By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) For days we have taken the “mainstream media” to task for its pathetic, outsized, over-hyped coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.
Not only is the media intentionally mischaracterizing things that Trump administration officials and the president himself are saying regarding the outbreak, the coverage is wall-to-wall, 24/7, as though there is nothing else more important.
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This, despite the fact that, as of this writing, there are barely 2,000 Americans infected with the virus (officially). Deaths, unfortunately as they are, stand at 41.
President Trump earlier today declared a national emergency over the virus, no doubt pressured into this decision by all of the lousy, often incorrect, out-of-context reporting.
People we know who are legitimate journalists and who have been in this business for years are shaking their heads in disbelief. They’ve never seen anything like this, it’s so journalistically unethical.
And yet, when the god king Obama was in office and he was dealing with the Swine flu (H1N1), the media coverage of that outbreak was nothing compared to what it is now.
Not even close.
In all, 61 million Americans were infected; there were 18,000 deaths. But no closures of businesses, no suspension of sports seasons, no bans of public assemblies.
And that’s probably because the media coverage then was downright sparse compared to what we’re seeing reported and hyped regarding coronavirus.
In fact, as the editors from Investors Business Daily noted today in a column, there were 1,000 deaths from Swine flu before Obama declared a national emergency:
The potential impact of the coronavirus might still be unknown, but the media hype is already plain as day. Particularly when you compare how they are covering this pandemic with the last one, which happened to occur when Barack Obama was in the White House.
To get a sense of the differences in how the press treated these two outbreaks of brand new viruses, let’s look at how the New York Times and CNN – the bellwethers of mainstream journalism in print and on TV – covered each at similar points in the outbreak.
The day after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, and President Donald Trump gave a national address, CNN’s front page was almost entirely devoted to coronavirus.
On the newsstands, two-thirds of the New York Times’ front page was devoted entirely to coronavirus stories. …
…[T]he media coverage of the outbreak in the weeks leading up to Wednesday was just as breathless. Indeed, some of the panic in the stock market and the government can be blamed on the end-of-the-world hysteria that the press has been whipping up for some time now.
The day before the WHO’s declaration of a pandemic, for example, CNN posted a story calling the coronavirus outbreak “unprecedented in modern times.”
Unprecedented? Really? Do CNN’s reporters and editors not know about the flu pandemic of 1918? Or even the swine flu pandemic of 2009?
What was unprecedented was the manner in which the Obama response to the Swine flu was virtually ignored by the same mainstream media back then:
When the WHO declared the swine flu “unstoppable” on June 11, 2009, CNN didn’t even lead with that story on its homepage. It was in a pile of links on the side of the page. …
The WHO’s announcement rated only a photo on the New York Times’s front page, with a story that was buried on page A11.
When Obama declared a national emergency, CNN didn’t get around to mentioning the death toll of the disease until the 10th paragraph. By that point, millions had been infected and 1,000 people in the U.S. had died.
The day after Obama’s declaration, CNN carried only a single link to the swine flu story in its “Newspulse” section. It ranked below the headline: “Wayward flight’s co-pilot denies arguing.”
The Times’ story about Obama’s declaration didn’t mention the death toll in the U.S. until the fourth paragraph. Two days later, the swine flu was off the Times’ front page again.
No one is saying that coronavirus isn’t serious. But come on; these media reports we’ve been seeing are so far over the top, it’s journalistic malpractice.
And yes, when a very similar outbreak on Obama’s watch had become far worse, even then the media didn’t seem to care. Because what would they seem like ‘piling on’ the country’s first black president (who was also ideologically aligned with them)?
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Do you ever wonder if President Trump wakes up some mornings and asks himself, “Why the hell do I continue to put myself through this?”
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