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Analysis: While Trump defies coronavirus safety guidelines at rally, TV networks exercise caution

September 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Xtreme Manufacturing, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

It has come to this: The major TV networks decided to stay outside while President Trump held a rally inside a manufacturing plant in Nevada on Sunday, marking his first fully-indoor rally since Tulsa in June.

It has come to this: The major TV networks decided to stay outside while President Trump held a rally inside a manufacturing plant in Nevada on Sunday, marking his first fully-indoor rally since Tulsa in June.

I understand that Trump's "what pandemic?" 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 shocking contradiction of his own government's recommendations and a violation of Nevada's restrictions on gatherings of 50 people or more.

On Sunday I spoke with five people on the ground in Nevada and another five who are involved in news coverage decision-making back at HQ.

The takeaway: Trump's defiance of Covid safety guidelines is forcing news outlets to make tough decisions about how to make staffers safe.

Sources told me that all the major networks, from CNN to ABC to Fox News, decided not to send their crews and correspondents into the Trump event due to Covid-19 concerns.

"There is definitely some anxiety in the pool," one of the sources told me ahead of time, since the event was fully indoors, with seats close together and no serious attempts at Covid containment.

Some of the sources at the event told me that some Trump aides noticeably donned masks for the first time — an admission of sorts that this event was riskier than the president's other recent events.

During the 9pm hour on Fox News Sunday night, host Steve Hilton brought up the indoor event, without noting all of the angst about Trump defying Covid safety precautions.

Guest Lisa Marie Boothe praised Trump: "He's also out there with vigor and energy, ready to tackle another four years, and you've got another guy who can't even leave the basement. " She sounded just like Trump, who tweeted on Saturday, "While I travel the Country, Joe sleeps in his basement. " The only problem?

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