Naturally, CNN has been unable to resist their impulse to depart from solely informing the public about the coronavirus pandemic to instead blame everything on President Trump as the death toll passes 4,000 Americans. One form has been refusing to carry portions of the Coronavirus Task Force daily briefing.
On Wednesday, the lies and whiplash boiled over as CNN repeatedly dipped in and out of the briefing, including for an extended period of time to falsely claim that the briefing had been hijacked by an announcement on drug trafficking.
The MRC’s Brent Baker tweeted a full rundown at the conclusion of the 103-minute briefing, which Fox News and One America News Network ran in full. Streaming platforms CBSN and NBC News NOW also carried the entire briefing. Meanwhile, MSNBC carried 75 minutes or roughly 73 percent of Wednesday’s proceedings.
This would leave us with CNN, which aired only 43 minutes. In turn, CNN reminded us of their virulent Trump hatred and aversion to letting Americans watch briefings for themselves. Put it another way, CNN doesn’t believe that we, the people, can determine what’s important to us.
The briefing began at roughly 5:38 p.m. Eastern and, to their credit, the Fox News Channel and MSNBC joined the briefing from the start. CNN’s Situation Room chose to wait until three minutes into the briefing so host Wolf Blitzer, chief political analyst Gloria Borger, and CNN medical personality Dr. Sanjay Gupta could finish their latest anti-Trump grievances.
Then, after three minutes of listening in, they dipped out at 5:41 p.m. as Blitzer said that “we’ll continue to monitor the briefing” since the initial announcement was “not directly related, clearly” to the pandemic.
The Trump-bashing picked back up and, after a commercial break, they returned at 5:51 p.m. Eastern. Despite the fact that questions from reporters consisted of both drug trafficking and the virus, CNN ducked out at 6:04 p.m., further subjecting their audience to additional anti-Trump benders.
Instead of listening to questions about the growing number of U.S. sailors contracting the coronavirus aboard the U.S.S. Roosevelt (as well as precautions taken by the whole military), CNN chose to lie and claim that the briefing had morphed to exclusively highlight the fight against the flow of drugs from Central and South America.
Here are some excerpts between 6:04 p.m. and 6:08 p.m. Eastern (click “expand”):
WOLF BLITZER: We're going to continue to monitor this briefing and see if they get back to the issue of the coronavirus. That's what we're primarily interested in right now given the horrible numbers that we've been told over the past couple of days. Maybe 100,000, as my as 240,000 Americans in the coming weeks and months may wind up dead as a result of this virus. I want to bring in John King to give us some analysis. John, they’re --- they’re obviously trying to shift the focus at least partially right now with this counter narcotics program that the Defense Secretary Mark Esper has just announced.
JOHN KING: It is remarkable, Wolf, and some would say shameless. This is a Coronavirus Task Force briefing. The country in the middle of a pandemic. Americans are afraid. They're tuning into these briefings to try to get information from the White House. Amen, amen, amen, and congratulations. If the United States military, the Justice Department are doing a better job keeping cocaine and other illicit drugs from coming that you the country, good for them and congratulations. You can schedule a meeting in the Pentagon or in white house briefing if you think it’s that big of a deal but call it what it is. Say we have a major announcement in the war on drugs. Instead they walk up with the coronavirus task force meeting and the President's trying to have a bit of a political statement here. It's a big policy move, and again, let's hope they are right and this is successful and they're keeping drugs out of the United States of America. Good for them for doing that, and we should apply that success, but that's not what this briefing was scheduled for. And so what happens? When the President's own efforts to rewrite the history of what he said early on in his pandemic, what does he do? He has the defense secretary, the attorney general and the national security advisor come to the podium and thank the President to tell him how great he is.
JIM ACOSTA: Well, clearly the President knows he has a built-in audience right now, and he's trying to take advantage of that and after essentially flip-flopping on the threat posed by the coronavirus yesterday, he's now trying to use this airtime to talk about other things that the administration is doing while Americans are sitting at home wanting to know what's the latest on this deadly pandemic. I will tell you, Wolf, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other experts are waiting in the wings I'm told. They're sort of the undercard at this coronavirus press briefing. They're expected to join the President at any moment to talk about this[.]
Fast-forwarding to 6:16 p.m. Eastern and CNN continued to lie and insist the virus wasn’t being discussed. Acosta, Blitzer, and King continued to ghoulishly deceive those tuning into the #FactsFirst network.
Between 6:16-24 p.m. Eastern (at which point they went to a commercial break), a question was asked about Iran underreporting coronavirus cases and then senior military leaders left the room. This left the President to give further remarks about U.S. soldiers and their families grappling with the pandemic and then private sector efforts to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for wide distribution.
Here again are some highlights of what CNN believed to have been more important than that vital information (click “expand,” emphasis added):
BLITZER: The defense secretary shows up to make an important announcement about a counter narcotics operation, but wouldn't that normally take place at the Department of Defense over at the Pentagon, chairman of the joint chiefs, other military leaders are there. They would make an announcement there. Why are they doing that at the White House at time when the American public is bracing for perhaps 100,000 Americans are going to die in the coming few weeks and months as a result of the coronavirus pandemics. You would think they would do that, let the Defense Department reporters report it.
KING: Or Wolf --- look. You and I covered the White House together for a long time. If they think this is big enough deal, they're truly making progress and they wanted to highlight it, you could use the White House briefing room, if you wanted to bring in the attorney general as well as the defense secretary as well as other people involved, sure, you could use the White House briefing room. But announce you're making a major announcement on anti-narcotic efforts….[T]his should not be a time for politics. But the President knows what the coverage has been the last 24 hours, reminding people of what he said in February, reminding people of what he said even in early March, dismissing the threat of the coronavirus, and this in the context of the very sobering numbers they gave yesterday. So what was the President looking for? A, change the subject, B, get some praise….The American people were told yesterday a city the size of Green Bay or South Bend could get wiped off the map. If it's worse, it could be Birmingham, Alabama. The American people were told that yesterday. So if they're watching the White House briefing today they want to hear from Dr. Fauci and hear from Dr. Birx…[B]e honest about what you're doing.
BLITZER: Yeah, that's an important point indeed. At least be honest with the American public and say there's going to be a briefing on counter narcotics operations.
KING: Look, the President is in the same box all of us are in, Wolf. He cannot go out and have the rallies that he so loves. He cannot go out and campaign and I don't say that to be snarky. This is --- this is brand new territory for everybody….There's on old thing called the Rose Garden strategy. If you're an incumbent president, this is one of the big advantages you get, you have all the assets, all the platforms, all the powers of a presidency when you're an incumbent president. But to bring that into a briefing in the middle of a pandemic the day after the incredibly sobering news the administration rightfully delivered to the American people yesterday, is just --- it's shameless…This is pandemic where people are told 100,000, maybe 200,000 of our friends, our neighbors, our citizens may perish in this pandemic. You cannot abuse a coronavirus task force for other measures. At least, I just -- there are ways for the President to make his point on every subject under the sun. He has all the platforms in the world, but to do it in a regularly scheduled briefing -- you can say at the top of the briefing we're going go to other news. Just be honest about what you're doing. But that’s what we got.
ACOSTA: I think this was a bait and switch to some extent….We are now in the midst of a national emergency, a global emergency and I think the expectation for every American sitting at home is naturally when the White House says they're going to have a Coronavirus Task Force briefing at 5:00 or 5:30 every day that the officials are going to come out and talk to us about what the very latest is, especially after that extremely stunning and sobering, you know, assessment we got yesterday from officials about the number of dead expected in the next couple of months and so when the President walked out with the defense secretary and other top military officials as John was saying, obviously that is very important information and the administration likes to get that sort of news out to the American people can't really begrudge them of that, but at the same time, I think that this is really different circumstance. This briefing has now been widely accepted by the American people, including the national news networks here in the United States, as appointment viewing because it is a way for Americans who are essentially trapped at home right now because they're following these social distancing guidelines to get the very latest information on what the administration is doing right now and Wolf, as we saw yesterday during the briefing, the President was trying to play cleanup. He was trying to send the message to the American people he's now on top of this when there's still some very serious questions that need to be asked. What's happening with testing, what's happening with medical equipment, what's happening in the hospitals. Why is it that, you know, we're now facing 100,000 or 240,000 deaths when he has said over and over again this would go away, that he has things under control and so on. Some vital questions need to be asked, and it just seems to me, Wolf, what the White House sensed here is they could turn this coronavirus briefing into just like any other briefing we used to have back in the olden days when Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee-Sanders were in there, that they could surprise up with a surprise guest and so on. Baloney, that's not the kind of situation we're in right now. This is very different because we're in the midst of national emergency and something that just we haven't experience before. As Americans and as people around the world, we're expecting the White House, the President, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx to deal with the facts of this crisis as they're unfolding at this moment, Wolf.
Embarrassingly, CNN returned from that break at 6:29 p.m. Eastern and stayed with it until quitting one final time (and to never return back) at 6:54 p.m. Eastern to begin Erin Burnett OutFront six minutes early.
CNN lies. This is CNN.