President Donald Trump underscored his obsession with television ratings on Sunday, as he took a New York Times article titled “Trump’s Briefings Are a Ratings Hit. Should Networks Cover Them Live?” out of context.

The articles, written by Michael Grynbaum, sought to examine whether journalism outlets should broadcast Trump’s daily briefings about the coronavirus given the number of factual inaccuracies and fight-picking with journalists that transpire during these briefings.

Trump quoted Grynbaum’s commentary on the stellar ratings the coronavirus task briefings have received saying, “President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.’ Numbers are continuing to rise…”


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However, later in the piece, Grynbaum addresses the question of whether or not media companies should be broadcasting information that is widely inaccurate, and quoted MSNBC host Rachel Maddow speaking to her viewers.

“I would stop putting those briefings on live TV — not out of spite, but because it’s misinformation,” Maddow said last week.

Asked about tweeting excessively about his ratings during the Sunday briefing, Trump replied: “Well, I’ve read that CNN doesn’t want to cover them. I’ve read that — except they can’t help them because their ratings are so high. You know, if the ratings were low, they wouldn’t be here. This man wouldn’t be here. In 100 years you could bet your life that he would never be here with CNN and all their cameras…. because we help their ratings.”

Trump’s coronavirus task force briefings are designed to keep the public informed of the latest efforts and guidelines taking place to slow the spread of the virus, which has affected over 150,000 people in the U.S. and killed more than 3,000 — not to help the ratings of cable news networks.

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