Mike Pence Reverses Ban on Coronavirus Task Force Appearing on CNN Over Network Not Airing Full White House Briefings (UPDATE)
Vice President Mike Pence’s office is apparently trying to force CNN into airing the White House’s full press briefings again by refusing to let top health care officials appear on the network.
CNN has chosen not to air recent briefings from the coronavirus task force in their entirety, given President Donald Trump’s tendency to spread misinformation and continue feuds with the media. The network has alternated between cutting away from Trump, taking only the Q&A session of the briefing, and airing only the parts where Pence or task force members like Deborah Birx or Anthony Fauci speak.
Pence is the leader of the White House coronavirus task force. His office is in charge of booking officials for network appearances during the pandemic, and CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported that as of last Thursday, none of the country’s top medical officials have been made available for CNN interviews. The White House has made non-health care officials available to CNN.
A Pence spokesperson revealed the reason behind the apparent boycott, telling Darcy that Fauci and Birx will only be allowed to appear if the network resumes airing full briefings, including the parts where Pence and task force members speak.
“When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air,” the spokesperson told CNN.
UPDATE 5:05 p.m. — CNN is reporting that the vice president’s office has reversed the ban and permitted CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield to appear Thursday night, and Dr. Fauci to appear Friday on New Day.
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