White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany reiterated President Donald Trump’s call to reopen schools in the fall, pointing out that it’s “very damaging to our children” to be stuck at home.
In response to a question about schools deciding to go online-only, McEneny was asked what Trump has to say to parents who don’t know what to do with their kids.
Here was McEnany’s response:
You know, the president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open. And I was just in the Oval talking to him about that. And when he says open, he means open in full — kids being able to attend each and every day at their school.
The science should not stand in the way of this. And as Dr. Scott Atlas said — I thought this was a good quote — “Of course, we can [do it]. Everyone else in the…Western world, our peer nations are doing it. We are the outlier here.”
The science is very clear on this, that — you know, for instance, you look at the JAMA Pediatrics study of 46 pediatric hospitals in North America that said the risk of critical illness from COVID is far less for children than that of seasonal flu.
The science is on our side here, and we encourage for localities and states to just simply follow the science, open our schools. It’s very damaging to our children: There is a lack of reporting of abuse; there’s mental depressions that are not addressed; suicidal ideations that are not addressed when students are not in school. Our schools are extremely important, they’re essential, and they must reopen.
— Matt Margolis 🇺🇸 (@mattmargolis) July 17, 2020
So what did the media do with this statement? Naturally, figures like Jim Acosta cherrypicked a quote, leaving out important context to make it appear that McEnany was making the opposite point she had actually made.
The White House Press Secretary on Trump's push to reopen schools: "The science should not stand in the way of this."
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) July 16, 2020
Many other outlets highlighted the sentence, “The science should not stand in the way of this,” while deliberately ignoring the rest of the quote, in which McEnany points out that the science supports reopening schools. NBC News, The New York Times, The Guardian, PBS, the Daily Beast, The Washington Post, and many others deliberately took her out of context in their headlines. There is no doubt that McEnany never meant to say or to imply that schools should reopen despite science saying it isn’t safe. She specifically made the point, very clearly, that science is on the side of reopening schools. Other countries have done it successfully. Studies show that kids are not at significant risk. Every “journalist” that reported on her statement knew this but deliberately tried to create the false impression Trump just wants to put kids and teachers at risk.
This is what the media does. They lie. If they really object to being called the “enemy of the people” they’d report fairly and accurately.
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis