CNN and MSNBC briefly stopped airing the White House coronavirus briefing on Monday afternoon after President Donald Trump began playing a campaign ad-style video that some anchors said was outright “propaganda.”
During Monday’s briefing, Trump stepped aside from the podium to play a campaign ad-style video that featured mashed up clips of reporters and politicians speaking positively about Trump and his response to the pandemic.
CNN’s John King, speaking with Wolf Blitzer, said the video was “propaganda” made “at taxpayer expense.”
“That was propaganda. That was not just a campaign video. That was propaganda aired at taxpayer expense in the White House briefing room. And it was selective, cherry-picking information,” King, the network’s chief national correspondent, said. “He has every right to defend himself … but to play a propaganda video at taxpayer expense in the White House briefing room is a new — you can insert your favorite word here — in this administration.”
“[That was] something I would expect from his re-election campaign, not from the sitting president of the United States in the briefing room. Very, very awkward, to put it mildly,” Blitzer responded.
MSNBC cut away from the briefing after the video finished playing.
“We are going to avoid airing any more of this White House briefing until it returns to what it was supposed to be, which was a coronavirus task force providing medical information,” MSNBC’s Ari Melber said. “What we just saw, I want to be very clear with viewers, was a video the White House put out which suggests they are spending their precious time right now making videos that defend the president’s record and tenure, rather than provide the much-needed emergency medical information that was promised at these daily briefings.”
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 13, 2020
ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who said he’d never seen a video like that played in the briefing room and said the video looked “a bit like a campaign ad,” asked Trump why he felt the need to play the video and who created it. The president responded that he wanted to play it because of supposed “fake news” and said that the clips were put together by White House social media director Dan Scavino “in a period of less than two hours.”
Asked who put the campaign-style video together, President Trump tells @jonkarl it was compiled by White House social media director and assistant to the president Dan Scavino “in a period of less than two hours." https://t.co/KrVjZR79id pic.twitter.com/xngRUuR0hU
— ABC News (@ABC) April 13, 2020