All We Have to Fear Is the MSM Itself

COMMENTARY
X
Story Stream
recent articles

President Trump finally answered the concerns of millions of Americans on Monday when he tweeted: “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.”

At that point, the cost to the national economy of shutting down America was north of $25 trillion. The number of deaths caused by coronavirus was south of 400. Many of us had wondered whether crippling the nation and putting — what? 30 million? 40 million? — people out of work was the best way to handle a new virus that was perhaps more infectious than flu, but not necessarily more deadly. After all, by last week, influenza had claimed 23,000 lives in the United States, and yet no politicians or journalists were getting up on soap boxes to declaim the horror of stores remaining open while Americans are dying in hospitals, at home or on the streets as a result of flu.

But when Trump sounded his warning that our country was potentially about to commit economic suicide on the altar of coronavirus, the Democratic politicians and left-wing journalists pushed back with the fervor of the Rev. Jim Jones’s lieutenants and started pouring poisoned Kool-Aid into the national bloodstream.

The weird thing is that the people advocating national collapse think they have the moral high ground. At the president’s daily task-force update sessions, the mainstream media’s Greek chorus of doomsayers tried every angle they could think of to get the president to say he hates people and wants them all to die. When instead he said that we can help protect people from coronavirus and still work to avert a global economic collapse, the media mob went apoplectic.

Moreover, as the president explained, the human toll of a massive years-long recession with 20% unemployment would be devastating not just to the economy but on a human scale never seen outside of war zones. As Trump noted, there would be thousands of suicides as people realized that they had lost any hope of being restored to their former happiness, but the toll would be much greater than even what the president elaborated. Think of the drug abuse and alcoholism that would accompany the decline. Think of the homelessness as millions of people were unable to make their mortgage payments or pay their rent. Think of the crime that would surge when hopeless people made their last desperate decisions to feed their families or to get enough money to escape squalor.

Yet the president has been under attack by the denizens of the mainstream media, who thrive on fear and controversy. As just one example, here was Ari Melber of MSNBC on Tuesday night as he reported on Trump’s comments that “ultimately the goal is to ease the [social distancing] guidelines and open things up to very large sections of the country as we near the end of our historic battle with our invisible enemy.”

Melber rebuked the president, saying in staccato for emphasis, “That. Is. False. Not only false, but false according to Donald Trump’s own medical experts, who are not saying we are near — as in within weeks — an end of all of this.”

The only appropriate way to respond to Melber is to say, “That. Is. Fake news.”

Notice Melber latched on to three words in the president’s sentence — “near the end” — and tried to make it look like the president had told a lie. Melber’s statement is the lie. Trump never said the end of the battle is “within weeks,” although he did elsewhere express hope that the economic shutdown could be over soon in parts of the country. More importantly, note that Trump was expressing his “goal,” not a statement of fact. He also couched the statement with the qualifier “ultimately” to indicate it was a long-term goal, not a proximate one. Finally, the stated goal was to lessen social-distancing restrictions when we neared the end of the battle against coronavirus.

You have to ask yourself what is the goal of the Melbers and Maddows at MSNBC and the Tappers and Lemons at CNN. Day after day they work to undermine the president’s efforts to reassure the American people. When he says that a drug treatment is looking hopeful, he isn’t promising that it will be ready for delivery by tomorrow morning; he is finding a patch of blue in a cloudy sky. That is what all great leaders do, from George Washington to Winston Churchill.

When the Melbers of the world dismiss the hope as unrealistic, they are doing the devil’s work. After playing a tape of the president worrying about what the human toll of a devastating long-term depression would be, and saying he would “love to have the country opened up ... by Easter,” Melber again switched from apples to oranges. “Health experts disagree,” he said.

But health experts cannot disagree with the president’s hope for the ability to restore the economy quickly, can they? Are they really in favor of another Great Depression? Of course not, and it makes no sense to try to compare formulas for economic health with the much different calculus of public health. Trump has never confused the two. It is just that his statements are distorted by the likes of Melber.

I’m writing from the perspective of a retired 64-year-old man living in Montana, about as far from the worst epicenters of coronavirus as you can get. My daughter is home from college, studying online. My youngest son is eagerly awaiting schools to reopen so he can continue his life as a normal rambunctious fourth-grader. My oldest son is working on the front lines at a grocery store. My wife is waiting for schools to reopen so she can resume her work as a tutor. We get the fact that this is an emergency, but it is not a dire emergency — not here.

As of Thursday, Montana had recorded fewer than a hundred cases of coronavirus out of a million residents, and Flathead County, where I live, had seen about a half-dozen cases. There was one death reported Thursday, yet also only one hospitalization in the entire state. A lot of people here support the president’s efforts to turn the corner and start reopening the country, even if a little at a time. It’s just hard for us to wrap our heads around the idea that none of us should go to work or school because of a virus that only a few have caught — less than one person out of every 10,000 in Montana.

Think of it this way: The busiest places in Kalispell, Montana, for the past three weeks have been the grocery stores. For 12 hours a day, the inhabitants of our fair city gather and mingle at Smith’s, Albertson’s, Safeway, Super One or Rosauers. Sure, we practice a modified form of social distancing called hurrying past the other people in the aisle with you, but who’s fooling whom? There is no way that you could avoid the disease if it were present there. Almost no one is wearing masks or gloves, and we are all touching products and shelves, just like always.

How are we supposed to square that with the frightful warnings coming out of Washington, D.C., and the mouths of the doom crew in the mainstream media? We can’t.

That’s why, in vast stretches of the United States, Americans are awaiting the order to go back to work. In a sense, it’s no different than the order that presidents have issued for centuries to their fellow countrymen — the order to report for duty. And just like in those wartime call-ups, there may be a few who will become battlefield casualties, but it will be few indeed if people use precautions and follow directions.

Those in New York and Washington and Louisiana who can’t yet return to work will need the help of all of us to support them. Our choice is simple — cower in fear or cooperate to overcome. The American instinct to sacrifice for the greater good can protect all of us from the worst effects of an unexpected catastrophe. Now, if we can just get the major media on our side, America can come out of this stronger than ever.

Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell Mont., is a columnist for RealClearPolitics. His books — including “The Media Matrix: What If Everything You Know Is Fake?” — are available from his Amazon author page. Visit him at HeartlandDiaryUSA.com to read his daily commentary or follow him on Facebook @HeartlandDiaryUSA or on Twitter @HeartlandDiary.



Comment
Show comments Hide Comments