His handling of the coronavirus crisis has earned him even higher marks. A recent Gallup poll showed 60% approved of Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
On the other hand, the same poll showed only 44% approved of the media’s coverage of the crisis.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that some cable news networks are choosing to either cut away from the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s daily press briefings, or are considering not airing them at all.
“NBC and CNN producers say they’re through airing Trump’s virus pressers,” the Daily Beast’s Noah Shachtman tweeted on March 25. “We might take it from the top and then cut away after the first lie, and return when the lies stop,” he quoted one source as saying.
“If it were up to me, and it’s not, I would stop putting those briefings on live TV,” MSNBC liberal talk show host Rachel Maddow said on her program March 20. She urged all broadcast media to consider the idea, warning that “it’s going to cost lives.”
NPR-affiliate and Seattle-based KUOW radio station tweeted on March 24 that “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.” NPR is funded, in part, by millions in tax dollars.
Kim Malcolm, one of KUOW’s hosts, applauded the decision in a tweet the day before the station made it official. “Did you hear Donald Trump talking up anti-malarial drugs as potential COVID-19 therapy today? Not on KUOW you didn’t. B/c we are no longer carrying his non fact-checked, horsesh*t marathon daily “briefing” spin live on air. Thx KUOW management for this decision.”
The irony in Malcolm complaining about Trump “talking up anti-malarial drugs” in the same tweet in which she called the daily press briefings “non fact-checked, horsesh*t” is that anti-malarial drugs are actually being used to treat some coronavirus patients with some success, according to various news reports and tweets from patients who say it worked for them.
Perhaps Malcolm is the one more deserving of that fact check.
Along with the rise in Trump’s approval ratings and high marks for how he and his administration are addressing the coronavirus outbreak is the fact that the daily White House press briefings have been bringing in impressive viewership numbers on par with the season finale of “The Bachelor” and Monday night NFL games.
On top of that, Fox News aired a two-hour town hall last week that featured Trump and several members of the virus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.
As it turns out, it was the most watched town hall in cable news network history.
One of the national media’s worst nightmares is coming true: President Trump has become an effective messenger in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, and people are tuning in to hear more. Instead of having to wait to read a journalist’s spin on his press briefings in tweets or in news stories later, people can watch and hear him for themselves in real time and draw their own conclusions without the media filter and slant.
This is precisely why the push is on to cut the briefings off at a certain point or not air them at all. Because the media can’t control the narrative if they don’t restrict a person’s ability to watch the briefings and decide for themselves how to digest the information.
Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.