The Media Got the Virus So Wrong, Helping China by Persuading Us Not to Pay Attention

The Media Got the Virus So Wrong, Helping China by Persuading Us Not to Pay Attention. By Kyle Smith.

The media shrug at their massive bungling of major stories.

How lovely it is to have a high-profile job in our major media institutions. Let’s say you completely, hideously muck up a huge story. Let’s say you spend three years wildly misleading the public. Let’s say that, at the outset of the worst public-health crisis in a century, you mock people for being afraid and tell them to go about life as usual. When you’re proven wrong, you get to tell the next chapter of the story anyway. …

Media observers are today noticing how strange it is for reporters to juxtapose panic about Florida, where the virus has done relatively little damage [but a Republican Governor], with robust defense of New York, the coronavirus death capital of the Western world [but a (sexy!) Democrat governor]. …

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

On January 31, Vox stated, with the customary absolute metaphysical certitude that characterizes its generally undergraduate tone, “Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No.” Vox later deleted the tweet, but instead of an apology, it said the remark “no longer reflects the current reality of the coronavirus story,” which was obvious if insufficiently humble.

The following day, the Washington Post ran a story shouting, “Get a grippe, America, the flu is a much bigger threat than coronavirus, for now.” The Post’s medical writer Lenny Bernstein opined, “Clearly, the flu poses the bigger and more pressing peril; a handful of cases of the new respiratory illness have been reported in the United States, none of them fatal or apparently even life-threatening.” The headline of this piece has been widely mocked. But its contents are even more amazing, because none of the experts quoted in it say what Bernstein’s headline says. He appears to have generated the idea himself based entirely on how much damage had been done by the virus to that date, rather than the prospective risk. He features a truncated quotation from Anthony Fauci that leads in the opposite direction from his thesis: Fauci says people ask him why people are more worried about the coronavirus than about seasonal flu and he says seasonal flu is more predictable. Bernstein, a former sportswriter whose only degree listed on his Post biographical page is a B.A. in American culture, has not publicly apologized, as far as I can tell. …

On February 20, CNN gravely informed us that the real problem relating to coronavirus was racist remarks and decreased bookings at Chinese restaurants, under the headline, “What’s Spreading Faster than Coronavirus? Racist assaults and ignorant attacks against Asians.” (Number of actual assaults or attacks cited in the thousand-word article: one.) The piece quoted a Chinatown restaurant owner as saying, “No one in my restaurant has this disease. No one in Chinatown has this disease,” then followed up with these words from the reporters who wrote the piece: “Indeed, no one in the entire state of New York has been diagnosed with novel coronavirus.” So, nothing to worry about, then.

No apologies from the US media will be forthcoming, nor from the leftist state broadcasters here in Australia. They know that if the media don’t repeat something, it drops off the public discussion. Gone down the memory hole.

Too bad about all the dead audience members, who are dead because we didn’t close the borders in time, because the media misinformed us. This blog saw the pandemic coming — it wasn’t exactly difficult.