Since President Donald Trump resumed daily White House press conferences in late July many news networks have been shunning live coverage, referring their viewers to live streams on their websites. Others ‘monitor’ coverage, telling viewers they will only cut to the briefings live for breaking news.
After each briefing a number of news organizations, including the Associated Press and CNN, produce detailed “fact checks” of Trump’s statements line by line.
Fox News Channel’s Special Report with Bret Baier scored mammoth ratings on Wednesday with live coverage of the daily briefing. It was the most-watched program outside of primetime in the advertiser-coveted 25 – 54 age demographic.
Special Report drew 665,000 viewers in the demo, with a total of 3.64 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen Media Research. The demo ratings ranked third among all cable news shows on Thursday, except for Tucker Carlson Tonight (779,000) and Hannity (726,000). Special Report also crushed CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (482,000; 1.81 million) and MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber (319,000; 2.10 million).
Washington Post reporters Annie Karni, Nate Schweber and Christina Capecchi wrote Wednesday, “For some supporters, President Trump’s daily appearances with his coronavirus task force are a reassuring ritual during a time of crisis, consumed from the folds of a leather sectional, snacks and beverages within easy reach.”
“For the president’s opponents, the news conference has become a daily hate-watch, a blaring infomercial in which Mr. Trump claims credit, demands gratitude, spreads false information and attacks the press,” they noted.
Trump addressed the coronavirus pandemic, mail-in voting, China, and former vice president Joe Biden during his Wednesday briefing.
“If you look at some of the states that had a flare-up recently, they’re all doing very well,” the president said. “Florida is going down. Arizona is going down, way down. They’ve done a fantastic job. California, as you know, is going down.”
“I want to make it unmistakably clear that I am protecting people from evictions,” Trump said. They didn’t want to do that — the Democrats didn’t want to do a protection from evictions.”
The president was referring to his executive order which instructs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to “consider” whether temporarily banning residential evictions is “reasonably necessary” to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
It also instructs the U.S. Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to identify funds that could potentially be used to help renters and homeowners who can’t make their housing payments because of the pandemic.
The president also reiterated his objections to a Democratic proposal to provide additional aid to individuals and states who are struggling financially during the pandemic. He highlighted two provisions that he would not support: $3.5 billion in funding for elections that could be used to fund mail-in voting, and $25 billion in funding for the post office.
Liberal “fact-checkers” are particularly incensed whenever the president speaks about mail-in voting. They argue that mail-in voting fraud is rare and the president is trying to suppress the vote and cast doubt on the coming election in case he loses.
There have been at least four dozen cases in criminal and civil court related to mail-in ballot fraud and ballot box fraud since the last presidential election in 2016 leading to charges, convictions, lawsuits or plea deals.