Over the past week, concurrent with new polling showing an increase in approval for President Donald Trump, a number of liberal media outlets cut away early from Trump’s daily coronavirus task force briefings, while at least one prominent journalist on the left called for networks to stop airing the events altogether.
Fox News had become the lone news network airing the briefings in full — until Friday, when it joined the others in returning to normal programming midway through a briefing, Breitbart reported. The move caused viewers to miss important information shared by other members of the president’s team.
Fox cuts away from presser
Fox News did air all of President Trump’s prepared remarks as well as his portion of the question and answer period on Friday, but the network pulled away shortly after he left the podium to instead air host Martha MacCallum in a discussion with panelists on her program, Breitbart reported.
As the network cut away, though, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was in the middle of speaking about what her team was doing with regard to school closures nationwide and a host of pertinent related issues about which parents with school-aged children are likely concerned.
Viewers also missed remarks from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and various private sector CEOs about efforts to deliver school lunches to potentially hungry students at their homes, according to Breitbart, as well as other informational remarks from doctors and Vice President Mike Pence, who heads up the coronavirus task force.
“What the heck?”
Dr. Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party and former congressional candidate, summed up the feelings of quite a few Trump supporting viewers in a social media post about the decision to pull away.
In an exasperated tweet, Ward lamented, “What the heck? Why did Fox News just cut away from the WH Daily Briefing? America wants to hear about education and more directly!”
Ward correctly pointed out that the decision to switch away from the briefing caused viewers to miss hearing important information straight from those closest to the efforts to deal with key issues related to the coronavirus pandemic response.
Ironically, one of the primary complaints from the other networks and Trump-hating media figures was that the president’s portion of the briefings amounted to little more than braggadocious lies and misinformation, while the remainder of the briefings when other officials spoke was regarded as far informative and important.
Of course, some of those other networks weren’t really showing all that much of the other portions of the briefings either, as several cable and broadcast networks chose to cut away from the events even while President Trump was still speaking — before Pence and other task force members answered questions from the press pool.
Incredibly, CNN even had the gall to demand that the White House issue an “official request” for the network to air the briefings in full, even as it declared its intention to continue making “editorial decisions” to cut away anytime network officials might choose, according to a report from The New York Times.
It is unclear exactly why Fox News decided to shift away from the in-progress briefing on Friday to instead air a panel discussion. But hopefully, the network received a critical earful over that decision from viewers and will refrain from doing so again — lest it be no better than its mainstream media rivals and lose the ratings edge of which it so frequently boasts.