During a press briefing by the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force led by Donald Trump, an Asian American reporter asked a question that prompted one reporters to say, it was the “dumbest question I ever heard.”
Chanel Rion, a Korean American reporter for OAN (One America News), the unabashedly pro-Trump media outlet asked what appeared to be a staged question intended to give Trump the opportunity to blast the mainstream media.
Before she even started, Trump interjected: “OAN — very good,” he said. “Thank you very much, they treat me very nicely. Go ahead.”
“Mr. President, do you consider the term ‘Chinese food’ to be racist because it is food that originated from China?” Rion asked leaning forward in her chair.
“I don’t think that’s racist at all,” Trump played along.
“On that note, major left-wing media, even in this room, have teamed up with Chinese communist party narratives, and they are claiming you are racist for making these claims about ‘Chinese virus,’” Rion continued, before serving up a question meant to be a softball for Trump: “Is it alarming that major media players, just to oppose you, are siding with foreign state propaganda, Islamic radicals, and Latin gangs and cartels and they work right here out of the White House with direct access to you and your team?”
“It amazes me when I read the things that I read,” Trump replied with a grin, before going on a familiar rant about all the “fake news” he feels have been critical of him.
“I don’t think anybody has done as much as I have done in three years,” he noted at one point. “This administration has done a great job. But the press is very dishonest.”
Rion, meanwhile, wasn’t finished pitching softballs. “They are siding with state propaganda,” to which Trump to readily agree that “they are siding with China.”
OAN, a far-rightwing outlet is not respected, even among the other conservative media. Siraj Hashmi of the Washington Examiner, a conservative newspaper, said “This might be the dumbest question I’ve ever heard.”
The camera couldn’t catch the reaction of the other reporters in the room, but they were probably straining not to roll their eyes. Later some of them tweeted their reactions.
“OAN is so Far Right, It Makes FOX News Looked Balanced” reads a Media Matters headline.
During her time at OAN, Rion (her real name is Ryan) accompanied Trump “lawyer” Rudy Giuliani on his mission to Ukraine to find dirt on the Biden family. She recently ran a story making the wild assertion that the coronavirus was created in a North Carolina lab, which in itself is a talking point of the Chinese government.
Rion claims her family left the US temporarily because they couldn’t stand living in a country with Bill Clinton as President. During that time, they lived in South Korea, where her mother was born.
According to Media Matters, before joining OAN in May 2019, Rion worked as a pro-Trump editorial cartoonist whose illustrations promoted anti-Muslim bigotry; Seth Rich conspiracy theories; the book of a virulent anti-Semite; and a call for “armed citizens” to defend the country against purported coups and assassination attempts by the “violent left.”
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