News organizations should not air Trump's lies about January 6 live

Standing by for Trump to speak

Update (1/5/22): Trump has cancelled his press event. While the news conference was panned by some of his close advisers, more importantly, it was poised to not get much coverage. With Trump planning to make comments about January 6 at his upcoming rally outside of Phoenix, news organizations should apply similar judgment for that event as well.

Former President Donald Trump announced a press event on the anniversary of the January 6 attack. Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, issued the following warning to news organizations:

Donald Trump’s January 6 press event should be recognized for what it is: an opportunity for Trump to lie to downplay the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and set up his 2024 presidential campaign. It is critical that news networks do the right thing — refuse to carry it live, so they do not uncritically promote the lies and disinformation that is generated from Trump’s speech in real time. 

Trump has a well-established pattern of lying every time he opens his mouth. He has also had ample opportunities to weigh in on the insurrection — including when Fox hosts begged Trump to take action in real time to stop the riot. To give Trump a platform to spread lies and misinformation on this tragic anniversary would be to repeat the very mistakes that helped foment the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in the first place.

Media Matters’ recommendations echo those of New York University professor and author of PressThink Jay Rosen, who in responding to a prompt from a Columbia Business School adjunct professor on Twitter, offered recommendations for news outlets: 

  • No build up, no count down, no empty podium awaiting his arrival. 
  • Don't carry it live; disinformation risk too high. 
  • After it's over, sift for any genuine news and report it. 
  • Do not amplify familiar lies and distortions; they've all been fact-checked already.