The China-caused coronavirus is sweeping the globe, and America's journalists are losing their minds. In fact, they are dangerously out of control, a Washington Free Beacon analysis discovered.
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) March 24, 2020
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The virus is starting to spread among members of the White House press corps. But even that doesn't explain the media's hysterical aggrievement in response to the crisis, which China's communist government could have dramatically curtailed, but didn't. Now they're essentially accusing him of murder because an Arizona couple decided to ingest aquarium cleaner.
When they aren't complaining about the indignity of being forced to work from home without a comfortable office chair, journalists have been conducting "analysis" suggesting the president wants U.S. media to behave more like China's. For reasons unknown, U.S. media have been doing just that all on their own, at least when it comes to regurgitating Chinese propaganda.
CNN and NBC, for example, were recently cited by Chinese state-run media in an effort to downplay China's responsibility for the pandemic. The nerds at Vox published a piece on "How the US stacks up to other countries in confirmed coronavirus cases" that doesn't mention China once. CNN in particular has been eager to promote authoritarian propaganda, even if it means shilling for Vladimir Putin, enemy of the anti-Trump "resistance."
Does Russia have coronavirus under control? According to information released by Russian officials, Putin's strategy seems to have worked. https://t.co/eWIulAXYnn
— CNN (@CNN) March 21, 2020
The media's early coverage of the coronavirus outbreak was rife with efforts to downplay its seriousness, a message Chinese authorities were eager to promote as well. The Washington Post published multiple pieces attempting to reassure Americans that the virus was no worse than the flu, warning against an "aggressive government response" to the outbreak.Vox tweeted on Jan. 31: "Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No." The tweet was deleted this week because it "no longer reflects the reality of the coronavirus story."
Even naming the source of the virus drives journalists over the edge. In late January, the New York Times was tweeting updates on the spread of the "Wuhan virus." By March, the once-storied publication was calling Republicans "racist and xenophobic" for using that term. At the same time, most media outlets were denouncing Trump's decision to ban travel from China as ineffective and racist—echoing former vice president Joe Biden's attack on the president's "hysterical xenophobia." Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health recently praised the travel ban for helping the United States avoid a more disastrous outbreak like the one seen in Italy. But what does he know? He's not a journalist.
To the surprise of no one outside the media bubble, the American people are slightly more inclined to trust President Trump than the media to provide accurate information on the coronavirus, according to a recent poll from CBS News. Trump's approval rating is at an all-time high, and a majority of Americans approve of his handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Accordingly, our nation's journalists responded by lashing out at the American people.
Former Obama bro Jon Favreau, for example, argued that Trump's rising poll numbers were evidence that "There is something deeply, deeply broken about the way Americans get their news and information in this country." New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie mused that Trump's high approval rating was the result of the dramatic increase in viewership of evening newscasts during the coronavirus outbreak, and the airing of clips "featuring a truncated Trump who appears more competent than he is as a result of editing."
Perpetually in denial about the erosion of public trust in the media, members of the media persist in considering themselves the primary drivers of public opinion—and thinking Trump is only popular because they aren't doing enough to persuade everyone he's bad. They can't accept, or even consider, that their outlook "no longer reflects the reality," to borrow a phrase.
As such, American journalists are currently debating the risks of airing the president's coronavirus briefings in a "live and unedited" format. Seattle's NPR station on Wednesday became one of the first outlets to announce they would stop airing Trump's briefings "due to a pattern of false or misleading information," a move that was celebrated by journalists and liberal activists, to the extent there is a difference.
Hysteria over the briefings had more to do with the state of the national media than with the president. "These are not rallies. These are press briefings. The idea that networks should consider not airing them is more an indictment of the fecklessness of the journalists in the room than of Trump himself," said former CNN producer Steve Krakauer.
Meanwhile, the media are covering congressional negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus bill slightly differently than they covered Republican "obstruction" under President Obama. Despite the best efforts of Democratic lawmakers to pack the bill with superfluous liberal priorities, including an entire section that would require corporate recipients of federal aid to submit "diversity data" to a congressional panel, the media have been reluctant to portray Democrats as obstructionist, even when they are blocking legislation.
Earlier this week, when Senate Democrats prevented passage of a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package, the Washington Post reported: "GOP stimulus bill fails an early test." The New York Times declared: "Partisan divide threatens deal on rescue bill." Now that the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has adjourned for the day. She's unlikely to feel pressure to act quickly. At least not from the media. They have more pressing concerns, like keeping Joe Biden alive.