For much of President Donald Trump’s presidency, the mainstream media has condemned Trump’s resistance to holding consistent televised press briefings.
The briefings were put on hold under Trump’s second White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, after several contentious briefings between Sanders and the press.
For months, the media railed and criticized the Trump administration for not holding televised press conferences and briefings. Much of the criticism centered on the alleged lack of transparency from the Trump White House, the multiple televised spats between the press and administration officials, and the president’s alleged lack of respect for the media.
But with the ongoing coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic, the Trump administration resumed daily press briefings to inform the press and the American public of the administration’s plans and updates regarding the government’s response to the pandemic.
Despite the administration’s reversal on press briefings, multiple left-wing media pundits openly advocated for mainstream media networks and outlets to stop airing the daily briefings.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes criticized his network for airing the daily press briefings because he said the briefings have become political rallies instead of focusing on briefing the press.
“They have morphed into something akin to Trump rallies without the crowds,” Hayes said. “The briefings are where he casts his failures in the most positive light.”
His MSNBC colleague, Rachel Maddow, also said that if the decision were up to her, she would not televise the live press briefings.
CNN host Don Lemon agreed and said that press briefings are meant to be informative and to hold officials accountable, not to push a political agenda.
“I am not sure, if you want to be honest, that we should carry that live. I think we should run snippets,” Lemon said. “I think we should do it afterward and get the pertinent points to the American people, because he’s never, ever going to tell you the truth,” he added.
But the pundits did not acknowledge how Trump’s bombastic nature boosts their ratings, which would lead to more advertising revenue for their employers. Also, CNN and MSNBC have cut away from portions of Trump’s press briefings to offer analysis and commentary. Their bosses have already decided how to manage the live press briefings. If the press decided to cut off live briefings, they would be deemed hypocrites for cutting off the same access and transparency that they have clamored for under the Trump administration.