The office of Vice President Mike Pence has decided that it will no longer allow the White House’s top medical officials to appear on CNN unless the network agrees to carry the daily Coronavirus Task Force press briefings in their totality.

CNN reported the blocking of medical officials from the Trump administration on Thursday morning:

“Pence’s office, which is responsible for booking the officials on networks during the pandemic, said it will only allow experts such as Dr. Deborah Birx or Dr. Anthony Fauci to appear on CNN if the network televises the portion of the White House briefings that includes the vice president and other coronavirus task force members.”

The network often covers only part of the daily briefing and cuts away once President Donald Trump finishes making his remarks and taking questions from reporters.

But apparently that isn’t enough for the VP’s office, CNN notes:

“‘When you guys cover the briefings with the health officials then you can expect them back on your air,’ a Pence spokesperson told CNN.

If that sounds a bit like the White House wants to decide what a media does or doesn’t air, you’d be absolutely right. Not to mention that it reeks of what can best be called bribery and extortion.

Fauci has appeared on all four of CNN’s Town Hall meetings devoted to COVID-19, but Pence’s office has now informed the network that no one from the White House will be appearing on a town hall scheduled for Thursday.

It should be noted that CNN has repeatedly offered to conduct and air an interview with the president regarding the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, but Trump has refused, only appearing on Fox News where the hosts treat him with kid gloves and shower him with praise and adulation.

If the White House wants better treatment from CNN, maybe they should meet the network halfway. Of course, there’s no need for anyone to hold their breath waiting for that to happen.