Analysis: As Trump defies coronavirus safety guidelines at rally, TV networks tread cautiously


It came to this: Major TV stations decided to stay outside while President Trump held a rally at a manufacturing plant in Nevada on Sunday, marking his first all-indoor rally since Tulsa in June. The media have shown more responsibility than the president.

I understand that Trump’s “what pandemic”? the attitude is shared by many of his supporters – and it feels good, viscerally, to pretend to ‘get back to normal’ – but Trump’s disregard for social distancing guidelines and other safety measures is a contradiction shocking recommendations from his own government and a violation of Nevada’s Restrictions on gatherings of 50 or more people.

On Sunday, I spoke with five people in the field in Nevada and five others who are involved in the news coverage decision making at headquarters. Bottom Line: Trump’s disregard for Covid safety guidelines is forcing news outlets to make tough decisions about how to keep employees safe. Sources have told me that all the major networks, from CNN to ABC to Fox News, have decided not to send their teams and correspondents to the Trump event due to concerns about Covid-19. Correspondents like CNN’s Jeremy Diamond reported from an outdoor location, which experts say is much safer than a confined space where many people share the air.

Some local television crews still went inside. And members of the White House press pool always attended the event, so all other media received videos, photos, and raw materials. There are usually 13 people in the so-called “pool”, representing the wires, print media, radio, television and photography.”There is definitely some anxiety in the pool,” one of the sources told me in advance, since the event was entirely indoors, with seats close together and no serious attempt at Covid containment . There are “temporary checks but that doesn’t make sense,” the source said. “Masks recommended but not compulsory. ”

Thousands of mostly unmasked Trump fans were in attendance. Some of the sources at the event told me that some of Trump’s aides were visibly wearing masks for the first time – a sort of admission that this event was riskier than the president’s other recent events.

>> Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a statement that Trump was taking “reckless and selfish actions that put countless lives at risk here in Nevada.”

Meanwhile, Fox laughs at Biden …

During the 9 p.m. hour on Fox News Sunday night, host Steve Hilton brought up the event indoors, not noticing all the angst that Trump had defied Covid security measures. Guest Lisa Marie Boothe praised Trump: “He’s also out there with vigor and energy, ready to face another four years, and you’ve got another guy who can’t even leave the basement. She looked like Trump, who tweeted on Saturday, “As I travel across the country, Joe sleeps in his basement.” The only problem? Biden visited several states last week. And on Sunday he went to church. The “basement” line is becoming more and more a lie …


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