New White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany appeared on Fox News’ Fox & Friends on Thursday and bashed two network rivals, CNN and MSNBC, for not airing President Donald Trump’s press briefings in full.
McEnany said it is “shameful that CNN did not take the first part of the briefing. They have made that a trend. It is shameful that MSNBC cut away from the briefing yesterday as President Trump praised American workers for making ventilators. The American people want to see their leaders. This briefing is the mechanism to do that, and news organizations across the country that choose not to cover it, and instead put on partisan individuals to put a lens on the news instead of hearing directly from their leaders, it is shameful.”
That McEnany, just days into her job, went after major media outlets is not much of a surprise. Before her current role, she was national press secretary for Trump’s reelection campaign, which has frequently attacked and even sued media outlets. She was once a contributor for CNN.
Her claim that CNN and MSNBC “chose not to cover” the briefing also is a misnomer. The networks have continued to report on the briefing, but they haven’t been carrying it live in its entirety.
CNN and MSNBC have been skipping part of the briefings or cutting away to fact check Trump’s claims. For instance, on Wednesday, they turned away from the briefing to fact-check Trump’s claim that he has the constitutional authority to adjourn Congress.
Sources at the networks say that there is frustration that Trump has been using the briefings like one of his rallies, which include a mix of self promotion and media bashing, rather than focus on information about the coronavirus crisis and the economic fallout. Even after MSNBC’s cutaway, one of its on-air personalities, Joe Scarborough, tweeted some criticism that so much of its was carried without calling out the president’s misinformation.
He wrote, “Another political rally played on cable networks. A full blown rally. Lies played without fact checks. He doesn’t let reporters answer questions. All partisan attacks. No news value. Why? I ask again. Why?”