An NPR member station in Seattle announced Wednesday it would no longer air Donald Trump's coronavirus task force briefings live, but instead monitor them for "the latest news" on the coronavirus and then report back. "We will continue to share all news relevant to Washington State with our listeners," KUOW Public Radio tweeted Wednesday morning. "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."
More of this please. Much much more of this—a news organization actually taking seriously its responsibility to disseminate sound, factual information to the public on a matter where having the facts can mean the difference between life and death.
In fact, Trump's coronavirus disinformation has already been directly linked to at least one death in this country. Nonetheless, many news outlets aired Wednesday's briefing live as they have been doing for weeks now. CNN promo’ed Wednesday's briefing far in advance and then carried the entire thing live. MSNBC did worse, actually, airing Trump’s falsities and then cutting away when the scientists started talking.
Here’s the type of thing MSNBC thought was important for people to see.
Pro Tip: Trump’s deranged paranoia isn’t news—it’s the norm. No one needs to see the “Trump unhinged” show live and in real time. His ranting and falsities and half-baked ideas can all be repackaged for consumption in a journalistically responsible way.
But airing Trump’s briefings in real time only adds more chaos and confusion to a national crisis that is already fraught with danger. Our media must do better if they have any intention of being a force for good during this extremely trying time in our nation’s history.
Sign the petition: Trump is lying about coronavirus. Networks must stop airing his press conferences.