President Donald Trump has told over 16,000 lies since his inauguration, so it sadly didn't come as a surprise when his daily briefings on the current pandemic were rife with wild claims and false information.
Given the importance of accurate information in the face of a global health crisis, some have urged news outlets to fact check Trump in real time or stop covering his briefings all together, instead giving updates of accurate information from experts and health officials.
A National Public Radio (NPR) station in Seattle—KUOW—announced that it would stop broadcasting the briefings live due to a pattern of false information repeated from the podium.
KUOW is monitoring White House briefings for the latest news on the coronavirus — and we will continue to share all… https://t.co/KdOT6tCIgY— KUOW Public Radio (@KUOW Public Radio) 1585088228.0
However, we will not be airing the briefings live due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that… https://t.co/nSkcReAz29— KUOW Public Radio (@KUOW Public Radio) 1585088237.0
The station's reasons are far from baseless.
The virus's sudden escalation over the past month largely could have been prevented, but Trump claimed in February that the virus would disappear, like a "miracle" and that the U.S. would be down from 15 cases to zero cases in only a week.
Now, with nearly 60,000 cases nationwide, states are facing a shortage of lifesaving medical equipment as facilities begin to crowd. Trump claimed that he'd invoked the Defense Production Act, which would allow him to mobilize private companies to manufacture items like ventilators and surgical masks.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency later said that Trump hadn't actually invoked the DPA. When confronted with that information, Trump said that it wasn't necessary for him to enforce the act, because companies like General Motors and Ford had already volunteered and were making the equipment now. That was also a lie.
These were just the beginning.
Given the sheer level of misinformation coming from the President, many Twitter users commended the station for the announcement.
this is how it is done https://t.co/Xs7I69DAJN— darth™ (@darth™) 1585149420.0
Thank you! Its critical that our community and our community leaders have accurate information about how to protect… https://t.co/Cg2PuIpQIt— Tammy J. Morales (@Tammy J. Morales) 1585152953.0
NPR in Seattle not carrying Pres' briefings live due to the harm in the inaccuracies that cannot be checked in real… https://t.co/IewsQGzvHz— Hi I’m Patrick (@Hi I’m Patrick) 1585160276.0
GOOD, I'm glad someone is doing this. https://t.co/kFx8JOJDt6— Whitney Johnson (@Whitney Johnson) 1585091866.0
With Washington being one of the hardest-hit states by the virus, the price of misinformation to the state is high.
Some called on major news outlets to follow KUOW's lead.
Every news outlet should be doing this. https://t.co/4Y7U25TYm2— Callie Wright (@Callie Wright) 1585155706.0
KUOW, Seattle's NPR affiliate, will no longer broadcast White House briefings with President Trump "due to a patter… https://t.co/CtHxGr1sQ4— Travis Akers (@Travis Akers) 1585147045.0
ABC, CBS, NBC maybe you should follow suit. #TrumpLiesAmericansDie https://t.co/sApbgLYdIu— Rep. Richard Dangler (@Rep. Richard Dangler) 1585149158.0
People died and ended up in the ICU because of misleading medical claims made at these briefings. Will other news o… https://t.co/vGE14PdAbk— Dr. Seema Yasmin (@Dr. Seema Yasmin) 1585141625.0
Disinformation from the President cannot go unchecked.