The Vice President’s office won’t allow top U.S. health officials to speak to CNN because the network stopped airing the daily press briefings live on air.
Mike Pence is head of the Coronavirus task force that includes experts.
His office is refusing to book officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx for CNN interviews in an attempt to pressure the news network into carrying President Donald Trump’s comments.
CNN and other major networks have declined to show the live briefings due to Trump’s often misleading statements. Instead, they’ve shown the question and answer sessions. This section usually features the health experts.
The Vice President’s office appears to have specifically targeted CNN since the other networks are still able to book the nation’s top health officials.
Fauci, Birx, the FDA Commissioner and the Surgeon General have appeared on Fox News, NBC, CBS and ABC over the past week. Only CNN has been affected by the apparent ban.
“When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air,” a Pence spokesperson told CNN.
As the CNN Business report pointed out, the network often cuts away from Trump’s live briefings for commentary and fact checking. Pence’s office has blocked health officials from speaking to CNN since last Thursday.
“If Mr. Trump thinks these daily sessions will help him defeat Joe Biden, he’s wrong,” the Journal‘s editorial board said.
“This election is now about one issue: how well the public thinks the President has done in defeating the virus and restarting the economy.”
The briefings look set to continue despite criticism.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media