US President Donald Trump, 74, First Lady Melania Trump, 50, and a number of people in Trump’s family and team have tested positive for COVID-19. Trump is in the hospital and being given medicine to help improve his symptoms.
Some news organizations are reporting that he may be back in the White House as early as Monday (Oct. 5).
This is “breaking news.” That means facts are still coming out as we learn how sick the president is, and what doctors are doing for him. No one knows the whole story yet.
Information about the health of a leader is very significant. Presidents and prime ministers have enormous power and some people may think that if a leader is too ill, they may not be able to do their job properly.
In this case, it is even more complicated because the president is in the middle of an election campaign. American voters will decide in less than a month whether they want to keep Trump as their president or elect Joe Biden.
People are very divided about Donald Trump. Most of the people who voted for him in the 2016 election (mostly Republicans) tend to be supportive of him. Most of the people who didn’t vote for him (mostly Democrats) tend to be against him.
The news about his health, on social media and even by well-known news organizations, may be biased depending on how they view Trump and whether they are right-leaning or left-leaning.
A lot of the news in this breaking story is “speculation.” That means journalists are “wondering” or “guessing” about facts they don’t yet know.
Some news from left-leaning journalists speculates about when Trump knew he had COVID-19 and whether he should have told people earlier. Some news from right-leaning journalists suggests Trump is doing well, and will be back to normal very soon.
Neither side has all the facts. But both sides are very interested in the president’s health and that of his family and team members and will stay tuned to find out more as facts emerge. (The First Lady appears to be in fairly good health, despite having COVID-19.)
Early in the pandemic (in March 2020), Sophie Grégoire Trudeau got COVID-19; she has since recovered. She is the wife of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. He did not get COVID-19, nor did their children.
Note about bias: At TeachingKidsNews.com, our journalists do not agree with many of the things Donald Trump does and stands for.
THINK AND DISCUSS
1. This article stresses that the news about Donald Trump’s health is “breaking news.” Why does that matter? How does it affect the way people consume the news about this event?
2. The article talks about bias: media on the “left” of the political spectrum and on the “right.” What do you think this means? Do you think it affects the way journalists cover this event? How?
After reading the “Note about bias” at the bottom of the article, how do you think the journalist who wrote this TKN story feels about Trump, and do you consider this article to be biased? If so, what parts of the article suggest the journalist is biased? What can you do to make sure you are getting all sides of a news story?
3. What do you know about Donald Trump and COVID-19? What questions do you have–what are you wondering about?
4. Donald Trump has held events where hundreds of people gathered to hear him speak (outside, but many of the people in the crowds and onstage did not wear masks and many were closer to each other than six feet). Some of his actions have seemed to many people that he has downplayed the COVID-19 crisis. What do you think people are saying or thinking, now that he and some of his family members have COVID-19? (Include various points of view, including: people who like Trump, people who do not like Trump, Trump himself, Trump’s family, Joe Biden (Trump’s political opponent), etc.)
5. Below are two tweets, one from a news organization that typically sides with Trump and one that typically does not. How does their news coverage differ? Find other examples that you have seen and think about them and their possible bias. (Note: TKN is not linking to these tweets because we cannot control their comments.)
There are many news articles and posts about this news event, as facts unfold. It is a good idea to get your news from a diverse variety of sources. Depending on what kind of information you’re looking for, you can search for news articles on: Trump’s condition, the condition of his family and team members, his medical treatment, the ramifications for the upcoming election, how Trump supporters are reacting to the news, etc.
National Post article about other world leaders that have had COVID-19:
March 2020 article by Global News about Sophie Grégoire Trudeau’s recovery from COVID-19: