The Media's Top Lies and Spins About COVID-19

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The world as we know it has changed dramatically over the last few weeks in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Countries are on lockdown, there are shelter-in-place orders, nonessential businesses have been ordered to close, and people have been mandated to quarantine.

Here at home, the coronavirus has been a testament to American resilience. People everywhere are working to flatten the curve together (by keeping their distance and staying inside) and to ensure those who are most vulnerable are taken care of.    

In such uncertain times, Americans can only hope that the media would follow suit and put aside partisan politics in the face of a global pandemic. Sadly, some journalists and fake news outlets can’t help themselves.

The media distorts and misleads, takes statements out of context, treats assumptions as facts, and in general, seems to want to sow as much rancor and fear as possible. This is irresponsible journalism in a time when the nation needs just the opposite.

President Trump is their favorite target, as these examples show.

  • February 28, 2020: Politico published a piece entitled, “Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a ‘hoax.’” Many in the media and Democratic Party echoed this fake news. Trump was in fact calling the criticisms of his administration’s response to the coronavirus the Democrats’ new hoax. 
  • March 5, 2020: CBS News posted a story falsely claiming President Trump told sick people to go to work. If you read the actual quote, he is talking about healthy people going about their business not knowing that they have the virus: “So if, you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work, some of them go to work, but they get better.”
  • March 12, 2020: An Atlantic staff writer upheld the lie that China was “sending aid” to Italy out of goodwill, despite it being disproven by The Washington Post. The shipments in question were exports that had been purchased by Italy and other receiving countries.
  • March 12, 2020: NBC , NPR , Newsweek , Joe Biden, CNN, and Esquire falsely claimed that President Trump blocked coronavirus testing and rejected WHO coronavirus test kits because lower numbers are good for his re-election. 
  • March 13, 2020: The stock market soared and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record increase after President Trump and his coronavirus task force held a press conference on the government’s response. CNN had only criticisms of the administration’s response with no mention of the stock market gains, according to The Federalist
  • March 13, 2020: The Washington Post published an opinion piece that falsely claimed that President Trump closed the White House Pandemic Office. The Washington Post later released an article that fact checked the initial claims from the opinion piece.
  • March 15, 2020. The Atlantic published a piece, "The Coronavirus Called America's Bluff," that attempted to assert the Trump administration is just as bad as China's Communist Party in its handling of the coronavirus. Keep in mind that China silenced doctors and journalists and lied to the WHO to keep the pandemic under wraps.
  • March 16, 2020: CNN falsely claimed that the Trump administration is considering imposing a national curfew. 
  • March 17, 2020: In a tweet, MSNBC analyst Glenn Kirschner suggests Donald Trump is guilty of negligent homicide “for the way he’s mishandled the Coronavirus crisis.”
  • March 17, 2020: A doctored tweet suggesting that President Trump would withhold federal aid from his critics circulates on Twitter and Instagram, which debunked
  • March 18, 2020: A Washington Post columnist falsely accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of delaying the House’s vote on the coronavirus bill. (To its credit, the paper later ran a correction at the top of the column.)
  • March 18, 2020: Rick Wilson tweets “#BeInfected” in response to a story about First Lady Melania Trump appearing in public health PSA’s on the coronavirus, which he later said was a joke, deriding the First Lady’s #BeBest campaign.
  • March 19, 2020: NBC News published a story entitled, “Italy has a world class health system. The coronavirus has pushed it to the breaking point.” Despite NBC’s best efforts to fear monger, a quick Google search tells us that Johns Hopkins ranks Italy’s system, in relation to treating the sick and protecting health care workers, as number 54 in the world.
  • March 20, 2020: The Daily Mail criticized Trump for calling the coronavirus the Chinese virus, dubbing it racist when the outlet itself used the term just two short months ago because the virus did, indeed, originate in China. 
  • March 20, 2020: The Atlantic published a piece blaming President Trump’s personality for the coronavirus outbreak.
  • March 22, 2020: The New York Times changed a headline from, “Democrats Block Action on $1.8 Trillion Stimulus” to one that blames “partisan divide.” 
  • March 23, 2020: Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough tweeted: “There is no public benefit to this briefing. The networks should all cut away.” This tweet came despite recent polling that shows the majority of Americans approve of President Trump’s response to the coronavirus and disapprove of the media’s coverage.
  • March 23, 2020: A tabloid run by the Communist Party of China posted a video that contained footage of American media outlets and politicians repeating China’s talking points to portray China’s response to the coronavirus as favorable. 
  • March 23, 2020: An NBC Reporter insinuated that President Trump is responsible for the death of a man who consumed fish tank cleaner. You must read further into her thread to get the crucial fact — that what the man consumed was a parasite treatment for fish, not the medical form of Chloroquine that President Trump has discussed. It’s worth noting the salacious tweet alleging President Trump’s responsibility in this received over 34k retweets, while the final tweet in the thread specifying that the toxic ingredient consumed by the man was not actually the medical form of the drug in question got fewer than 3k retweets. 
  • March 24, 2020: MSNBC host Rachel Maddow tweeted that cable news networks should stop covering the President’s coronavirus briefings, propagating that the President is amplifying misinformation. Seattle NPR announced they will stop airing the President’s coronavirus briefings. Coincidentally, networks are wanting to cut coverage of these briefings as President Trump’s approval rating hits its highest level since 2017.

 In January of this year, the Trump administration took definitive action to slow the spread of the contagion by placing travel restrictions on China. The administration received harsh criticism in the press for this decision; Politico even wrote a story citing public health experts who feared that the Trump administration’s aggressive response could backfire.

Since then, the Trump administration has declared a national emergency, allowing states to access over $42 billion in existing funding. President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, ensuring that American families and businesses impacted by the virus receive the support that they need. President Trump has expanded testing accessibility, is supporting American families, workers, and small businesses with aid and other programs. The president is taking all necessary measures and cutting red tape to support patients and health care providers while working to replenish essential medical supplies and promote the development of a vaccine. 

While President Trump and his team are working together to bring hope, safety, financial relief, and a vaccine to Americans, the press has been busy promoting its own politicized narrative of the coronavirus. Sadly for the media, the majority of Americans approve of President Trump’s response to the coronavirus. The daily efforts by the administration to inform the public of developments have toppled the sensational, politicized narrative of the press. This is a perfect example of how strong executive  leadership can ease the fear of a nation in times of crisis. Another job well done, President Trump.

Cora Mandy is a spokeswoman for America First Action, an organization in support of the Trump administration.

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