CNN is accusing Vice President Pence’s office of prohibiting top health officials from appearing on the cable news network unless they broadcast the White House’s lengthy coronavirus press briefings in full. Those sessions sometimes last more than two hours.
For the past week, CNN claimed it had not been allowed interviews with medical experts Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci because the network frequently cuts away from White House briefings after President Trump speaks so they can fact-check him as quickly as possible.
Trump has been accused of using the airtime to disseminate misinformation and downplay criticism over his handling of the pandemic that has killed nearly 16,000 Americans and continues to spread. Multiple news outlets have accused the president of using his platform in lieu of campaign rallies while health care officials are urging people to stay indoors and social distance.
“When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air,” a Pence spokesperson reportedly told CNN.
Fauci and Birx are often among the speakers addressing reporters when CNN cuts away to fact-check Trump.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough expressed outrage Wednesday that cable news networks were allowing Trump to improv at length at coronavirus briefings, where the president has promoted untested elixirs for coronavirus and blamed other governments and health care organizations for their handling of the pandemic.
“The president lies so much in these press conferences, I still for the life of me don’t understand why the networks, including our own, allow Donald Trump to lie for two hours to the American people,” Scarborough shouted into the camera Wednesday. He named CNN, Fox News and his own network as culprits.
CNN says the White House will not allow Fauci or Birx to appear on the network’s Thursday night town hall.
CNN reported that a CNN spokesperson declined to comment on the CNN Business report.
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