Fox News on Sunday abruptly cut away from President Trump’s daily White House press briefing after he went off on an extended rant bragging about his ratings as the U.S. coronavirus death toll climbed above 2,400.
“The American public, ultimately, they should be the decider. It’s like if they don’t want to watch they shouldn’t watch,” Trump responded after a reporter asked why some news networks did not want to cover his briefings.
“We shouldn’t have bigger ratings than ‘The Bachelor’, or as the New York Times said, we have Monday night football type ratings,” Trump bragged, before Fox News abruptly cut away from Trump.
Fox News cuts coverage the second the President’s answer devolves into a rant about ratings and The Bachelor. They cut audio until he’s done talking pic.twitter.com/nygvqUtlLL
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) March 29, 2020
After Trump moved on to a different reporter, Fox News resumed their live coverage of his briefing.
Earlier in the day, Trump took to Twitter to boast about the ratings of his daily live news conferences on the coronavirus, suggesting that the large viewer numbers — rather than the misleading remarks he has made during them — are fueling discussions in the media about ending the practice of broadcasting them live and unfiltered.
“Because the ‘Ratings’ of my News Conferences etc. are so high, ‘Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers’ according to the [New York Times], the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY,” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon.
Because the “Ratings” of my News Conferences etc. are so high, “Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers” according to the @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY. “Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him.” said one lunatic. See you at 5:00 P.M.!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020
Trump followed that tweet with four others that quoted a New York Times story that referred to the president’s daily briefings as “a ratings hit.”
However, Trump didn’t mention that the primary angle of that story was whether networks should even air his addresses to the media because of the risk of the president spreading of false or misleading information.
Fox News contributor Brit Hume pushed back on the president’s boastful tweets, tweeting: “Why bother to tweet about this, of all things?”
Why bother to tweet about this, of all things? https://t.co/ORce5bNNMy
— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 29, 2020
On CNN, I said people are dying while Trump is talking about his ratings. It is beneath any human being. Trump's inner circle needs to intervene. https://t.co/toCDou4cAv
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 29, 2020