CNN omitted critical information from its coverage of several Florida teachers in Broward County dying from COVID-19 on Friday, in an attempt to smear Gov. Ron DeSantis for prohibiting school districts from requiring students to wear facemasks for the upcoming school year.
The moment came during the network’s “New Day” program, in which CNN co-anchors Brianna Keilar and John Berman issued a breaking news report on the deaths of several educators in Broward County, Florida.
“More breaking news, we have a sad development we just learned of out of Florida,” Berman began. “WFOR is reporting that four teachers from Broward County have died from COVID in a single day. The teachers union chief told the affiliate that three of the four, at least three of the four were unvaccinated. The status of the fourth not currently unknown.”
Berman then pivoted to DeSantis, wherein the CNN anchor went on to insinuate that the Florida governor’s ban on school mask mandates are to blame for the deaths and rising cases among school district employees.
“Since August 1st, we’re told Broward County employees had 108 employees test positive,” Berman added.
“That is stunning […] and as we understand it, two of these teachers are from the same school,” Keilar responded. “This is obviously going to be met with a lot of grief in that community, and it’s showing the cost of COVID there, especially for the unvaccinated.”
In finishing his remarks, Berman went on to advocate for allowing school districts to enforce mask mandates on students and faculty.
“In one day,” he said. “And this is the context with which these officials in Broward County are asking for the freedom to make the decisions that they think they think are right for their schools.”
What CNN left out of their reporting, however, was the fact that Broward County schools don’t begin instruction until next week, meaning that teachers who died from COVID-19 did not contract the virus in the classroom. Moreover, the crucial context was also missing from Keilar’s tweet on the story.
BREAKING: WFOR is reporting that 4 teachers from Broward county have died of covid in a single day.
Three were unvaccinated. We don’t know the status of the 4th. pic.twitter.com/uT4XW7irc5
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) August 13, 2021
DeSantis Press Secretary Christina Pushaw reacted to the misleading coverage, blasting CNN for “exploiting tragedies to score political points.”
“By neglecting to mention this very important fact, CNN implied that the teachers died from catching COVID in school and tried to tie it to DeSantis’ mask mandate ban,” she told The Federalist. “This is incredibly and grossly dishonest.”
The Broward Teachers Union has since issued a correction on the matter, now confirming that only two teachers had died from COVID-19 instead of the three originally reported.
Correction: The Broward Teachers Union originally announced three teachers had died but has since issued a correction saying two teachers have died. https://t.co/HhErUXgDMR
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) August 13, 2021