Mike Pence Bans Coronavirus Task Force from CNN Until Network Broadcasts Full Briefings

Vice President Mike Pence speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The office of Vice President Mike Pence will no longer allow members of the White House coronavirus task force to appear on CNN unless the network broadcasts President Donald Trump’s daily press briefings in their entirety.

CNN reports:

Pence’s office, which is responsible for booking the officials on networks during the pandemic, said it will only allow experts such as Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony Fauci to appear on CNN if the network televises the portion of the White House briefings that includes the vice president and other coronavirus task force members.

After Trump leaves the podium, CNN frequently cuts out of the White House briefing to discuss and fact-check what the President had said. A CNN executive said that the network usually returns to such programming because of the extensive length of the full briefing that includes Pence, which can run in excess of two hours.

Pence’s office has barred task force members from participating in interviews on CNN since last Thursday evening.

“When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air,” a spokesperson for the vice president told the network.

Top coronavirus task force members, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have appeared frequently on CNN and other corporate media outlets since the pandemic began earlier this year. Fauci participated in five CNN town hall events, which featured hosts Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Pence’s ban comes as corporate network personalities continue to urge against airing President Trump’s briefing.

MSNBC’s Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough recently tweeted that there was “no public benefit to this briefing,” and that networks should “cut away.”

Fellow MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has also called on networks to stop broadcasting the daily event, accusing them of helping to propagate misinformation.

“If it were up to me, and it’s not, I would stop putting those briefings on live TV,”  said Maddow.  “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.”

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