AP featured image
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis puts on his mask. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

 

Denial is not just a headline in the press

It has become laughably evident how the press is intent on using the recent surge in coronavirus cases as a political club. The news outlets are quick to point out the increases in areas where governors have opened up their states, but they are nearly silent on the matter of acknowledging the massive street protests that had to contribute. Recently, the LA Times struggled mightily to explain how its home state endured a growth in caseloads, wanting to blame barbeques and wedding ceremonies, and not thousands packed together in streets.

The state of Florida, and its Governor, Ron DeSantis in particular, has been a frequent target of the media scorn. This is because the state has had, on balance, a better-than-average success rate with cases and COVID-related deaths. Accusations of cooking the books or offsetting victims to other states have been a few of the charges made, attempts to explain a GOP governor having a better-than-Cuomo result with handling the pandemic.

Now, as the state, like many others, is seeing a rise in new cases the blame in the press is heaped on DeSantis opening things up too early — except for the collection of evidence and testimony showing the protests from last month appear to be a primary cause. A number of examples from the leaders in South Florida declare that the weeks of public activist gatherings have been a driving force behind the increased infection rates.

The Mayor of Miami-Dade, Carlos Jimenez had an interview this weekend with a local news station and the discussion moved to how local governments were dealing with the COVID response. Jimenez was asked if he felt the residents were taking the threat seriously. “Well, I think they are, but I think my residents also kind of let their guard down around late-May, early-June, and also some of the protests that we had here, I think contributed to it.”

Following that, the Mayor continued with that line of thought. “I think, obviously, the protests had a lot to do with it. We had, you know, thousands of young people together outside, a lot of them not wearing masks. And we know that when you’re – when you do that and you are talking and you are chanting, etc, that really spreads the virus.”

Uh oh, that is going to disrupt the narrative. He was only hinting at this, though — correct? He didn’t mean to say so stridently the protests were such a huge factor, right?  “So absolutely, the protests had something to do with it,” Gimenez reiterated.

Supporting this detail was Miami’s Chief of Police. At a recent press conference, Chief Jorge Colina detailed how 25 of his officers and department employees had tested positive for coronavirus at the end of May, a number that jumped higher by late last week. 

 “Last month, or perhaps less than a month ago, we had gotten down to where we had no employees in the police department sick with the virus.” Colina said. “Now I have 31 officers yet again who are COVID positive, I have 6 civilian employees who are COVID positive and I have 115 people quarantined right now because of COVID. Many of the officers that I have sick were part of those protest response teams. That’s not acceptable.”

Just to the north, in Broward County there was more evidence to be seen that the BLM protests have become an incubator for the spread of the virus. A number of the protests had taken place in various sections of the county, and reports have come out that some involved are prominent political names. Fellow local writer Tom Laudner covered how not one but two local leaders have tested positive for the virus.

At his Red Broward website, Laudner details how state Representative Shevrin Jones and state congressional candidate for House District-95 Jasmen Rodgers-Shaw announced they had tested positive within a day of each other. Both were seen at a number of rallies across the county, protesting with local Black Lives Matter organizers as well as Juneteenth gatherings. They have posted numerous pictures where both figures are seen in crowds and without masks.

What becomes evident here is that as the coronavirus cases swell, we can see also what is mounting are the cases of media delusion.

Brad Slager
Covering politics, as well as the business side of Show Business. Expert in fine bourbons, good cigars, competent hockey teams, and horrible movies.

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