Both CNN and MSNBC have ceased showing Donald Trump‘s daily coronavirus briefings in full, amid criticism of perceived misstatements from the president on the spread of the virus and the federal government’s response to it.
As The Washington Post reported, both networks have decided to cut in and out of the meetings depending on who is speaking, focusing on the medical experts who are part of the coronavirus response team. MSNBC host Chuck Todd even warned viewers that the briefings tended to “have a tendency to veer in a lot of directions” and that not all of the information presented was “informative or relevant in the midst of this crisis.”
“If it veers too much off, we will break off and come back here but for the most part we want to listen in to the information we hope he is bringing to all of us,” Todd said during a briefing this week.
As the network cut away, MSNBC anchors told viewers that they were continuing to monitor and would present the most important points. The anchors then relayed some of the information Trump has presented and focused on fact-heavy presentations from medical leaders.
The Washington Post noted that CNN has been even stricter in its presentation of the briefings, skipping Trump’s opening remarks and cutting back when he hands it over to the coronavirus response team’s medical experts, Deborah Birx and Anthony S. Fauci.
Earlier in the week, CNN also cut away when Trump handed over the lectern to MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell and took time to praise his company’s products.
Some of that cutting has attracted the attention of Trump’s critics, who have called out cable news networks for showing what they said to be false and misleading statements from the president. In the earlier days of the response, he was seen as downplaying the severity of the outbreak and predicted that cases of COVID-19 would soon go down to zero in the United States. Trump has also publicly questioned the need for tens of thousands of ventilators that the hardest-hit states have requested.
The president has also been criticized for attacks on reporters who have questioned his efforts to downplay the coronavirus and questioned the need for the medical response. Earlier in the week, Trump told PBS News reporter Yamiche Alcindor to be more “positive” in the way she addressed him after she asked him about statements questioning the need for ventilators from states.