New York Post reporter takes heat for ‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic question coronavirus briefing

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New York Post reporter Steven Nelson is under fire for asking Donald Trump, during a coronavirus press briefing, if he is considering pardoning Joe Exotic, the subject of a popular Netflix true crime series “Tiger King.”

The New York Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which is the sister company to Fox Corp., the company that owns and operates a conservative commentary channel known for being a favorite of Trump’s and frequently called out for what some view as biased and misleading statements.

News consumers, media watchers and other reporters are weighing in, with some criticizing Nelson for asking what they view as a “trivial” question that isn’t directly related to the coronavirus, which is the main point of the briefings.

Some are defending the question, noting that since the White House eliminated daily press briefings prior to the coronavirus pandemic (it hadn’t held one in over a year before the outbreak), it’s also one of the only formal times reporters can ask Trump questions about White House business or the country in general.

Others point out that, given the explosive popularity of “Tiger King” (viewership is likely at least partially being driven up by shelter in place orders), the country is interested in hearing about the fate of Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage — meaning it’s a legit question to ask of Trump.

Maldonado-Passage is currently serving a 22 year prison sentence after being convicted on animal abuse and “murder for hire” charges.

Earlier in the outbreak, reports surfaced that Maldonado-Passage had tested positive for coronavirus, though this is false.

It is true that the prison where Maldonado-Passage is being held does have COVID-19 cases.

It also appears that Maldonado-Passage is being held in isolation as a result of the outbreak.

Nelson, meanwhile, defended asking the question and pointed out he also asked about WHO funding and a recovery infrastructure bill at the same briefing.