Kudos to USA Today. People have got to point out that the emperor has no clothes. ewwww....
The networks did not immediately agree to broadcast his speech. There is precedent for this. And there is apparently increasing discussion about what to do about the serial inaccuracies and lies.
President Trump, who cemented a national following on reality TV, is used to addressing the American people on-screen and in prime time. So his speech Tuesday evening from the Oval Office will find him squarely within his comfort zone.
The networks that have agreed to carry his remarks on immigration and his demands for a wall at the southern border won’t have it so easy.
They are in uncharted waters, not because Trump is the first president to request airtime for a major address. But because “Trump is unlike any president that the country has ever had in the sense that he frequently and routinely says things that are untrue,” said Mike Ananny, an expert in media and technology at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
This presents a dilemma for television networks and affiliated local stations around the country aiming to fulfill their “role as first informers,” as a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters described their function to The Washington Post. At the same time, these outlets are under mounting pressure not to propagate the president’s false statements, which have proliferated amid his standoff with congressional Democrats over wall funding and the partial government shutdown.
“The challenge that the media faces is you don’t want to give a platform to somebody who is known to lie a lot, but at the same time, this is still the president of the United States, who has a lot of power and continues to use that power,” Ananny said in an interview with The Post. “The challenge the press has is to call the president out for what I expect will be the lies he will tell, because he tells them all the time, and to call them out in real time.”
The networks could hold Trump accountable using a number of measures, such as insisting on an advance copy of the speech or instituting a delay to make time for on-the-spot fact-checking, Ananny said, rather than just giving Trump a pass in wall-to-wall coverage.
It wasn’t clear Monday which, if any, of those options were on the table. At the end of November, CNN made an attempt to fact-check a White House press briefing in real time by placing a “Facts First” box on-screen as press secretary Sarah Sanders spoke. The network didn’t immediately respond to a query about whether it would employ a similar strategy on Tuesday.
Joe Lockhart, a former White House press secretary under President Bill Clinton, urged media outlets to “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.” If Trump went off-script, as is his wont, “cut away,” he advised.