CNN staffers shut down Sen. Ted Cruz’s claims that the network pulled back their coronavirus after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election.
On Tuesday, the Cruz sarcastically tweeted, “Miraculous. COVID cured, the very instant the networks called the race for Biden.”
He was responding to the GOP rapid response director Steve Guest, who posted Monday two screenshots of CNN’s on-air coverage, asking “What changed?” In the first screenshot, taken before the election, a COVID-19 case- and death-tracker was on-screen as reporters discussed, according to the chyron, a case surge. In the second screenshot, from after the election, there was no tracker. The chyron indicated the reporters on-screen were discussing politics, not the coronavirus pandemic.
CNN’s Oliver Darcy responded to Cruz, saying, “What you’re tweeting is false. CNN has, for a while now, used the COVID tracker when discussing … wait for it… COVID. It used the COVID tracker yesterday when discussing the coronavirus too. Would recommend not taking GOP’s word without checking first. They mislead a lot!”
GOP pollster Frank Luntz earned himself a retweet from CNN anchor Jake Tapper when he, too, replied to Cruz with a debunk.
“CNN displays the COVID tracker when covering COVID-related stories. Here’s a screenshot from seconds ago during @PoppyHarlowCNN and @JimSciutto ‘s segment about the COVID vaccine,” he wrote, including a screenshot that showed a COVID tracker.
“We continue to cover this horrible crisis that our public officials are not doing enough to stop,” said Tapper.
CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale also provided screenshots showing the network using the tracker when covering the pandemic post-election. He added, “The RNC’s Steve Guest has a consistently dishonest Twitter account.”
This isn’t the first time the network has defended its post-election COVID coverage.
The incident was reminiscent of one from this weekend when CNN public relations team made quick work of debunking a Fox News claim that the network wasn’t taking COVID prevention seriously when covering joyous rallies that broke out after Joe Biden was projected to win the election Saturday.
“This is a blatant lie,” wrote the communications team. “We absolutely did discuss the pandemic when looking at the celebratory crowds.”
This is a blatant lie. We absolutely did discuss the pandemic when looking at the celebratory crowds. Receipt: pic.twitter.com/5EwyaVxane
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) November 7, 2020