This week I engaged with two programs. First, I listened to NBC’s Meet the Press episode from October 20, 2019. The topics Chuck Todd discussed regarded President Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, confirmed a quid pro quo with Ukraine, criticism of the president’s decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria, and the president sided with his critics to rethink the location for the 2020 G-7 summit. I also listened to the October 18th On the Media podcast titled “Hanging in There.” Bob Garfield discussed how the press reports on the Kurds as US allies, what life has been like in Syria since the Turkish invasion, and debate moderators asking about increasing taxes is a trap. Although both programs focused on President Trump’s decision to discontinue protecting Kurdish fighters in Syria, what stood out to me from the Meet the Press episode was the Doral decision.
President Trump’s decision to retract his decision to host the G-7 meeting in 2020 at Trump National Resort in Doral, Florida made me think about the criteria a location must meet for the White House to consider it. The Meet the Press panelist, Joshua Johnson, stated Doral “is a bad place to hold this event” because it is surrounded by residential areas and one cannot “buttress it on one side, which is what’s often done at G7 summits” (“Meet the Press”). I wondered which other sites the White House examined as potential host locations, as well as the security requirements the spaces must meet? President Trump claimed in a tweet that he will no longer consider Doral as the host site because of “both media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational hostility” (“@realDoanldTrump”). I agree with Danz Ball, another panelist on Meet the Press, who suggested the reason the president reversed his decision is because he has “just too many fronts that he’s fighting right now” (“Meet the Press”). This gives President Trump’s critics a chance to give him credit for seeing some error in his logic. It also prevents the president’s appearance of profiting from foreign leaders by hosting it at his resort. After the public access programming, I listened to On the Media’s “Hanging in the Balance” episode.
What stood out to me from this podcast was the way the NPR International Correspondent, Daniel Estrin, and the host, Bob Garfield, communicated with their interviewees. Garfield asked Estrin about how NPR balances the danger of reporting with the urgency of being a witness to the unsafe circumstances. Estrin said coverage doesn’t stop even if they are not on the ground reporting. While Estrin reported in Syria about the Turkish airstrikes, he called Syrians inside northeast Syria on WhatsApp and told them to send voice memos for them to play on the radio. This ability to play such personal stories and hear them from a primary source is incredible. I heard an example of this first-hand account when Garfield spoke with activist and co-president of a local health authority in Rojava, Rapareen abd Elhameed Hasn, via Skype. Listening to her personal account of her life working at the health center before the invasion and recounting the things many people live without since the invasion elicits my empathy and compassion for her. She said the internet cuts in and out, so it is a unique and special opportunity for Garfield to interview her for the podcast’s audience to listen to.
@realDonaldTrump. “....Therefore, based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational
Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020. We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!” Twitter, 19, Oct. 2019, 8:52 p.m., https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1185735579327193093