CNN, NBC and other outlets cut out Trump's speech

Several major networks broke away from former President Donald J. Trump on Friday during an appearance that was promoted as a news conference at Trump Tower that was turned into a rambling and misleading speech.

It was the latest example of television journalists having to weigh the journalistic value of a major political moment — in this case, the criminal conviction of a former president — against the challenge of reporting on a candidate who regularly tells falsehoods.

Trump's unfiltered remarks were broadcast live by cable news channels and by NBC, which interrupted its usual daytime programming to cover his appearance. In the minutes before he began speaking, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News aired advance camera footage of an empty lectern.

Mr. Trump began by speaking in his usual discursive and dissimulating manner. He unleashed a litany of false statements about his Manhattan trial, attacking witnesses, calling the judge the “devil” and falsely accusing President Biden of involvement in the prosecution.

NBC put Trump on the air for 20 minutes before host Lester Holt intervened. “We were told it would be a press conference,” he told viewers, before calling in two legal analysts to analyze and fact-check the remarks. “There is no evidence that Biden was behind any of this,” Holt said.

ABC and CBS did not interrupt their regular programs.

On MSNBC, where hosts have sometimes refused to air Mr. Trump live, the former president's appearance aired for about 20 minutes before the network cut off. Later, a graphic on the screen read: “Trump's post-verdict remarks full of lies and attacks.”

CNN aired Trump for 18 minutes before switching to a fact-checking segment. Several networks told viewers they would return to Trump's appearance once he began speaking to reporters, but the former president did not respond to questions from the press. The New York Times livestreamed Trump's appearance on its website for about six minutes before cutting off the feed and continuing to post written updates on his blog.

Fox News broadcast Trump's appearance in full.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump infuriated television reporters when he teased a “major announcement” related to his past lies about Barack Obama's birthplace. The networks broadcast his remarks live, but the appearance quickly turned into a campaign rally.

“We have been fooled, once again, by the Trump campaign,” CNN's John King said at the time.

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