One day last year, back when Donald Trump was president, CNN displayed an on-screen graphic that blared the devastating headline: “CHILDREN COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS HIT ALL-TIME HIGH.”
The anchor leading the segment astutely noted that this is happening under Trump’s watch and that he was not taking the pandemic seriously, perhaps putting thousands of lives of young children at risk.
Wait, let me check my notes. Actually, that graphic aired just this week on Wednesday and Joe Biden is now president. But oddly enough, the good people at CNN — indeed, the entire national media — have found no story angles that call into question Biden’s leadership as we watch scores of children fall sick and in need of critical care.
No, as the media tell it, none of this is Biden’s responsibility at all. His hands are squeaky clean, even though the latest from his own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that children 17 and younger are being hospitalized with COVID at a rate nearly five times higher than what we saw at the start of the summer.
The CDC further notes that children aged four and under, who are supposed to be among the least vulnerable to severe COVID illness, experienced the “sharpest increase” in hospitalization at a rate now 10 times that of what was happening in late June.
That’s a lot of disease spread under the guy who promised he would “shut down the virus.” That’s a lot of disease spread under the guy who was actually very lucky to have inherited two spectacular gifts from his predecessor: Not just one but three viable vaccines, plus a plummeting trend in new infections and hospitalizations.
Just looking at children, for the week ending Jan. 23, which was the week Biden took office, there was a total of 81 children hospitalized with COVID, according to the CDC. That number trended downward to a low (for Biden’s presidency) of 20 child hospitalizations for the week ending June 19.
Since then, the number has been brought to a boil. In the first week of August, the CDC reported 90 children hospitalized, surpassing the 81 children hospitalized at the start of Biden’s presidency. The second week of August, the number climbed to 97. The week after that, the number was 108.
Those numbers should shake anyone’s core no matter who is president, let alone the man who, with great assist from the media, sold himself as the competent government manager able to bring the pandemic to a swift close.
To be sure, even as Biden’s pandemic performance gets spun by the media, voters appear to have seen it for what it is, at least to some degree. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that approval for Biden on handling the coronavirus has dropped 10 points since June, from 62 percent to 52 percent.
The number of children susceptible to the virus was supposed to be infinitesimal. But then Biden came into office and it has grown at an exponential rate. Kids keep getting sick.
Why shouldn’t he be held responsible? To the extent that the media even bother to mention Biden, it’s to burnish the image they helped create of the president as a tough decision-maker wading into a war zone.
CNN anchor Kate Bolduan began a segment Wednesday going over the latest tragic COVID numbers. “Nearly 1,500 Americans are dying each day from coronavirus and vaccination rates are on the decline once again,” she said. (Fact check: Both true!) Then she got to work assuring viewers that Biden was right on top of things. “And these are two of the reasons that the White House is turning their focus back here again, announcing that President Biden will be delivering what’s being described as a major speech tomorrow, where he will announce a new plan to tackle the pandemic and fight back against the delta variant.”
You hear that, folks? What’s being described (by Biden’s White House team) as “a major speech” is in the works! Those sick kids will be back on their feet in no time!
The segment continued with correspondent Arlette Saenz offering that Biden was “hoping to offer more explanation of the next phase of combating the pandemic.”
We’re in the heat of the worst surge in new infections since the winter but fear not. Biden is here and fighting for you!
Saenz further noted that “the details” of Biden’s forthcoming plan “are still being ironed out” but that the president “will be briefed” in advance.
If that doesn’t steel your spine with confidence, what will?
But compare that to how CNN covered the pandemic under Trump in early October 2020, when the new infection rate was a quarter of what it is now. Jake Tapper said the White House was “failing in the pandemic response.” He also said that Trump, who had contracted the virus, “has become a symbol of his own failures.” Back then, we were averaging a little more than 43,000 new infections per day. A few days ago, we were averaging more than 150,000.
If 43,000 is a “failure” of then-President Trump, what is 150,000 under current President Biden?
Hush, now. Don’t you worry about that. There remains what’s being described as a major speech on the way.