Donald Trump’s Monday night press briefing lost a huge share of its TV audience when almost all the major networks cut away from him mid-flow — with the exception of Fox News.
Whereas the networks have generally given full coverage to the White House’s coronavirus task force briefings, ABC, CBS and NBC all cut to their evening newscasts 20 minutes after Monday’s started and never went back — even though the president spoke until shortly after 8pm.
CNN cut away at around 7:20 pm, and MSNBC followed suit within five minutes.
While MSNBC was the last network to leave the briefing, a spokesperson was clear about the basis for its decision: “We cut away because the information no longer appeared to be valuable to the important ongoing discussion around public health.”
Those words echo the network’s key political commentator, Rachel Maddow, who recently said of the White House’s briefings that “all of us should stop broadcasting it, honestly. It’s going to cost lives”.
Many of the pronouncements he has made at the briefings are questionable or false, among them that the virus may be treatable with a common malaria drug that has not in fact been approved for the purpose.
He has also used the briefings to claim he has consistently taken the outbreak seriously since it began, despite ample evidence to the contrary, while continuing to attack the media for its supposed vendetta against him.
With Associated Press