A Washington state-based media station is taking action to help stop the spread of misinformation in the age of COVID-19. This week KUOW Public Radio, an NPR station, announced that it would no longer air the daily coronavirus briefings from the White House because claims made during the national addresses could not be fact-checked in real-time.

“KUOW is monitoring White House briefings for the latest news on the coronavirus — and we will continue to share all news relevant to Washington State with our listeners,” the station said in a tweet.

“However, we will not be airing the briefings live due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time,” it added.

KUOW Public Radio issues a statement via Twitter after a trend of misleading claims made during White House briefings.

KUOW’s decision comes more than two-weeks after the White House began daily briefings on the status of the COVID-19 crisis. Though its intention is to keep the American public informed, the press conferences have often turned into an opportunity to discredit journalists and their news organizations, a way to hold virtual campaign rallies for Trump, and most concerningly, a platform to spread lies and misleading information to the masses.

At a White House press briefing last week, Trump claimed that the FDA had approved the drug chloroquine to be available immediately for the treatment of COVID-19. 

Donald Trump speaks during a daily press briefing. KUOW has chosen to discontinue airing the national addresses live.
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on March 16, 2020. The first human trial to evaluate a candidate vaccine against COVID-19 has begun in Seattle, US health officials said, raising hopes in the global fight against the disease. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

“We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately,” Trumps said on live TV. “And that’s where the FDA has been so great. They — they’ve gone through the approval process; it’s been approved. And they did it — they took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription or states.”

The FDA attempted to quickly reverse the lie, but his statement had devastating implications. This week an Arizona man died from ingesting a form of the drug, and his wife was hospitalized. It also caused at least three Nigerians to overdose on the drug and, according to CNN, a 400 percent price hike for the medication in the African nation. 

ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as for tips on taking care of yourselves, your families and your communities.

TOPICS: