President Donald Trump wasn’t telling you to mainline Lysol.
I shudder to think of the kind of person who thought he did. We’ve been informed that Trump has to take things super duper seriously after a man died and a woman became critically ill because they drank fish tank cleaner because one of the ingredients sounded a lot like the drug chloroquine but was in fact poisonous. It turns out the woman who survived wasn’t even a Trump supporter.
Her response was also obviously so far outside of the normal range of intelligent human response as to make the whole thing almost a sick joke. Instead, the media treated it in a po-faced manner, pretending that the president’s touting of chloroquine as a possible cure could end up hurting an untold number of Americans who thought drinking aquarium cleaner was a good way to prevent COVID-19 even if you didn’t have it in the first place.
All of this informed the media’s reaction to a sarcastic comment from the president which was made out to be a suggestion that Americans with COVID tie off and shoot some Lysol into their veins.
Trump had begun by talking about whether or not ultraviolet light kills the novel coronavirus.
“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it,” Trump said during Thursday’s White House coronavirus media briefing.
“And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too. It sounds interesting.”
That should have been the tip-off that this was a sarcastic rejoinder to reporters about cures.
You can’t bring light inside the body. The president knows that. You know that. The cure to coronavirus won’t involve us skinning people and putting light inside their body. In fact, I’m kind of surprised this part didn’t get more play because it’s actually just as harmful.
But I digress, because then we got to the 24-karat headline from Thursday’s briefing.
“Then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning,” Trump said.
“Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that.”
Trump didn’t specify a type of disinfectant, but it quickly became Lysol because that made it a lot easier for everyone to use his remarks as a bludgeon.
The President suggested injecting Lysol into the human body to treat #COVID19.
Something is very wrong with this guy.
We should be very concerned.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) April 24, 2020
And from Democrats’ mouths to the media’s ears, here’s what happened:
NBC News: “Lysol maker warns against internal use of disinfectants after Trump comments”
CNN: “Lysol maker: Please don’t drink our cleaning products.”
Vanity Fair: “Lysol Manufacturer Warns Trump Is a Dangerous Moron, ‘Under No Circumstance’ Should Disinfectant Be Injected in Body.” (Sub-headline: “Yes, it has come to this.”)
Well, no, it really hasn’t. The dangerous morons were the ones who took these remarks seriously — or at least pretended to take them seriously, which may or may not be worse.
The context in which a man says you should take a disinfectant internally — we’ll just say Lysol, since that’s what we’ve all agreed is the brand-name synecdoche to represent these remarks — was clearly sarcastic.
Appropriate? Perhaps not. Serious? Definitely not.
On Friday, Trump and members of his administration cleared up something that didn’t need clearing up for a media that takes an especial joy in reporting negative things about him.
“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters, like you, just to see what would happen,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
“When I was asking a sarcastic — a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside. But it does kill it, and it would kill it on the hands and that would make things much better. That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to the reporters,” he continued.
Trump added that he was engaging in verbal pugilism with “extraordinarily hostile people” in the news media. I wonder where anyone would have gotten that impression.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that the remarks were — duh — being taken out of context.
“President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing,” McEnany said in a statement Friday, according to The Hill.
“Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines,” she continued.
I didn’t realize we actually had to address this was sarcasm, but, yes, it has come to this. The president’s relationship with the media has gotten to the point where sarcasm becomes a serious story in which Lysol is left to tell people that “we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).”
There wasn’t a single person in the White House media briefing room Thursday who didn’t know that. There isn’t a single person who didn’t know the president knew that and he was saying it in a mocking tone.
And yet, that’s not how it was reported. What a shocker.
Oh, just a disclaimer for legacy media types that might be reading this: I didn’t really consider it a shocker. I was being sarcastic. Most of our readers know that, but apparently you folks have a hard time figuring that out.
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