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The Trump Virus
How the media used the pandemic to undermine Trump's reelection prospects.
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“God’s gift to the Left.” That’s how Joe Biden fundraiser and long-time left-wing actress Jane Fonda described the pandemic.
A gift, you say? Did this comment have anything to do with the Bad Orange Man w/Mean Tweets?
It did indeed. What follows might read like Trump apologia, but more than anything it’s a reminder that no matter how much you might despise establishment media, it’s probably not enough.
From the very get-go, the pandemic was used to undermine His Orangeness. Democrats were, in essence, waging a pro forma impeachment fight under the banner of covid.
Harken back to January 2020, when the world became fixated on China.
The number of covid cases would soon be in the tens of millions. On January 22, senator Tom Cotton proposed a travel ban from China. Days later, Trump took his advice, a move that likely slowed the spread.
As Alex Marlow details in Breaking the News, Joe Biden quickly criticized Trump’s plan, claiming that it was nothing but “hysterical xenophobia.” The techno-media-pharmaco-politico-corporate alliance followed Biden’s lead, and just like that, the pandemic, at least in its earliest stage, was treated as a racial issue. Anyone concerned about the outbreak was, a priori, a bigot. Around the same time, a reoccurring theme took hold, one which would become even more pervasive over the next year: Trump must be made to look wrong, even if he was in fact right.
In the beginning, attaching “Wuhan” to the coronavirus was not considered racist. Even good ol’ NPR, that paragon of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion propaganda, posted the headline “Wuhan Coronavirus 101: What We Do—And Don’t—Know About the Outbreak Of COVID-19”—which was later edited so that “Wuhan” was no longer included.1 That was on January 24th. A week later, NPR put out a story titled “When Xenophobia Spreads Like a Virus.”
Other mainstream outlets began admonishing people for overreacting. (If only this had continued.) On January 29, Wired averred that “We Should Deescalate the War on the Coronavirus,” and “Fear, finger-pointing, and militaristic action against the virus are unproductive. We may be better off adjusting to a new normal of periodic outbreaks.”
Also on January 29, New York Times writer Farhad Manjoo published a column with the title “Beware the Pandemic Panic,” in which she stressed that “Coronavirus is scary. How we respond to it may be worse.” How very prescient of you Farhad. Funny how you and your employer ultimately went from advocating for the management of fear to inciting it. I dare say your change of heart had something to do with sabotaging the economy, which had been positively thriving under Trump.
Not to be outdone, on January 31, CNN declared that “As the coronavirus spreads, fear is fueling racism and xenophobia.” Ironically, this article mentions the “Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.”
In February, Vox bemoaned that people were beginning to wear masks and were no longer shaking hands, still managing to make it about race: “The coronavirus exposes the history of racism and ‘cleanliness.’”
The Daily Beast lamented that people were purposely avoiding Chinese restaurants and shops, and that “the stigma [was] spreading faster than the virus itself. . . The reality is that the real problem is not fear of catching the virus, but fear of getting caught up in the global reaction to it.” Sage counsel, friend.
Meanwhile, Trump used his 2020 State of the Union address to emphasize the need for an extended travel ban to blunt the spread of the virus. If you’ll recall, that was when Nancy Pelosi had herself a tantrum and ripped up the speech like a petulant child. She then spent the next few weeks decrying the travel ban and promoting tourism in San Francisco’s Chinatown while simultaneously downplaying any virus concerns: “We think it’s very safe to be in Chinatown and hope that others will come. It’s lovely here. The food is delicious, the shops are prospering, the parade was great. . . Please come and visit and enjoy Chinatown.”
By late April, Pelosi was criticizing Trump’s travel ban for not being more strict. She then went on MSNBC’s The ReidOut with the abominable Joy Ann Reid, whose journalistic probity is of an integrity somewhat less than unimpeachable, to declare that “the Trump virus” was rolling like “a freight train” and “this president has been the biggest failure” in American history.
But even Pelosi’s pablum pales in comparison to the rhetoric of other Trump Derangement Syndrome-afflicted individuals. Take, for instance, Emmy Award-winning ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo, who told the bobbleheads on The View that “Donald Trump caused the COVID outbreak in New York,” and that he was holding Trump “responsible for every coronavirus death in the United States.”
Government-funded PBS host Alexander Heffner told Al Sharpton on PoliticsNation that Trump’s coronavirus response was “genocidal” and “mass murder.”
But my favorite example came from the stunningly thick-skulled, bowler hat-wearing war monger Max Boot, who wrote in the Washington Post that the “[c]oronavirus wouldn’t have happened if Hillary Clinton had won.”2
When it became undeniable that covid wasn’t some racist conspiracy perpetuated by the Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers in flyover country, the Democrat-led techno-media-pharmaco-politico-corporate complex was forced to shift gears and propagate a new narrative that many people still spout to this day: It was all Trump’s fault.
Trump was blamed for a lack of covid tests, even though from the very beginning it was clear that these tests were wildly inaccurate and inflating case numbers, which the media used to bludgeon Trump.
He was accused of dragging his feet on a supposed ventilator shortage despite nearly 100,000 of them going unused, and, more importantly, death rates plummeting in states that stopped using them. At least eight New York Times writers shared a deceptively edited quote from a Trump call with state governors, creating the false impression that the president was denying federal support for ventilators. He merely advised them to try finding ventilators because it would be faster, but that the federal government would be helping regardless.
Media morons claimed Trump was potentially killing people by recommending FDA-approved hydroxychloroquine, which, it turns out, would have saved thousands and thousands of lives had Fauci not deliberately suppressed its use because early treatments and therapeutics posed an existential threat to his $48 billion vaccine project and vanity drug, remdesivir, which the NIAID spent $79 million on.3 The media even tried to blame Trump after some dude in Arizona died from drinking fish tank cleaner that contained chloroquine. Here’s the opening sentence from an NPR report dated March 24, 2020: “An Arizona man is dead and his wife was hospitalized after the couple ingested a form of chloroquine, a chemical that has been hailed recently by President Trump as a possible ‘game changer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus, according to the Phoenix hospital that treated the couple.”
Trump was accused of dissolving the CDC’s pandemic preparedness division, only for the Washington Post to later admit that it was actually a “reorganization,” and that critics “misconstrued or intentionally, misrepresented.”
Fauci was said to have been muzzled by Trump, even though Fauci was on camera more often than Pamela Anderson in her prime. Fauci himself even told MSNBC, “I’m not being muzzled.”
The Biden campaign created an ad that intentionally cut up a Trump quote so that they could accuse him of calling the virus “a hoax.” What he actually said was that the Democrats weaponizing the virus against him was a hoax.
CNN and Friends constantly beat the case/death count drum while the Bad Orange Man w/Mean Tweets was president so as to make him look like a killer, only for the same outlets to shift the spotlight away from the tallies once Biden took office. Daily cases and deaths reached record highs under the latter’s administration, but the media coincidentally lost interest once a changing of the guard took place.
There were countless examples, and even the most cursory review of media coverage during the pandemic reveals a glaring, two-fold pattern: If Trump said something, it was wrong and treated as such regardless of veracity; and things were made to seem as gloomy and pessimistic as possible so as to pin the blame on the president. It became the reflexive response no matter what he said or what happened, and nothing was too petty for the press to instantly go into “how can we show he’s wrong/it’s his fault” mode.
Posterity will show as much, including the fact that one of the biggest and most successful initiatives of the Trump presidency vindicated him and exposed the hyper-partisan media for the charlatans that they are.
In May 2020, as the country was approaching peak pandemic, Trump boldly said about the timing of the vaccine, “We’re looking to get it by the end of the year if we can, maybe before.”
As Ari Fleischer notes in Suppression, Deception, Snobbery, and Bias, the media, of course, went full spastic and lit Trump up for saying so, dismissing his prediction as the fantasy of a uniquely deluded mind. NBC News “fact-checkers” declared that it would take “a miracle to be right.” They quoted five “experts,” including Our Lord and Savior Tony Fauci, who cast doubt on Trump’s statement:
“Trump’s own top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told the ‘Today’ show that January 2021 is the earliest a vaccine could be ready but cautioned that that timeline is ‘aspirational’ and depends on companies producing a vaccine before researchers are sure it will work.”
At the Republican National Convention in August 2020, Trump said, “In recent months, our nation, and the entire planet, has been struck by a new and powerful invisible enemy. Like those brave Americans before us, we are meeting this challenge. We are delivering lifesaving therapies and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner!”
And so but yes of course NBC swooped in again with its fact-checkers, who wrote, “This is largely false. . . There is also no evidence that an effective vaccine will be delivered by the end of the year. There are four vaccines currently in clinical trials in the U.S., with the one from Moderna furthest along. But it’s impossible to know if these vaccines will prove effective. ‘Vaccines don’t always work,’ one expert told NBC News earlier this year.”4
As the presidential campaigns began to wind down in October, Washington Post fact-checker extraordinaires Glenn Kessler and Salvador Rizzo felt compelled to call foul about Trump’s repeated assurances. “Trump says a vaccine will be ready in weeks, while his administration’s experts are much more cautious and say it won’t be ready till next year.”
“. . . according to scientific experts, there’s no way that’s happening,” chimed in the Miami Herald, “at least not with a vaccine that has proven safe and effective through appropriately timed clinical trials.”
And yet, Trump was right. In early November — just weeks after Trump last spoke of an imminent vaccine — Pfizer announced that it had successfully tested one, and on December 14, 2020, before the end of the year, Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York, became the first American to be vaccinated.
This wasn’t the only glaring error that the mainstream media made in dismissing Trump’s statements regarding the vaccines. In September 2020, Trump announced at a White House briefing that “we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April .” Leave it to CNN5 to claim otherwise:
Fast forward to April 2021, when CNN and Friends pretended like they’d never refuted Trump’s timeline: “All 50 states now have expanded or will expand Covid vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and up,” they announced as if they hadn’t enthusiastically pooh-poohed this possibility.
Any discussion about covid by establishment media, no matter how tangential, was framed to make Trump look unfit for office. The story was irrelevant because the conclusion was invariably the same: Trump’s actions were racist, provincial, harmful, contrary to America’s values, etc., and he was therefore undeserving of a second term. The press often got these stories wildly wrong and there’s little doubt that the cumulative effect damaged Trump’s prospects for reelection, but in the process of wholly abandoning journalistic impartiality, the mainstream media divested itself of any credibility that it still enjoyed.
For an institution whose legitimacy depends on ordinary Americans maintaining some semblance of faith and trust in its coverage, you’d think that some of these scribes and talking heads would pump the brakes a bit and consider whether or not the collective Trump Derangement Syndrome might ultimately permanently tarnish their public perception and do more harm than good. No such self-reflection has ever occurred. If anything, the don’t-let-facts-get-in-the-way anti-Trump agenda has become even more all-consuming.
Headline was later changed to “This wouldn’t have happened if Hillary Clinton had won.”
As discussed in a previous Euphoric Recall post, under federal law, new vaccines and medicines cannot qualify for Emergency Use Authorization if any existing FDA-approved drug proves effective against the same malady. Ergo, hydroxychloroquine was condemned as dangerous despite having been used hundreds of millions of times for decades.
Keep in mind that they’re declaring a prediction false. A prediction is not a fact. Yet, the fact-checkers treated it as such. That’s the level of Trump Derangement System that the mainstream media is beholden to.