CNN Says Pence’s Office Has Blocked Top Health Officials From Appearing on Network

The move is done to “pressure” the network into carrying Trump’s lengthy coronavirus briefings in full

CNN revealed in a Thursday article that Vice President Mike Pence’s office has barred top health officials from appearing on the network unless it begins to air President Donald Trump’s coronavirus briefings in full.

“When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air,” a Pence spokesperson told CNN, according to the article.

The health officials currently not allowed on air include Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, both visible members of the White House’s task force on the coronavirus, which is led by Pence. Their sections of the press conferences are often cut away from by CNN so that the on-air hosts can do analysis and fact-checking. Time is also a consideration, as the briefings can run two hours or more.

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

Those briefings have drawn considerable ire and criticism as they’ve started to draw on over an hour and a half and involve Trump railing against political rivals and the media. In some cases, he praises or lectures reporters in the briefing room directly to their faces.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board called the briefings “wasted” in a piece published Thursday while MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said they amounted to “nothing” during a scathing review Monday morning.

A representative for the White House did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment Thursday.