Liberals and members of the mainstream media say President Trump’s prime time address tonight should not be carried live, and that networks should demand to see the text of the speech beforehand, or run a non-stop “fact check” at the bottom of the screen.
“First of all, just because Trump wants to address the nation doesn’t mean networks should air it,” said Seth Meyers, host of NBC’s “Late Night.” “Otherwise, they’re just passing on his lies unfiltered. They should either reject him outright, or, if he insists on speaking in prime time, make him do it as a contestant on ‘The Masked Singer,'” Meyers joked.
“Some advice,” tweeted Joe Lockhart, the former White House press secretary under President Bill Clinton. “Demand to see the text in advance and if it is not truthful either don’t air it or fact check it live on lower third. And cut away if he goes off text and starts lying.”
“It is a disservice to the American people to broadcast, without context or real-time fact-checking, someone who is using the airwaves for the sole purpose of lying to the American people about an overtly racist agenda,” wrote Kurt Bardella, an opinion writer for USA Today.
Here are several options for how the news networks could approach Trump’s Tuesday night remarks:
►Air the president’s address on a 15-to-30 minute delay so they can fact-check his statements and air those fact-checks as the remarks are broadcast.
►Refuse to air the speech in its entirety and only air truly newsworthy sound bites about substance and public policy.
►Get an advance copy of the speech and clear it for accuracy before agreeing to air it.
►Give a Democrat, such as Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, equal time to rebut the president.
This is all part of a made-up debate begun by liberal “news” organizations about whether they should ever carry Trump’s speeches or press conferences live. Of course, there was no debate during former President Barack Obama’s two terms, but then again, those news orgs agreed with Obama’s lies and “alternative facts.” Still, there was one time the major networks told Obama no.
“There is precedent for broadcast networks declining to air a presidential speech,” CNN pointed out in a piece this week. “In 2014, ABC, NBC, and CBS declined to carry an address delivered by President Barack Obama on immigration, though Obama’s White House never formally requested time after it was determined networks would be reluctant to agree to broadcast it.”
That’s because Obama wanted an 8 p.m. time during November “sweeps,” when several popular shows, like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Bones” were scheduled to air. Plus, “a network insider” told Politico, “There was agreement among the broadcast networks that this was overtly political,” The Washington Post reported.
Still, liberal news orgs say Trump should be censored. Margaret Sullivan, a media columnist for The Washington Post and former public editor for The New York Times, told CNN Business, “I would prefer to see news organizations harvest whatever is newsworthy from [rallies, sprays, briefings] and air parts of them with appropriate fact-checks and context. Otherwise we run the risk of being used for purely political purposes.”
Bardella went further in his USA Today piece: “Make no mistake about it, if the media decide to air the president’s remarks unchallenged and unfiltered, they are complicit in spreading propaganda and disinformation to the American people.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday demanded equal air time to respond — something that is only done during State of the Union addresses from presidents.
“Now that the television networks have decided to air the President’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement.
Hours late, at least one network — ABC — had agreed to carry the two top Democrats live as the rebut the president.