On MSNBC after the long Tuesday night press conference, NB's Curtis Houck tweeted about how host Ari Melber asked Rep. Ted Lieu about President Trump’s more “freewheeling” and political moments in the briefings, and then Lieu launched a smear of Fox News Channel and its viewers as benighted deniers of coronavirus.
ARI MELBER: On some nights, the president -- the president's contributions and others, they can turn into a much more freewheeling piece of piece of politics or misinformation. The president today for example bringing up his views on impeachment, which really is not where anyone's head is at. So, congressman, take a listen to the president here doing the negative side, when he gets into just defending the government, instead of giving people the medical information they need.
[Clip of Trump talking about how doing nothing to prevent the virus would cause deaths in airplanes and in hotel lobbies…]
TED LIEU: I have no idea what Donald Trump was talking about. No rational person was saying do nothing. In fact, everyone else was saying, do a lot more than you already are doing. And I do agree that the job of the president is to give hope, but it's not to give false hope, and what ends up happening, in the early stages of this crisis, the president kept saying things that were false and misleading and it led a lot of people to go and not social-distance, it led a lot of people to take actions they shouldn't have, and without testing, it allowed this virus to continue to spread across America and now, we have the most number of cases in the world. We have more people that died now from this virus than 9/11 and we can't just look at this and say, let's just keep giving people hope. We have to give them the truth.
No one expected the MSNBC host to wonder if Democrats had failures along these lines – Mayor Bill de Blasio or the mayor of New Orleans encouraging large social events. Lieu’s own California colleague Nancy Pelosi promoted socializing in San Francisco’s Chinatown a month ago. But on MSNBC, only the Republicans were overly optimistic.
Then Lieu leaned in on Fox and Fox fans:
LIEU: And one other thing I want to add is, when you look at these press conferences, if you were watching MSNBC, today would not have been surprising. If you watch Fox News, today's press conference may have been surprising to you, because networks like Fox just kept giving false information, misleading information to many Americans, and they really should apologize for what they did.
This is odd, since Fox has run all the task force press conferences with all the dire scenarios. Melber just accepted this line, because it's MSNBC. A few minutes later, former GOP chairman Michael Steele glommed onto this theme again, that Fox News was very political to please its "base supporters," until it "began to touch them personally." And how this is now a problem because the "people" saw Joe Biden "taking this more seriously, politically than the president did."