CNN says Pence is blocking Fauci and Birx interviews unless the network starts airing Trump daily briefings in full

CNN says Pence is blocking Fauci and Birx interviews unless the network starts airing Trump daily briefings in full
Vice President Mike Pence, joined by Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, listen as President Donald J. Trump takes questions from the press during a coronavirus update briefing Tuesday, March 31, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

The Republican Party’s moves toward fascism continue with a new edict from the Trump White House to CNN. Team Trump is angry that the network has been cutting away from their daily, often two-hour-plus coronavirus briefings to fact-check things Trump has said. CNN is reporting that "Vice President" Mike Pence's office is now barring the administration's pandemic experts from appearing on the network until CNN agrees to instead televise the propaganda events in full.

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." But even that statement isn’t quite what it seems.

Despite the implication Pence is crudely attempting, that the network must not truly be interested in their "experts" if those portions of the daily briefings are cut away from, the effect of the demand is to disallow CNN's moves to cut away from the briefings for fact-checking and analysis of what Dear Leader has just ejaculated immediately after Trump finishes his opening remarks. If the network delays such fact-checking until after the full two-hour briefing, few viewers who watched Trump's opening remarks will still be around to hear it.

So either air our entire two-hour campaign event mostly or completely uninterrupted, Mike Pence is telling the "free" press, or we will withhold the experts most qualified to tell your viewers, during a national crisis, how to not die. That is not a free press. That is a press made to bend to the will of the state.

This would be another circumstance in which the major media outlets could do themselves and the public enormous good by banding together to do the right thing collectively, rather than allowing would-be authoritarians to alter the rules of our democracy on their own whim. The networks should not be covering Trump's portions of the briefings at all, unless something actually relevant is said; the danger to the public presented by Trump promoting unproven medicines, making false claims, attacking political enemies and otherwise misleading viewers overwhelms even the possibility, at this point, of him saying truthful things. Airing his false information is destructive.

The obvious answer, then, is to stop covering the events live—or, if they must be covered live because of the inherent cheapness of cable news, always looking for free content, comply with Dear Leader's butler's new demand that the networks not cut away from the events after Trump's speech by cutting away during Trump's portions with the same fact-checking the networks are finally, though sporadically and reluctantly, providing their viewers.

But this notion from Pence that either each day's two-hour praise session for Dear Leader is aired in full or the government will withhold top disease experts from the American public in retaliation—that cannot stand. Pence needs to pound sand on that one. He should be humiliated for the demand. He should be treated, if possible, even less seriously, though after three years of polishing an obvious idiot's authoritarian boots it is not as if there is any reputation there left to save.


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