Morning Joe: White House Briefings ‘Complete Waste of Time,’ ‘No Value’

News & Politics

Despite arguing just days earlier that the media should continue to cover the daily White House press briefings from the Coronavirus Task Force, on Monday, MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski dramatically flipped her position, wailing that the events were “a complete waste of time” that “literally have no value.”

“And so we’re looking at potentially 100 to 200,000 people dying….And the President last night, once again, Joe, taking three to four hours of his top-tier team’s time to work on his camera – camera time. So that he can go out and get attention and deliver absolutely nothing new,” Brzezinski decried early in the show’s 6:00 a.m. ET hour.

She continued her tirade and suggested that the act of holding a press conference to keep the public informed about the latest efforts to fight the pandemic was somehow delaying those very efforts:

These people standing on stage, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, and the other members of his team standing out there for hours, having to present something to the press, which meant they had to prepare something for the press. And it was all a complete waste of time, quite frankly, time being used to save lives. Time that was not used last night because the President needed attention.

In the 7:00 a.m. ET hour, Brzezinski again blasted the daily pressers, laughably claiming that MSNBC didn’t want to “be a part of spreading disinformation”:

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And as the President now is getting to the point where his news conferences literally have no value, I think the media – this is really tough, but the journalism community, the media community has to look at whether or not to carry his words. Because we cannot be a part of spreading disinformation, of lying to the American people. I think we need to wait to hear from the scientists, we need to listen and try and cull the news out of anything he is saying, but not carry his lies. It’s not fair to the American people.

During the very same show, Brezinski claimed without evidence that President Trump was promoting anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as possible treatment for COVID-19 because he must have “some sort of financial tie” to the medication.

Brzezinski’s co-host and husband Joe Scarborough jumped in to argue: “If you miss one of the President’s press conferences, it can be summed up in three or four minutes….I learned everything that the President, the task force had revealed over two hours of rambling on live television, on all the networks. Really, seriously, enough is enough.”

Doubling down on her condemnation of the briefings, Brzezinski went so far as to claim that people were dying because of them:

It’s important, though, to show the time that he is taking away from his team and from the very few people who are in place trying to navigate through this crisis and get to the end of it. He is taking their precious time as people are dying, moment by moment by moment. There is death after death after death that is on the President’s watch, on his watch. And when he takes that time away from the American people and from the people fighting this virus, he is preventing this situation from getting any better, you know what I’m saying.

Scarborough ranted: “Does it really make sense that Anthony Fauci and Dr. Birx stand up for two hours and listen to the President rambling on, saying the same thing over and over?…Do they have better things to do than to be props?” Brzezinski bitterly added: “To be made fools of.”

MSNBC has spent weeks railing against the briefings and arguing for the media to stop covering them:

Maddow: Trump’s ‘Fairy Tale’ Press Conferences Will ‘Cost Lives’, Wants Them Off TV

MSNBC: ‘Crazy,’ ‘Dangerous’ to Continue Airing Trump’s Corona Briefings

Chuck Todd Offers Obnoxious Disclaimer Before Coronavirus Briefing

MSNBC Talks Over Birx to Bash ‘Incoherent,’ ‘Rambling’ Trump ‘Mentally…Unraveling’

Here is a transcript of Morning Joe’s April 6 coverage blasting the briefings:

6:11 AM ET

(…)

JONATHAN LEMIRE [ASSOCIATED PRESS]: Let’s back up a little bit about that briefing. There was no briefing scheduled for Sunday night. The White House schedule that came out Saturday evening, said it was not listed. Sunday morning, aides told the reporters, nothing on the schedule. And, in fact, in the afternoon, they issued a lid, which is, to pull back the curtain a bit, is parlance for “You’re not going to see the President today,” telling reporters there won’t be any public events. As the day goes on, though, according to our reporting, the President got antsy. He had told people, you know, that he loves the spotlight. He knows he gets good ratings. Sunday nights, up against 60 Minutes. That’s a moment he wants to preempt 60 Minutes, he wants to be able to go on and talk to the nation. He had seen Governor Cuomo earlier in the day deliver his press briefing. Though reporters had been told there wouldn’t be one because it was Palm Sunday, the President decided to go ahead and offer one. At the same time, mind you, that Joe Biden was doing a virtual town hall about the coronavirus, so perhaps a little presidential counterprogramming. Reporters were hurried back to the White House, they attended the event. And as we all saw last night, there really wasn’t much in the way of news. A lot of presidential bluster, obfuscation and a lot of anger.

(…)

6:13 AM ET

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: And so we’re looking at potentially 100 to 200,000 people dying and looking at projections in the best of times. And the President last night, once again, Joe, taking three to four hours of his top-tier team’s time to work on his camera – camera time. So that he can go out and get attention and deliver absolutely nothing new. These people standing on stage, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, and the other members of his team standing out there for hours, having to present something to the press, which meant they had to prepare something for the press. And it was all a complete waste of time, quite frankly, time being used to save lives. Time that was not used last night because the President needed attention.

(…)

7:36 AM ET

BRZEZINSKI: And as the President now is getting to the point where his news conferences literally have no value, I think the media – this is really tough, but the journalism community, the media community has to look at whether or not to carry his words. Because we cannot be a part of spreading disinformation, of lying to the American people. I think we need to wait to hear from the scientists, we need to listen and try and cull the news out of anything he is saying, but not carry his lies. It’s not fair to the American people. I would suggest that we go on the air, and if he speaks and begins to lie, we do something like this – pay tribute to the first responders fighting on the behalf of others.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: But hold on a second, hold on a second

BRZEZINSKI: Think of those who are dying.

SCARBOROUGH: Before you get there, about this press conference. If you miss one of the President’s press conferences, it can be summed up in three or four minutes. And now that he’s just repeating the same thing that he’s been saying time and time again, there’s no reason to carry two minutes – two hours of him rambling around. When, again, I missed a couple of press conferences last week. I went online, I looked at the clips, and in about three minutes, in about three minutes, I learned everything that the President, the task force had revealed over two hours of rambling on live television, on all the networks. Really, seriously, enough is enough.

BRZEZINSKI: It’s important, though, to show the time that he is taking away from his team and from the very few people who are in place trying to navigate through this crisis and get to the end of it. He is taking their precious time as people are dying, moment by moment by moment. There is death after death after death that is on the President’s watch, on his watch. And when he takes that time away from the American people and from the people fighting this virus, he is preventing this situation from getting any better, you know what I’m saying.

SCARBOROUGH: Does it really make sense that Anthony Fauci and Dr. Birx stand up for two hours and listen to the President rambling on, saying the same thing over and over?

BRZEZINSKI: Do you think they might have better things to do?

SCRABOROUGH: Do they have better things to do than to be props? And then, Anthony Fauci is asked –  

BREZEZINSKI: To be made fools of.

SCARBOROUGH: Anthony Fauci is asked a question, and the president doesn’t even let him answer it because, of course, the President knows that the answer is science does not back up, yet, what he’s rambling on about.

(…)

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