"When many Americans woke to the news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, cable news had already been up much of the night, scrambling to cover October’s whopper of a surprise," says Lorraine Ali. The news broke just before 1 a.m. ET on Friday morning, prompting many TV news personalities to be awakened. "The Fox News team looked shellshocked as they broke the news, repeating that the president and his staff get tested daily — which they supplemented, as Friday wore on, with a somewhat new-for-the-network emphasis on the important of mask-wearing and hand-washing," says Ali, noting the "news outlet has been widely criticized for amplifying the White House’s dismissal of, and misinformation about, COVID-19 — almost right up to the moment the president tweeted that he and the first lady had tested positive." By midafternoon, she adds, "the pictures on cable news had become 'alarming and upsetting,' as Fox News host and debate moderator Chris Wallace put it, as the networks watched for the president to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House for the brief flight to Walter Reed. It was, as with so much of Trump’s presidency, both unprecedented and utterly surreal; on MSNBC, Brian Williams described a video posted to Trump’s Twitter account, in which the president thanked his well-wishers and announced his departure for the hospital, as 'proof of life and health' — a phrase that might be used alongside a video of an American held captive abroad. All the major networks and cable news outlets were there long before the chopper’s blades began to whir, streaming live feeds that interrupted their regular programming. They waited, the cameras fixed on the Secret Service personnel flanking the exit and Trump’s path to the helicopter. When he finally emerged, his departure was at first obscured from the news cameras, but a White House feed was released within minutes. It captured Trump in a suit and tie, replete with a mask, making the short walk to the awaiting craft. He flashed a big thumbs up for the camera before boarding, and as Marine One lifted off the media was left behind to continue covering the most bizarre twist in Trump’s presidency yet."