“If it were up to me, and it’s not, I would stop putting those briefings on live TV,” Maddow said on her show earlier this week. “Not out of spite, but because it’s misinformation. If the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape. But if he keeps lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should, all of us should stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it’s going to cost lives.”
Privately, several staffers at CNN and MSNBC have acknowledged that airing Trump’s pressers live and in full likely amplifies the spread of misinformation about the disease and its potential cure. In one instance, Trump’s enthusiastic promotion of a malaria medicine, chloroquine, as therapy for COVID-19, reportedly prompted an elderly couple to take a poisonous version of the chemical, resulting in the wife being placed in an intensive-care unit while her husband died.
An NBC News insider, however, said the White House briefings should be not be ignored, but instead thoroughly covered and aired, albeit with journalistic vetting and fact checking. “I completely get the criticism of the performance,” this person said. “But let’s remember that the White House press corps absolutely torched the Trump White House for eliminating the daily briefings. Now there’s a high-profile daily press briefing that often includes the president and vice president, so you can’t have it both ways.”