The mainstream media is exploiting the death of South Dakota Gov. Krist Noem’s grandmother in an effort to shame the Republican for her COVID-19 response.
According to the governor’s office, Noem’s grandmother, 98-year-old Aldys Arnold, died in her sleep on Nov. 22.
“Kristi Noem’s grandmother died in a nursing home hit by COVID-19 as the South Dakota governor continued to downplay the virus,” reads the headline published by Business Insider and re-upped by Yahoo! News.
The story acknowledges that “Arnold tested negative for COVID-19 before her death,” but goes on to focus on Noem’s COVID-19 policies, South Dakota’s rising coronavirus numbers, and the virus-related deaths in the nursing home where Noem’s grandmother resided. The article also criticized Noem’s decision to refuse a state-wide mask mandate.
Even though a statement from Noem’s spokesperson urging the outlet to “not politicize” Arnold’s death because “it’s callous at best” was included in the piece, Business Insider devoted the rest of the article to citing sources meant to combat the spokesperson’s claims that mask mandates don’t work.
Noem’s office told The Federalist that the article and headline were “shameful.”
The governor’s spokesperson previously reprimanded multiple news outlets including a CBS-affiliate for attempting to spin Arnold’s death, noting that the governor’s office was “very disappointed that you’re trying to politicize this,” calling journalists’ behavior “beneath contempt.”
While the media has selectively focused its COVID-19 mitigation criticisms and shaming on red states who have relaxed COVID-19 restrictions such as South Dakota, Florida, and Texas, it has largely ignored the rising numbers and deaths in Democrat-run states like Illinois, which recorded 15,415 cases in just one day.
CNN recently interviewed a South Dakota emergency room nurse who claimed that patients dying of COVID-19 in “overrun” hospitals in her area are spending their last moments in denial that they have the virus. CNN failed to fact check the nurse’s claims before giving her a platform, and they have since been found at odds with data tracking COVID-19 deaths in the hospital where she works, or even her region of the state.