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A reporter is under fire for attempting to make President Trump look bad through face masks.
During a press briefing, President Trump said that he couldn't understand the reporter's question.
The reporter spoke louder, but it was muffled.
President Trump respectfully asked for the reporter to take off the mask.
But the reporter refused.
It's important to note that the President as well as the media were also socially distanced at least 6 feet apart.
Furthermore, the press briefing was happening OUTSIDE!
It would be one thing if this were an indoor press briefing.
However, the current scientific evidence suggests that the virus has a harder time spreading outdoors.
See the viral exchange below:
But here's where things get interesting.
The reporter refused to take off the mask while the cameras were rolling...
But when the cameras were off...
The reporters all appeared to take off their masks.
President Trump even retweeted a photo that appears to show the reporter in question WITHOUT his face mask at the White House.
This reportedly happened immediately after the press briefing when the cameras stopped.
This is exactly why the President calls them fake news!
The media portrays one image to their viewers, then behind the scenes, behave very differently.
The Independent has more details on the incident:
A reporter refused to remove his mask after president Donald Trump demanded he did so before asking a question at a White House news conference on Monday.
During the press briefing, Mr Trump criticised his Democratic presidential opponent, Joe Biden, and touted the recovery of the US economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic, before inviting questions from the media.
Mr Trump called on Jeff Mason, a Reuters reporter and former president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, who began to ask his question.
But he was immediately cut off by the president who complained of his "muffled" speech, saying: "You're going to have to take that [the mask] off, please. You can take it off. How many feet are you away?"
Mr Mason refused to remove his face covering and instead offered to speak louder, before the president cut back in, saying: "Well, if you don't take it off, you're very muffled, so if you would take it off, it would be a lot easier."
The reporter, however, stood his ground and slightly raised his voice, before asking: "Is that better?" to which a visibly annoyed president rolled his eyes and replied: "It's... better, yeah."
Other reporters present at the briefing did remove their masks when asking questions. "You sound so clear, as opposed to everybody else,” Mr Trump sarcastically told one journalist, who did remove their face covering while speaking.
The White House Correspondents’ Association, which Mr Mason now serves as vice president after a stint as president from 2016-17, asks its members to wear face coverings while reporting during the coronavirus pandemic.
Again, it's worth noting that everyone was socially distanced at least 6 feet apart.
More importantly, the entire briefing happened outside.
Despite the fact that the reporter spoke louder, he was still very muffled.
The New York Post confirms:
President Trump on Monday asked a reporter to remove his mask while asking a question, but the journalist instead offered to speak louder.
Trump told Reuters reporter Jeff Mason that his face mask “muffled” his question during an outdoors North Portico press conference.
Mason, a former president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, which requires reporters to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic, politely rebuffed Trump.
“You’re going to have to take that off, please. Just, you can take it off. You’re, how many feet are you away?” Trump said.
Mason countered: “I’ll speak a lot louder.”
Trump objected: “Well, if you don’t take it off, you are very muffled. So if you would take it off, it would be a lot easier.”
Mason insisted: “I’ll just speak a lot louder. Is that better?”
Trump, visibly annoyed, said, “It’s better. Yeah — it’s better.”
Trump previously failed to persuade Mason to remove his face mask during a Rose Garden press conference in late May.
“Can you take it off? Because I cannot hear you,” Trump told Mason in May. When Mason offered to speak louder instead, Trump said, “You want to be politically correct.”
Mason, whom Trump praised in the past, often defends the independence of the press corps.
“I don’t think any of us came here for a lecture about our questioning,” he told former acting intelligence director Richard Grenell at a press briefing Friday, defending another journalist.
On Monday, some journalists did remove their masks, including a correspondent for One America News and a reporter for the Guardian.
Most people will only see what happened when the cameras were rolling.
The media will push a narrative of a "brave" reporter standing up to the president.
The reality, however, suggests that this same reporter was totally fine taking off his mask when the cameras stopped.
No wonder the president calls them "fake news!"