As coronavirus cases climb, the White House line is consistent: Everything is well in hand

Traditional journalism aims for neutrality. My social media feed includes voices attacking journalists for for unfairly criticizing a president they support, and voices attacking journalists for uncritically repeating what the president says. But part of journalism does include sharing opinions (in editorials, roundtables, etc.). And part of journalism does call for neutrally reporting what newsmakers say and do.

Journalism is a complicated field, full of many individuals, some of whom fall short in some of their duties — failing to give a fair hearing to a side of a story they don’t personally agree with, failing to question a politician’s exaggeration, failing to contextualize an important number, ignoring the center in favor of ratings-friendly fringe views.

One of the most useful things journalists do is hold politicians accountable to their public statements. Here are some examples of the Washington Post doing just that.

“We have a total of 15 cases,” he reiterated again later, “many of which, or most — within a day, I will tell you most of whom are fully recovered.”

By the end of that day, there were 57 cases in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. What Trump didn’t mention at that news conference was that the country had seen the first case of “community spread” of the virus — meaning a case that emerged in California without being obviously connected to a foreign country. That development suggested that the virus was out of containment.