NPR’s local station in the Seattle area said Tuesday it won’t air the daily White House coronavirus task force briefings live, claiming they are distributing false misinformation.
“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 radio station said on Twitter.
“However, we will not be airing the briefings live due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere, according to the Washington Examiner, reacted.
“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,” Deere said.
Meanwhile, the $2.2 trillion Senate coronavirus bill includes $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds NPR, Fox News reported.
Nancy Barnes, NPR’s senior vice president, told the Washington Examiner that editorial coverage decisions are “based on the news environment in any given hour, on any given day; our decision regarding providing live coverage of the White House daily COVID-19 briefings is no different.”
“Today, we have decided to lean into our original reporting and analysis on our daily programs like ‘Morning Edition’ and ‘All Things Considered’ while offering our Member Stations a live stream of the White House briefings on a separate channel, but our coverage decisions will continue to evolve daily,” she said.
The Examiner quoted local talk-radio host Jason Rantz of KTTH, who, like the White House, said he was not surprised by the local NPR affiliate’s decision.
“Given the new polling by Gallup, perhaps they thought the president was doing too good a job? If they have complaints about false information, they could, you know, do their jobs and correct the record,” he said.
“This is likely more driven by an angry, progressive Seattle base of listeners that complained. They’re simply triggered by the president’s voice, still upset they lost in 2016,” said Rantz.
“Their staff is full of progressive activists masquerading as honest journalists,” he continued. “It’s not so much that I care they’re progressive and have an agenda; it’s that they pretend not to. And this exposes them for what they are. But, hey, it’s Seattle. They’ll probably be called brave for keeping important information from the public.”