News Outlets Start to Tune out Trump’s Coronavirus Press Briefings

After months of sitting dormant, the White House briefing room is back in use. 

President Donald Trump has begun holding regular briefings on the coronavirus outbreak in the James S. Brady Briefing Room to update Americans on the pandemic.

However, The Washington Post’s media columnist Margaret Sullivan pointed to several exchanges during the briefings and accused the president of using them, which sometimes last for almost two hours, in place of campaign rallies. 

While Trump has temporarily held off holding rallies, he has used the briefings to broadcast his message, tout his policies, and lash out at the media.

In recent days, Trump has lashed out at NBC News for its coverage of his decision to impose travel restrictions on China in February. An exchange with NBC’s Peter Alexander, who he called a “terrible reporter,” also caught a lot of attention.

The Post’s Sullivan claimed that Trump is “doing harm and spreading misinformation while working for his own partisan political benefit” during the briefings and called on networks to stop airing them live.

“Radical change is necessary: The cable networks and other news organizations that are taking the president’s briefings as live feeds should stop doing so.”

This week, ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and MSNBC broke away from the briefing to air their regularly scheduled programming. Meanwhile, Fox News continued to carry the briefings live.

A spokesperson for MSNBC explained the network decided to stop covering the briefing live because “the information no longer appeared to be valuable to the important ongoing discussion around public health.”

And, CNN said that if the White House wants the network to cover its events live, “They should make an official request. Otherwise, we will make our own editorial decisions.”

On Tuesday, Seattle radio station KUOW said in a tweet that it would no longer air the briefings live, “We will not be airing the briefings live due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact-checked in real-time.”

The decision to break away from the briefings reflects a similar decision the networks made in 2016 on whether or not to air Trump’s rallies live. 

In October 2016, CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker, expressed remorse that his network had carried Trump’s rallies early in the election season live.

“If we made any mistake last year, it’s that we probably did put too many of his campaign rallies in those early months and let them run,” he said, adding, “Because you never knew what he would say, there was an attraction to put those on the air.”

While some media columnists supported the decision to cut away from the briefings, Fox News’ Howard Kurtz, host of “MediaBuzz,” said he supports journalists holding Trump accountable for “what he says and does, or does not do.”

He added, “What I do not think is fair is for television to impose a blackout on the president of the United States because some on the left don’t think the public can handle hearing from him in this crisis.”

Published in IJR, News


  1. Don’t carry it live so you can continue to tell your viewers anything you want to about what he supposedly said in a briefing, knowing full well that their low IQ audience will continue to choose to be ill-informed and will take what the msm tell them as gospel.

    1. Banstan – Trump has been giving false or unconfirmed information. Thats if he even stays on topic.

      Might as well just wait for the post interview. That way they don’t need to be part of spread of information by talking about the initial claim just so they can provide the clarifications.

      These briefings were helpful at the start – somehow it became the Trump show and now its hardly a place to get factual information anymore.

      1. So you blame Trump for those 2 people who decided to take aquarium cleaner to keep from getting the virus. Well, it worked for the man. He definitely is not going to come down with the virus.

        1. No, but i do blame him for not being more clear that it still is being tested and then doubling down with a tweet.

          For the record, that isn’t the first time he stated uncorrect information.

          These briefings shouldn’t be to blurt out the newest information in the dumbest way possible – it should be to give people actual updates framed in a way that people understand what this means for them.

          1. Please tell me what incorrect information he gave about chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.

          2. “it should be to give people actual updates framed in a way that people understand what this means for them”. Not Trump’s fault that those 2 didn’t “understand” that he never mentioned chloroquine phosphate as something to take for any reason. I’ll even bet that the words “Not for human consumption” was somewhere on the label of their aquarium cleaner.

        2. I’m saying its reckless and false to tout it as a game changing drug at this point at all. There has been one unvetted study with 20 people. That’s it.

          Will it be the eventual drug that solves the problem? Sure, maybe. But why not let the drug be vetted first before telling people its a cure.

          I don’t care about idiots who take the drug without doctor oversight. I am not blaming Trump for that – though it was predictable.

          1. Calling it a “game changer” is NOT the same as calling it a “cure”. He NEVER told anyone it was a “cure”. You are the one saying he called it a “cure”.

        3. No, he said it was “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.” The statement was immediately walked back and clarified as Trump “talking about hope” more than medical facts.

          This is just one example of his bizarre updates that required clarification. You’ve only to do a google search of outright false or similarly misleading information that has come from those press conferences.

          As i said, might as well skip the conference and wait for the clarifications from the administration’s task force members since thats where the actual facts come out.