be an argument against having a daily presidential briefing during a crippling national emergency, but this ain’t it. Yesterday evening, MSNBC host complained about Trump’s briefing by counting the deaths that took place within them.

Needless to say, this might be the dumbest example of correlation≠causation offered by any significant media figure:

Even keeping in mind that Twitter is a platform that seems custom-built for foolishness, this is a remarkably embarrassing comparison. For one thing, this kind of statistical comparison for criticism’s sake would only make sense in a context of complete inaction. While Trump played golf, 93 Americans died! That would also be fatuous as it would assume that some activity in one place meant complete and total inactivity in another, but this is even dumber. Trump’s briefings are specifically focused on the very thing that is killing these Americans, and which has Trump’s complete attention at the moment … even if Tur seems distracted from it.

Of course, it’s even more ridiculous because it’s only barely correlative, let alone not being at all causative. One can just as easily say, “While Katy Tur hosts her show on MSNBC, 93 Americans die during it!” Should we cancel Tur on that basis? Well, if you don’t like that argument, how about the fact that almost four Americans die in automobile accidents every hour that Tur is on the air? How many of those are kids? Think of the children — take Tur off the air!

For that matter, how many Americans die in auto accidents while MSNBC is broadcasting? Why, it’s 32,000 or more a year!

There’s a larger point here than just Tur, whom one would have presumed to wise up a bit after getting embarrassed on air after claiming that gerrymandering impacts Senate elections. At a moment of national crisis, we have a media industry that continues to obsess over whatever Trump said in February rather than what he’s doing now in a national crisis and filling up valuable air time with their petty grievances. Trump contributes to that by responding in kind, to be sure, but Americans don’t care what Trump said in February, at least not at the moment. They want to know what they’ll be doing for a paycheck tomorrow, and whether they can feed their family next week. The more that media figures indulge themselves in their own petty narratives, the less credible they make themselves.

And the more that kittens die!!11!1!! Well, kittens die while they talk, so using the Tur standard …

Continue reading at Hot Air