News & Politics

UPDATE: Pence Reverses Course, Allows Coronavirus Task Force Members to Appear on CNN

Vice President Mike Pence, along with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, addresses his remarks at a coronavirus update briefing Wednesday, April 8, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

CNN, which has refused to air Coronavirus Task Force Briefings in full, was told by Vice President Mike Pence’s office that health officials on the task force, with the exception of Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony Fauci, wouldn’t be allowed on the network until they do. Other health officials besides Birx and Fauci have not been made available to CNN for the past week.

The White House has since changed their position and is now allowing health officials on the task force to appear on CNN.

According to CNN, they only broadcast President Trump’s question and answer sessions, after which they cut out and then discuss and “fact-check” what Trump said during the briefing. Because CNN can obviously be trusted to fact-check Trump.

“When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials, then you can expect them back on your air,” a Pence spokesperson had told CNN. But after CNN published a story about the policy, “Pence’s office allowed for the booking of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield for CNN’s Thursday night coronavirus town hall.”

Previously, Pence’s office, which is responsible for booking the officials on networks during the pandemic, said it would only allow experts such as Fauci or Dr. Deborah Birx to appear on CNN if the network televised the portion of the White House briefings that includes the vice president and other coronavirus task force members.

CNN often only broadcasts President Donald Trump’s question and answer session, which sometimes includes the health care officials, live on-air.

According to a CNN executive,  the network usually returns to regular programming after Trump’s portion because of “the extensive length of the full briefing that includes Pence, which can run in excess of two hours.”

This article has been updated to include information about Pence’s reversal.

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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis