News Organizations Cut Away From Trump’s Misleading Speech

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

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

Mr. Trump’s unfiltered remarks were carried live by cable news channels and NBC, which broke into its usual daytime programming to cover his appearance. In the minutes before he began speaking, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News all aired anticipatory camera shots of an empty lectern.

Mr. Trump began by speaking in his usual discursive, dissembling 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 being involved in the prosecution.

NBC aired Mr. Trump for 20 minutes before the anchor Lester Holt cut in. “We were told this was going to be a news conference,” he told viewers, before bringing on two legal analysts to dissect and fact-check the remarks. “There is no evidence that Biden was behind any of this,” Mr. Holt said.

ABC and CBS did not interrupt their regular shows.

On MSNBC, where anchors have sometimes refused to air Mr. Trump live, the former president’s appearance aired for about 20 minutes before the network broke away. Later, an on-screen graphic read: “Trump Post-Verdict Remarks Riddled With Lies and Attacks.”

CNN broadcast Mr. Trump for 18 minutes before cutting to a fact-checking segment. Several networks told viewers they would return to Mr. Trump’s appearance once he began speaking with reporters, but the former president did not take press questions. The New York Times, on its website, had a livestream of Mr. Trump’s appearance for about six minutes before cutting the feed and continuing to publish written updates on its blog.

Fox News aired Mr. Trump’s appearance in its entirety.

During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump infuriated television journalists when he teased a “major announcement” related to his past lies about Barack Obama’s place of birth. Networks took his remarks live, but the appearance quickly turned into a campaign rally.

“We got played, again, by the Trump campaign,” John King of CNN said at the time.

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