CBS Claims Trump’s Twitter Feud Just a Distraction from Virus Deaths

 CBS Claims Trump’s Twitter Feud Just a Distraction from Virus Deaths

While downplaying Silicon Valley’s documented censorship of conservatives, Thursday’s CBS Evening News accused President Trump of picking a fight with Twitter because it was a distraction from the coronavirus death toll, which surpassed 100,000 earlier in the week. Yet, White House correspondent Ben Tracy couldn’t even bring himself to say that it was conservatives who were accusing Twitter of censoring them.

Addressing anchor Norah O’Donnell, Tracy began by declaring: “this appears to be presidential payback and a welcome distraction for President Trump from the mounting coronavirus death toll.” And as a way to insinuate the President didn’t care about those lives lost, he noted: “He did mention that today on Twitter.”

Tracy continued that line of argument when he implied Trump’s statement on the death toll was inadequate compared to that of the Democrat-controlled House, and presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden:

TRACY: Members of the House of Representatives bowed their heads in a moment of silence. Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke of a nation in grief.

BIDEN: Each one leaving behind a family that will never again be whole.

TRACY: But President Trump, who has avoided talking publicly about the death toll, mentioned it only in a tweet, one of over 30 today, calling it “A very sad milestone.”

And in reporting on the President’s executive order seeking a review of the legal liability protections for websites, Tracy refused to say that it was conservatives who were concerned about being censored. Instead, he read off two cherry-picked quotes from the order. “Today’s executive order accuses of online companies of ‘engaging in selective censorship’ and ‘disfavoring certain viewpoints,’” he said.

In contrast, the reports from ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News were honest enough to tell their viewers that it was conservatives making the accusation.

Speaking of things they were honest enough to say on-air, they also reported that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was against social media sites trying to be the arbiters of truth. “We have a different policy, I think, than Twitter on this. I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” he told Fox News Wednesday and they (ABC/NBC) reported Thursday.

CBS chose a different soundbite from that interview to spin as Zuckerberg’s sole thought on the matter:

TRACY: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg argued the President’s order makes no sense.

ZUCKERBERG [on FNC’s The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino, 05/28/20]: I think a government choosing to censor a platform because they’re worried about censorship doesn’t exactly strike me as the– the– the right reflex there.

As Tracy wrapped up, he channeled former CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley as he speculated how the executive order could “backfire” on Trump, saying: “If Twitter is liable for the things its users’ post, that means it might have to crack down even more on President Trump when he pushes the boundaries of truth.

There was still no mention of how Twitter’s fact-checker had a history of anti-Trump hatred, nor how the company had to be shamed into fact-checking Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

CBS Evening News
May 28, 2020
6:40:58 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: For years, the social media site Twitter has been at the center of President Trump’s unconventional communication strategy. But today, the President signed an executive order to review laws that protect sites like Twitter from legal liability after it angered him by fact-checking his posts. CBS’s Ben Tracy is at the White House tonight. Ben.

BEN TRACY: Norah, this appears to be presidential payback and a welcome distraction for President Trump from the mounting coronavirus death toll. He did mention that today on Twitter.

[Cuts to video]

Members of the House of Representatives bowed their heads in a moment of silence. Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke of a nation in grief.

JOE BIDEN: Each one leaving behind a family that will never again be whole.

TRACY: But President Trump, who has avoided talking publicly about the death toll, mentioned it only in a tweet, one of over 30 today, calling it “A very sad milestone.”

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We’re here today to defend free speech.

TRACY: The President’s focus has been on punishing Twitter and other tech giants after two of his tweets attacking mail-in ballots were flagged for making false claims.

TRUMP: And what they choose to ignore or even promote is nothing more than a political activism group or political activism.

TRACY: Today’s executive order accuses of online companies of “engaging in selective censorship” and “disfavoring certain viewpoints.” It calls for a review of the 25-year-old law protecting internet sites from legal liability for what their users post. The President said if he could, he’d just shut down Twitter.

TRUMP: If it were legal, if it were able to be legally shut down, I would do it.

TRACY: He can’t, and legal experts say the executive order itself will not stand up in court. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says the company will continue fact-checking disputed claims. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg argued the President’s order makes no sense.

MARK ZUCKERBERG: I think a government choosing to censor a platform because they’re worried about censorship doesn’t exactly strike me as the– the– the right reflex there.

[Cuts back to live]

TRACY: Now, the President’s executive order could backfire on him. If Twitter is liable for the things its users post, that means it might have to crack down even more on President Trump when he pushes the boundaries of truth. Norah.

O’DONNELL: Ben Tracy at the White House, thank you.