Leaders across the globe are being described as “war time” presidents and prime ministers during this Coronavirus crisis. Yet, it may not just be the deadly virus that is pushing them to this position. There is a narrative on the wind being blown into every household that our elected leaders are failing us and that they are complicit in the deaths and mounting tragedies. The fake news media has seen an opportunity to sway political opinion like never before, and they are using it as a weapon against the electorate in the hopes of casting a new realm.
Whether it’s hiding details of the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden or running damage control for the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Fourth Estate appears determined to undermine President Trump and damage his electoral chances in November.
In response to this shrieking litany, President Trump tweeted:
“I am working hard to expose the corruption and dishonesty in the Lamestream Media. That part is easy, the hard part is WHY?”
Followed soon after by:
“The @nytimes story is a Fake, just like the “paper” itself. I was criticized for moving too fast when I issued the China Ban, long before most others wanted to do so. @SecAzar told me nothing until later, and Peter Navarro memo was same as Ban (see his statements). Fake News!”
A Slow Response?
The allegation by the media is that the president acted too slowly on COVID-19 and therefore has blood on his hands. Is this a valid point? Was Trump too hesitant to respond to direction from the WHO? Well, no. There is a dominant narrative that the commander in chief was ignoring warnings and failing to act on advice from experts … playing into the idea that Trump is a one-man-band overly confident in his own ability. The reality is something far different.
In fact, the day after the WHO declared the Coronavirus a Global Health Emergency (January 30), President Trump declared it a Public Health Emergency and restricted travel from China. Not only was the president in sync with the experts, but he was also ahead of the curve in shutting down borders.
The media is scrabbling to drag up any indication that Trump had been informed of possible disaster and failed to act, but they are looking in the wrong place. At the same time as blasting the president for not following WHO advice, they are ignoring the genuine and severe issues with the self-same organization.
On January 14, the WHO tweeted:
“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.”
This message shaped every global response. If it were not possible for the virus to move from person to person, there would be no pandemic. The WHO collects data from every source and presents its findings based on evidence. Unfortunately for the world, on this occasion, they purposely ignored evidence due to Chinese pressure.
Taiwan had discovered evidence of human-to-human transmission and passed this information to the WHO on December 31. The WHO ignored it. Not until mainland China confirmed this on January 20 did the organization take action.
Why would this startling act of bowing to China, which almost certainly delayed coordinated responses from governments around the world, not be the leading story? If the media is looking for a fall guy, a patsy to hang the devastation on, why would they choose President Trump?
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy said:
“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
And this is the rub. Fake news is abundant because if it weren’t, the public would make their own decision as to who bears the bulk of the blame. And if that were to happen, they may decide that President Trump’s responses have been proportionate based upon the information he had. And ultimately, give him an edge in November’s election.
Recent polling shows that only 10% of those who identify as Republicans have a favorable view of the media; among Democrats, this is 62%. The 24-hour news cycle is an echo chamber in which our beliefs, rightly or wrongly, are reinforced. The fake news media has chosen its side and is simply playing to an audience in the hopes that it will survive the next four years.
Read more from Mark Angelides.
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