As the state of New York sets its third-straight record for a single-day death toll from the Coronavirus — and the official single-day death tolls in the U.S. from the virus hit levels not reported in any other country — rest assured: the Trump administration is still holding onto their petty political grievances. The office of Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the White House’s Coronavirus response task force and organizes public messaging about the issue, has been refusing to sign off on any public health officials appearing on CNN for a week and counting, despite the obvious impetus to get up-to-date information out about the global pandemic.
The excuse from Pence’s office is that CNN hasn’t been airing the entirety of the frequently nearly two-hour long press briefings from the White House.
A Pence spokesperson claimed:
‘When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air.’
In reality, the Trump administration’s frequent antagonism towards CNN is not exactly a secret, no matter what excuses that the White House wants to use for their behavior.
CNN has carried the briefing portions in which the president himself takes questions, but they’ve frequently cut away after that segment to offer fact-checks of the president’s repeated, consistent lies. Before Pence’s office started holding back figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, the network had them on repeatedly — Fauci alone participated in a full five town hall broadcasts, helping cover any info that may have been featured in portions of the briefings that they didn’t air. But now that Pence’s office has decided to prioritize television viewership for the vice president, none of the information is getting out.
And it’s worth noting — even a cursory look at the facts casts Pence’s office’s excuse into question. NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox have all hosted public health officials in the past week, despite also not generally airing the entirety of the lengthy Trump self-aggrandizement shows/press briefings, but of course, none of them have attracted the ire of the Trump administration quite like CNN. So voila: explanation for the break.