Petition urges major news networks to stop airing live Trump press briefings

Online call to action accuses president of politicizing coronavirus news conferences as a way ‘to freely campaign for a second term’

An online petition with nearly 100,000 signatures is urging national news networks to stop live-broadcasting President Donald Trump's updates at the daily White House coronavirus task force briefings.

The petition accuses Trump of using each briefing as a "live campaign rally," and calls on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR and Fox News to end full live coverage and instead have "anchors and correspondents quickly share appropriately edited valuable accurate parts" from the medical experts in attendance.

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“President Trump is blatantly using the news organizations’ extensive, live coverage to freely campaign for a second term,” the petition claims. “It is wrong and dangerous to provide so much unfettered airtime to someone who is happily, shamelessly spreading terrible, damaging misinformation that is already costing fellow Americans their lives.”

Networks should consider leaving “the President’s insults, false braggadocio and outright lies on the editing room floor, where they belong,” the petition states.

Newsweek reported that more than 90,000 people so far have signed the plea, which quickly grew from 10 signatures three days ago to tens of thousands by Tuesday.

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In a statement sent to Newsweek, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere dismissed the petition, saying “the American people should not be surprised that a radical far-left organization like that claims to promote equality and openness would rather not see this Administration provide accurate, up-to-date information on COVID-19 to the country,” Deere said, according to Newsweek.

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“Providing the public with as much information as possible right now is paramount and during these uncertain times, it is important that Americans hear from their President and top health experts,” Deere said in a statement.

Trump always kicks off the news briefings with his own update, but he has faced criticism for often being on a different page than the public health officials in his administration.

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Since the briefings began, he has faced accusations of politicizing, providing “misleading information,” while also verbally attacking reporters and repeatedly claiming that his “administration inherited a broken system, a system that was obsolete, a system that didn’t work.”

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The hashtag “#StopAiringTrump” was started earlier this week on social media, Newsweek reported.

KUOW, a member station of National Public Radio in Seattle, stopped airing the live press briefings last week “due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time.”