With the first U.S. coronavirus fatality confirmed in Washington state this weekend, one would expect media coverage to provide American people crucial, but measured information about the oncoming pandemic. Yet many members of our corporate press only see the public health crisis as another opportunity to attack the president.
Last week, The Federalist’s Political Editor John Davidson pointed out how the deadly global epidemic became a political talking point overnight, and predicted “we should expect the media to start stoking hysteria, the politicians to pile on the recriminations, and for everything—the disease itself and its aftereffects on public life—to get much worse.”
Indeed, it has gotten worse, but the media is not stoking hysteria in a way that would push Americans to take sensible precautions. Mainstream outlets have instead responded with coronavirus stories that lie about and misrepresent President Trump and his administration’s response to the virus. Journalists have cheered on the spread of the virus and its potentially devastating effects as a way of validating the horrors of a Trump presidency, not to mention a Trump re-election. Here are just nine examples:
1. Washington Post Columnist Lies About Trump ‘Hoax’ Quote
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank tweeted eight times this weekend about a now-debunked claim that President Trump deemed the coronavirus threat a “hoax” at his campaign rally in South Carolina. As is often the case with media reactions to Trump quotes, an examination of the president’s remarks in context not only proves the reporting inaccurate, but also usually reveals Trump to be right about whatever controversial subject is in play.
“Trump, in South Carolina, just called the coronavirus a ‘hoax,'” Milbank tweeted.
Remember this moment: Trump, in South Carolina, just called the coronavirus a "hoax."
— Dana Milbank (@Milbank) February 29, 2020
In context, Trump was complaining about Democrats politicizing the pandemic, just like they did with Russia and Ukraine hysteria for the sake of impeachment. “They tried the impeachment hoax that was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything. They tried it over and over. They’ve been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning, they lost, it’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax,” he said.
If you are pushing the narrative that Trump called coronavirus a “hoax,” you’re lying.
It’s pretty obvious what he’s saying here. pic.twitter.com/RlSoJ8ZSb8
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) February 29, 2020
As if right on cue, the very Democrat who organized the Russian, Ukrainian, and impeachment hoaxes against the president, Rep. Adam Schiff, sounded off about his “profound concerns” about Trump’s response to the coronavirus. “The president and vice president don’t inspire confidence,” Schiff told Fox News.
As demonstrated in this very article, Democrats and their media allies are indeed using cornoavirus misinformation and hysteria to falsely charge Trump. It’s clear he was not calling the virus itself a hoax, but its abuse as a political talking point.
Despite its inaccuracy, Milbank’s tweet is still up, along with seven others about the “hoax” quote. It must be too painful to delete a misleading tweet if it has 162,000 likes.
2. Politico Reports Trump Calls Coronavirus Liberal Conspiracy
Politico Reporters Nancy Cook and Matthew Choi also mislead readers with the headline, “Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a ‘hoax.'”
“He sought to deflect blame at a time when many Americans sought leadership and scientific facts,” the story reads, ignoring the multiple press conferences Trump held with Centers for Disease Control officials to explain new travel restrictions and other precautions.
3. New York Times Calls It ‘Trumpvirus’
In a not so subtle headline, New York Times Columnist Gail Collins suggests who is to blame for the coronavirus. Hint: It’s not China, where the outbreak all started.
4. ‘Trump Makes Us Ill’
Another New York Times headline directly placed the blame on Trump: “Trump Makes Us Ill.”
5. Paul Krugman Celebrates Plummeting Markets
Concerns about global supply lines have disrupted the previously skyrocketing stock market. The Dow droped down to 25,000 last week, and to New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman, it was an opportunity to celebrate.
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) February 28, 2020
6. WaPo Columnist Says Media Isn’t Doing Enough to Combat Trump On Virus Info
The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan took the “blame Trump” storyline a step further when she charged the media with “helping him spread” his lies.
In her op-ed, Sullivan lamented Trump’s “disdain for scientists, medical experts, intelligence officials, journalists and others who deal in fact-based reality.” Nevermind the White House’s coronavirus task force, and Vice President Mike Pence’s appointment of Ambassador Debbie Birx as the new response coordinator.
As noted in The Federalist Monday, Birx is a “physician, researcher, and former HIV/AIDS program chief at the Department of Defense and then at the CDC,” where she is respected for her “unparalleled leadership of the lifesaving global AIDS program first established by President Bush in 2003″ and under both the Obama and Trump administrations. Birx’s appointment more than defies this alleged “disdain for scientists” or “medical experts.”
Sullivan concludes with this jaw-dropping statement: “I’m convinced that we in the media, with all our obvious faults, have learned some things about covering Trump over the past four years. Now would be an excellent time to put it into practice.”
7. Media Lies About Trump ‘Muzzling’ Infectious Disease Experts
The New York Times reported last week that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “has told associates that the White House had instructed him not to say anything else without clearance.”
On ABC’s “This Week,” former Vice President Joe Biden repeated the claim. “This president hasn’t allowed his scientists to speak…he has the vice president speaking, not the scientists who know what they’re talking about, like Fauci,” he said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci disputed these claims at a White House briefing on Saturday, saying he has never been “muzzled” by the White House.
“I’ve never been muzzled and I’ve been doing this since Reagan,” Fauci responded. “That was a real misrepresentation of what happened.”
Reporter to President Trump: Why have you been muzzling Doctor Fauci?
Dr. Fauci: I’ve never been muzzled and I’ve been doing this since Reagan.
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) February 29, 2020
8. On ABC, Biden Makes False Claims About Scientists and Test Kits
ABC Anchor George Stephanopoulos let Biden make multiple false claims about Trump’s coronavirus response without any pushback. In addition to his claim about the muzzling of Dr. Fauci, Biden claimed the government has not “prepared a test kit to determine if anyone has the virus.”
“They haven’t set up a pattern for how to proceed. They cut the funding for the CDC…they tried to cut the funding for NIH,” Biden claimed. “They eliminated the office that we [the Obama administration] set up in the president’s office to deal with pandemic diseases.”
To give some media credit where it’s due, the Associated Press fact-checked both Biden and Mike Bloomberg for false claims, finding that “The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren’t suffering from budget cuts that never took effect.”
Additionally, there is a pandemic preparation plan in our public health system. The CDC already has a 52-page plan in place, and the Food and Drug Administration announced Saturday they would be allowing more labs to immediately begin testing for coronavirus.
9. Majority of CNN’s Coronavirus Coverage Focused on Trump
An analysis of CNN’s coronavirus coverage by the Media Research Center found most of it, at least 60 percent, was spent inviting guests to criticize the president, with questions like, “Do you think the administration, the White House, would be better served, though if they had someone – I don’t know – like a Dr. Luciana Borio in the position that you had held?” or “Is [Pence] the best-equipped to lead this effort at the White House?”