An NPR station in Seattle said that it no longer will carry live coverage of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus briefings because of concerns that they feature unchecked misleading or false information.
“KUOW is monitoring White House briefings for the latest news on the coronavirus — and we will continue to share all news relevant to Washington State with our listeners,” the station tweeted. “However, 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.”
Most recently, Trump has called for lifting of social distancing guidelines in the near future, perhaps by Easter, even though public health professionals are still grappling with the spread of the virus. He also has made false claims about the availability of tests, the timeline for finding a vaccine and the potential benefits of a treatment that includes the ingredient chloroquine. While there is some promising study of its potential use, it has not it has not been approved for treatment. NBC News reported on one Arizona man who died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, and his wife said that they learned about its use after watching a briefing. The chloroquine they used was part of a product use to clean fish tanks, not for medical purposes.
The news networks have been covering the briefings live, but CNN and MSNBC cut away from them on Monday, as the event stretched beyond an hour.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere criticized the channels for the decision as”disgraceful,” but an MSNBC spokesperson said that “after airing the press conference for over an hour we cut away because the information no longer appeared to be valuable to the important ongoing discussion around public health.” A spokeswoman for CNN said, “If the White House wants to ask for time on the network, they should make an official request. Otherwise we will make our own editorial decisions.”