The mainstream media are criticizing the Trump White House for referring to the coronavirus pandemic as "Chinese," suggesting the designation is racist and xenophobic.
White House reporters grilled President Donald Trump about calling it a "Chinese virus" on Wednesday, with ABC's Cecilia Vega telling him "a lot of people say it's racist." Trump replied it wasn't racist and he uses those words because the virus came from China.
MSNBC's John Heilemann called Trump's phrasing Wednesday "blatantly racist," and NBC News reporter Richard Engel said the virus did not "speak Chinese" and was more accurately a "bat virus."
"We need to stop calling it or labeling it like it's ‘they did it to us,'" The View‘s Whoopi Goldberg said Wednesday.
Last week, after Trump referred to the virus as "foreign" during his March 11 Oval Office address, CNN's Jim Acosta said it could come off as "smacking of xenophobia." CNN's Chris Cuomo said the shift in phrasing was out of a desire to find someone to "blame."
"Viruses don't have a nationality," CNN's Alisyn Camerota said following Trump's speech last week.
However, members of the same news outlets referred to the virus's "Chinese" and "Wuhan" origins themselves, as recently as last month.
This comes as the Chinese government seeks to obfuscate its corrupt and bungled handling of the virus's outbreak within its own borders and to spread misinformation about its origins. Despite experts agreeing the coronavirus outbreak began last year in Wuhan, China, state propagandists have sought to shift blame to the United States. One Foreign Ministry spokesman even falsely claimed American soldiers were responsible for bringing it to Wuhan.
"I didn’t appreciate the fact that China was saying that our military gave it to them," Trump said on Wednesday. "I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma."