President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the press briefing room at the White House, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Washington, as National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Vice President Mike Pence and Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listen. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Let’s just state up front that it is pretty obvious that the media are counting upon coronavirus to do to President Trump what their presidential candidate, no matter which socialist geriatric they choose, will be unable to do. The attacks are along two lines. First, they are playing up the danger of coronavirus in order to try to damage economic activity. The fact that Paul Krugman was cheering a stock market crash last week just one in a string of examples of this behavior. The other line of attack is to paint the Administration as either incompetent or uncaring or, as is the case in the story about the prayer given by Vice President Mike Pence’s crisis team, relying upon superstition instead of science.
The New York Times launched one such attack today
Nothing here is actually true pic.twitter.com/J82SelId6J
— streiff (@streiffredstate) March 3, 2020
What FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn actually said was that by the end of the week the United States would have sufficient materials, read the word carefully, materials to conduct up to million tests. The New York Times clearly states, in the headline and lede, that ‘nearly a million tests could be administered…by the end of this week.” The objective here was strictly to give the impression that the Administration is lying about the number of coronavirus cases in the United States. Pure and simple. Why test a million people unless you think a million are infected?
Both the New York Times and their minimes at Politico then go into a long diatribe about about he capacity to process one million tests in a week doesn’t exist. That may very well be true but it points to another problem other than the one being addressed by Commissioner Hahn and one that has been explored by Mike Ford in Opinion: Beating the Corona Virus Will Be More of a Logistical Fight Than a Medical One. And they go on to make an apples-to-oranges comparison.
That estimate far exceeds the number of tests that several labs told POLITICO they will actually be able to run each day. Under ideal conditions, the nation’s public health labs could run up to 10,000 tests per day by the end of the week, according to figures provided by the Association of Public Health Laboratories.
An FDA spokesperson says that Hahn’s 1 million estimate includes capacity that would be added through commercial tests that the agency is working with firms to bring to market by the end of the week.
To the administration’s credit, they didn’t let the lie go unchallenged.
We have requested a correction from @nytimes, and we also request that reporters covering the Coronavirus check their facts before they publish. It’s too important.
— Katie Miller (@VPPressSec) March 3, 2020
And when called out in public on it, the New York Times changed the headline and lede and posted a correction. But the question remaining is what good-faith explanation exists for running a bullsh** story on something the media are trying to make into an existential crisis for humanity without even bothering to do an elementary fact check? The short answer is, of course, that there is no possible explanation that doesn’t involve stoking panic in order to try to harm the Trump administration.
This is not a one-off. The past couple of weeks have been a cornucopia of false and malicious reporting by the media on coronavirus with the obvious intent of meddling in the 2020 election in a way Vladimir Putin can only dream of. For a nice list, read The Federalist article 9 Times The Media Weaponized Coronavirus Coverage To Attack Trump.