Except for Fox, Networks Mostly Skip Trump's Call for National Day of Prayer

March 16th, 2020 1:21 PM

On Saturday, President Trump declared Sunday, March 15, a "National Day of Prayer for All Americans Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic and for our National Response Efforts."

“I urge Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers for all those affected, including people who have suffered harm or lost loved ones,” Trump said in his announcement:

But in this time we must not cease asking God for added wisdom, comfort, and strength....I ask you to join me in a day of prayer for all people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to pray for God’s healing hand to be placed on the people of our Nation.

Since liberals usually drip with disdain for “thoughts and prayers,” did the news media cover this proclamation? There were two White House press conferences carried live on the cable networks that mentioned the National Day of Prayer, with HUD Secretary Ben Carson noting it on Saturday and Vice President Mike Pence mentioning it on Sunday.

But what about the rest of the time? A quick search of our Snapstream database (with closed captioning) revealed the following pattern.

Fox News reported it routinely over the weekend, since their viewers favor both the president and religious belief.

MSNBC had three mentions. It inspired a whole segment on Sunday at 2:30 pm by host Josh Johnson talking to three faith leaders about religious services being upended -- Catholic Fr. James Martin, rabbi David Ingber, and Islamic imam Khalid Latif.

Al Sharpton closed his Saturday show by saying “The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has called for tomorrow to be a day of prayer. And though I am very critical of the president and have been even before he was president, I agree with him.” Then he asked everyone to act, not just pray. 

On Sunday's AM Joy, Joy Reid had some staffer laughing in the background as she suggested "The Surgeon General took time out of what was supposed to be a White House breifing to essentially urge the media to be nice to Donald Trump. It was an extraordinary use of his time as the Surgeon General. And he was not alone. Dr. Ben Carson, who is both a neurosurgeon and for some reason the head of the Department of Housing, used his time at the microphone to tout a National Day of Prayer."

I couldn't find anything on CNN (outside the live White House comments).

The major networks had nothing, except for a brief mention from Margaret Brennan on CBS's Face the Nation.

If forced to answer why all this skipping over it, journalists would say it's a yawner, a presidential proclamation, like a Easter or Hanukkah statement. But the "news hole" is enormous right now... and there are nasty tweets on the subject. See David Hogg, the Parkland student/activist:

Rep. Rashida Tlaib retweeted Hogg, so the Catholic League wrote a letter to the House Ethics Committee demanding a censure for insulting people of all faiths with profanity.