A Washington state-based radio station announced Thursday that it will no long air President Trump’s live press briefings because claims made cannot be fact-checked live.
“KUOW is monitoring White House briefings for the latest news on the coronavirus—and we will continue to share all news relevant to Washington State with our listeners,” the station said in a tweet.
KUOW believes the press conferences have turned from releasing information on the virus into an opportunity to discredit journalists and their news organizations. Additionally, the briefings have quickly become a platform to spread lies and misleading information to the masses.
Just last week, Trump claimed that the FDA had approved the drug chloroquine to be available immediately for the treatment of COVID-19.
“We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately,” Trump said. “And that’s where the FDA has been so great. They—they’ve gone through the approval process; it’s been approved. And they did it—they took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription or states.”
The FDA quickly refuted the claim, but it still led to an Arizona man dying from ingesting a form of the drug designed to clean fish tanks. His wife was also hospitalized and three Nigerians also overdosed on the drug. According to CNN, the price for the medication jumped 400% in Nigeria after Trump’s statement.
The White House responded to NPR saying the station is being irresponsible and the president has been transparent in his messages.
“It’s not surprising, but also a failure of their duty to the American people, that some media outlets would choose to block their audiences from receiving accurate, up-to-date information on President Trump’s whole-of-government approach to slowing the spread of COVID-19,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said.
“No other Administration has been as transparent and as accessible as this one, and we will continue to make sure this Nation hears from its leaders and top health experts during this global pandemic.”
Trump has reportedly grown frustrated with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, who has taken a more direct approach when giving updates. Trump also said the virus could last through the summer, but has since said he wants to reopen the economy by Easter, a claim Dr. Fauci said is an “aspirational projection.”