First lady Melania Trump was accused of violating mask rules at a children’s hospital by media outlets that did little to correct their false reporting when called out.
Outlets including CNN and The Hill blared that Trump had removed her face mask during a visit this week to the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., claiming that the facility’s policy was violated. But while the hospital and the first lady’s chief of staff quickly punched a hole in that narrative, the news outlets offered no apologies and only integrated the comments in revised versions of their reports.
“Melania Trump breaks children’s hospital rules by taking her mask off to read to patients,” a CNN headline after the event on Tuesday read.
“First lady Melania Trump broke stated mask policy at Children’s National Hospital Tuesday when she removed her mask to read a holiday book to children,” CNN’s Betsy Klein claimed, quoting the hospital’s mask-wearing policy.
Had a wonderful visit with the courageous children, families & dedicated hospital professionals @ChildrensNatl. It was a pleasure to read an inspiring Christmas story & play a fun game safely w the children. #MerryChristmas pic.twitter.com/kcKgjO5aCq
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) December 16, 2020
While an updated headline on The Hill read, “Melania Trump removes mask to read to young patients at hospital,” an earlier version reportedly declared that she was “breaking hospital rules.”
“First Lady Melania Trump took off her mask to read to children at the Children’s National Hospital on Tuesday, breaking state and hospital rules that require visitors wear a mask,” The Hill’s Joseph Choi wrote.
But Children’s National Hospital made it clear that was not the case.
“The hospital website does not include the mask policy for people who come to the hospital to give a speech,” the hospital said in a statement Tuesday.
“The first lady did follow our mask protocols for public speakers, which is based on DC health guidance, which states that wearing a mask is not required when a person is giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, provided no one is within six feet of the speaker,” the statement, shared on Twitter by the first lady’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, continued.
Today, I was grateful to return to @ChildrensNatl to read an inspiring Christmas story & play a game safely with the children. During all of my visits, I have felt the children’s warmth, seen the joy in their eyes & the bright smiles on their faces. #MerryChristmas pic.twitter.com/rcOFmaYFwY
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) December 16, 2020
“In the case of today’s visit, which was broadcast to our patient rooms, when the first lady did remove her mask while she read a story, she was more than 12 feet away from others in our four-story atrium,” the hospital added. “This space was closed off from hospital visitors and the small group of people in that space were … wearing masks. For the remainder of the first lady’s visit, she wore a mask and did not visit any patient care areas.”
Grisham slammed CNN in her tweet, calling out “another false attack” against Trump.
“Running an inaccurate headline that willfully contradicts the statement made by the hospital. Despite our request, they refuse to update their headline,” she tweeted.
Yet another false attack on @FLOTUS by @CNN. Running an inaccurate headline that willfully contradicts the statement made by the hospital. Despite our request, they refuse to update their headline. See statement below: https://t.co/HoRz1emhEc pic.twitter.com/T9hOGaDIOl
— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) December 16, 2020
The Hill did not note that their headline had been changed but added an update at the very end of the piece saying the report had been changed to include “additional information about the visit and the White House statement.”
A “correction” was added to the end of the article as well:
CORRECTION: First lady Melania Trump did not break hospital rules in taking off her mask. An original version of this story based on CNN’s report included incorrect information.
Meanwhile, CNN did not change their false headline at all. The report was updated to include a “White House readout of the event” issued later and noted the addition in a note at the end.
“In the case of today’s visit which was broadcast to our 325 patients, while the First Lady did remove her mask while she read a story, she was more than 12 feet away from others in our large atrium,” Children’s National spokeswoman Diana Troese told CNN. “All other people in that space were wearing masks. The remainder of her visit, she wore a mask.”
Fox News contributor Joe Concha slammed those claiming Melania Trump has not been mistreated by the media, reacting to a recent outrageous comment by “The View” co-host Joy Behar and saying that she has been “treated the worst of any first lady we’ve seen in the modern era.”
He spoke about Trump’s hospital visit with “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday.
(Source: Fox News)
“The implication also here is that there is a room full of kids sitting right in front of her and she was reading to them. No, there were only two children present,” Concha said after reminding viewers that the first lady has already had and recovered from COVID-19.
“Know this: Melania Trump, the first lady, has been treated more poorly by a country mile than any other first lady in history and that’s a shame,” he added. “She is just there to read to sick kids. Can’t we just concentrate on that, put the vitriol aside for three minutes instead of attacking again and again? “
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