NEW YORK – The opening of the Republican National Convention on Monday offered quick proof that how it is covered by the news media will be an ongoing sore spot.
Day One featured a complaint about his coverage by President Donald Trump, some aggressive fact-checking by television reporters and an odd social media backlash against Fox News Channel, the favorite network of the president's fans.
Mostly viewers were repeatedly reminded of who the four-day program, reimagined because of the coronavirus pandemic, was all about. Trump gave an unexpected 54-minute address to delegates during the day, appeared in two segments from the White House in prime time and had his son give one of the featured speeches.
“This really is the Trump convention,” said NBC News' Andrea Mitchell.
MSNBC and CNN, the ratings leaders during last week's Democratic convention, were again the two commercial networks that showed the most of the party's program during the evening.
But unlike last week, they interrupted the Republicans for fact-checks and analysis. MSNBC interrupted a speech from a nurse who had praised Trump's response to COVID-19 for saving lives. “It's all propaganda,” said contributor Dr. Vin Gupta. “There's no truth to it.”
Similarly, the network broke into a speech by the Missouri couple who stood outside of their house with guns when a Black Lives Matter protest march went by, after noting on an onscreen chyron that they had been charged with unlawful use of a weapon.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said, “We do feel a responsibility to make sure that we are not unquestionably presenting things that are false, that are deliberately false and are potentially dangerously false.”