Amid indications that President Trump may scale back his unwieldy coronavirus briefings, MSNBC host Chris Hayes again lamented the cable news networks’ decision to carry the hours-long news conferences, calling them a “pathological narcissistic propaganda show.”
In a fiery segment on Friday evening’s show, Hayes criticized the president for hyping miracle cures for the novel coronavirus, noting that Trump’s commitment to promoting relatively untested and outright dangerous solutions was putting Americans in danger.
But he also reminded his own viewers that the cable news networks were complicit in allowing Trump a massive platform to promote these ideas, and share misinformation, unproven theories, and bad medical science.
“There’s no plan or solutions coming from the White House,” Hayes said. “Instead, there is—every night carried on this network and others —a two-hour pathological narcissistic propaganda show in which the president feels some fleeting sense of satisfaction because people are watching him. And then he goes back to watching more TV.”
In the aftermath of Trump’s insane suggestion during a presser on Thursday that injecting disinfectants may be a viable coronavirus treatment, White House officials signaled to The Daily Beast that they might scale back Trump’s involvement in the televised events.
The president appeared during Friday’s briefing, but ended the event after just 20 minutes without taking questions, and there was no official White House briefing scheduled for Saturday.
Trump’s curtailed public appearances mark a dramatic turnaround for the president, who has appeared nearly every day over the past month, and has relished sparring with the assembled White House press corps.
Over the past several months, staffers at a number of television networks have publicly stated that the briefings should not be taken live by their own networks.
MSNBC hosts including Hayes, Maddow, and the hosts of Morning Joe have all repeatedly argued that news organizations should not air the president’s comments live.
Insiders at MSNBC and CNN have fumed as their networks have continued to carry the briefings live, arguing that the live broadcasts give Trump free reign to spread misinformation and turn medical briefings into political rallies, using the media as a punching bag.
“Why are we still playing this game?” one MSNBC staffer lamented after one presser earlier this month. “On the one hand, we have a duty to show the news, so we always just wait to see [what he says before cutting away]. But when has this ever been anything other than a reality television show?”