Journalists are skipping Trump's daily coronavirus press briefings, saying they don't have enough news value

Trump briefing

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

President Donald Trump at a daily coronavirus press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on March 31, 2020.

  • There have been rows of empty seats in recent coronavirus briefings by President Donald Trump.
  • Reporters increasingly don't believe the briefings have enough news value to merit breaking social distancing measures to attend, The Washington Post reported.
  • Broadcast networks have also cut away from the briefings, or chosen not to broadcast them altogether, as the president continues to use the sessions to spread misinformation and troll the press. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Reporters are skipping President Donald Trump's daily coronavirus news briefings, and news networks are choosing not to broadcast them, because they believe they don't have enough news value.

In recent days there have been rows of empty seats in the White House's James Brady Press Briefing Room, where Trump has delivered updates on the US battle against the coronavirus alongside public-health officials.Advertisement

But instead of delivering key information and sober assessments of the situation to the American public, Trump has frequently resorted to tactics more familiar from his raucous campaign rallies: Boasting of his accomplishments, floating misinformation, attacking the press and taunting Democrats - with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo a favored target. 

According to The Washington Post, reporters are now "keeping their distance because they are concerned about the health risks at a time when many consider the president's evening news conferences to have become increasingly less newsworthy."

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Trump/Fauci

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the daily coronavirus task force briefing as Vice President Mike Pence and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci listen at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2020.

After two White House correspondents were recently suspected of having the virus, top media outlets including The Post, The New York Times, and CNBC stopped sending veteran correspondents to cover the briefings, The Post reported.

"Nowadays, it seems they make little news," Times executive editor, Dean Baquet, told The Post. "We, of course, reserve the right to show them live [via web streaming] if we believe they will actually make news. But that hasn't happened in quite some time."

'The information no longer appeared to be valuable to the important ongoing discussion around public health'

Broadcast news networks have also skipped Trump's briefings. For more than a week, networks including CNN and MSNBC have been cutting away from Trump's briefings - or not showing them at all. Advertisement

In response to criticism from the White House last week for not showing the president's briefing in full, MSNBC told The Hill in a statement that it wasn't broadcasting the full briefing "because the information no longer appeared to be valuable to the important ongoing discussion around public health."

During his press briefings Trump has fielded questions and directed attacks at reporters from TV networks, including PBS Newshour's Yamiche Alcindor, whose probing questions frequently provoked the president's ire.

Trump abruptly changed his tone on the coronavirus this week.Advertisement

On Sunday, he announced that US lockdown measures would be extended until April 30, and on Tuesday unveiled new data that 240,000 Americans could die as a result of the illness.

But he has also continued to use briefings in recent days to attack reporters, solicit praise, and spread claims about unproven cures. 

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