I have to say I’m shocked at a new Rasmussen Reports survey that found that 50 percent of American adults rate the media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic as good or excellent. Really? Half of American adults think the media has done a good job covering the pandemic? Can you believe that less than a third, 29 percent, say the media has been doing a poor job?
I’ve discussed the media’s shameful lies during the pandemic many times in the past. Determined to politicize the pandemic, the media repeatedly lied about President Trump’s response in order to hurt him in the 2020 presidential election. For one of my last posts of 2020, I present what I have determined to be the worst lies of them all. It was a hard process of paring down all the lies because there were so many, but I got it down to eight.
8. Trump turned down testing kits from WHO
A Politico hit piece from early March claimed that the World Health Organization offered the United States COVID-19 testing kits, but Trump refused to accept them. This claim spread quickly, and Joe Biden even claimed “The World Health Organization offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them,” during a Democratic primary debate back in March.
It wasn’t true. “No discussions occurred between WHO and CDC about WHO providing COVID-19 tests to the United States,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris explained at the time. “This is consistent with experience since the United States does not ordinarily rely on WHO for reagents or diagnostic tests because of sufficient domestic capacity.” According to WHO, its priority was to send testing kits to “countries with the weakest health systems.”
The United States now tests more than any other country.
7. Trump told governors they were “on their own”
In March, New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay claimed in a tweet that during a conference call with governors about the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump told them they were “on their own” in getting the equipment they needed: “‘Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,’ Mr. Trump told the governors during the conference call, a recording of which was shared with The New York Times.”
She lied. Ms. Gay deliberately misrepresented Trump’s words. Trump actually told governors on the call: “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves. We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”
The false narrative that Trump had told governors they were on their own, essentially to expect no help from the federal government, spread like wildfire.
6. Trump “dissolved” the WH pandemic response office
Two days after Trump declared COVID-19 a national emergency, the Washington Post published an opinion piece by Elizabeth Cameron, who ran the White House pandemic office under Obama, alleging that Trump had dissolved the office in 2018. She claimed that because of this, “the federal government’s slow response to the coronavirus isn’t a surprise.”
This claim spread like wildfire, even though it was completely false. Days after WaPo ran the piece, they published another article by Tim Morrison, former senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense on the National Security Council, who debunked the allegation made by Cameron and other former Obama administration officials.
Why did Elizabeth Cameron lie? Morrison lamented, “This is Washington. It’s an election year. Officials out of power want back into power after November. But the middle of a worldwide health emergency is not the time to be making tendentious accusations.”
5. Trump ignored early intel briefings on a possible pandemic
The Washington Post was big into misleading the public, a report from March claimed that intelligence agencies were warned about a possible pandemic back in January and February and that Trump “failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen.”
It was fake news. The Trump administration had begun aggressively addressing the COVID-19 threat immediately after China reported the discovery of the COVID-19 virus to the World Health Organization. In addition to implementing various precautionary travel restrictions, the administration fast-tracked the use of testing kits, set up a Coronavirus Task Force, and implemented a travel ban with China, several weeks before WHO declared the COVID-19 a pandemic.
In actuality, it was Trump’s critics who weren’t taking COVID-19 situation seriously. Nancy Pelosi visited San Francisco’s Chinatown area to quell fears about COVID-19, and Joe Biden accused Trump of “fearmongering” and “xenophobia” for his travel ban, only to flip-flop on the issue months later.
4. There was a ventilator shortage
Desperate for narratives, the mainstream media tried all sorts of angles to make President Trump’s response to the pandemic seem inefficient. One angle they tried was to claim there was a shortage of ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE). Governor Cuomo claimed New York needed 40,000 ventilators and accused Trump of letting New Yorkers die when he did not provide them. He ultimately only needed about 6,000—which he got. In fact, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was blaming Trump for not getting him the ventilators he needed at the same time Governor Cuomo was giving ventilators away to other states.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont also claimed that his state was on its own because the Strategic National Stockpile was depleted of medical supplies and PPE.
The Strategic National Stockpile was lacking in PPE, but the reason for that can be traced back to Barack Obama, who depleted the stockpile of N95 respirator masks during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and never restocked it.
Rather than be commended for cleaning up Obama’s mess as they delivered unprecedented amounts of equipment for states in need during the pandemic, the Trump administration was accused of causing a shortage of ventilators and PPE. But that shortage was entirely manufactured by the mainstream media. As White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany explained, “not a single American died for lack of a ventilator.”
3. Trump “muzzled” Dr. Fauci
In late February, the New York Times claimed that the Trump administration had “muzzled” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), by preventing him from speaking publicly about the coronavirus without approval from the administration.
It wasn’t true. But the claim was echoed throughout the mainstream media, and ultimately was brought up in a press briefing. Trump was asked directly about it and he let Dr. Fauci clear it up.
“I’ve never been muzzled, ever, and I’ve been doing this since Reagan,” he said. “I’m not being muzzled by this administration.”
Despite the fact this claim was debunked, Joe Biden kept repeating it as if it were true. “And, look, right now you have this president, hasn’t allowed his scientists to speak, number one,” Biden said on ABC’s This Week a couple of days after Fauci said unequivocally he wasn’t being muzzled. “He has the vice president speaking, not the scientists who know what they’re talking about, like Fauci.”
2. Trump called the COVID-19 virus “a hoax”
To this day Joe Biden, the left, and the media all claim Trump called COVID-19 a hoax. He said no such thing. While the country was distracted by impeachment, the Trump administration was busy addressing the outbreak, taking various measures to limit the spread of the virus in the United States. Impeachment quickly faded, so they decided to aggressively politicize his response to the outbreak. Joe Biden even called Trump’s travel ban with China an overreaction and accused him of trying to scare the public. “We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering,” Biden tweeted.
President Trump responded to these allegations during a rally in South Carolina, calling the Democrats’ politicization of the coronavirus “the new hoax.” The media jumped on this line, claiming that Trump called the virus, not the Democrats’ reactions to it, a hoax. The lie spread like wildfire and Joe Biden even used the lie as a talking point on the stump. There was quite a stir when Politico’s story repeating the false claim that Trump called the virus a hoax was flagged by Facebook fact-checkers as fake news, but other fact-checkers couldn’t deny that the claim was false either.
1. Claiming hydroxychloroquine was dangerous
This is by far the worst lie of the media because their fearmongering over hydroxychloroquine likely cost many thousands of lives during the pandemic.
When President Trump first touted it back in March as a possible game-changer, the media accused him of “practicing medicine without a license” and “selling snake oil” simply for pointing out that the drug showed promise in some small studies.
The pile-on was relentless. A Democratic state lawmaker in Ohio said that Trump should be tried for “crimes against humanity” for touting the drug’s potential. The New York Times even alleged that Trump’s motivation for touting it was self-serving because he holds “a small personal financial interest” in Sanofi, even though the drug is out of patent, and he only owned $29 – $435 in the stock as part of a mutual fund.
They falsely claimed an elderly Arizona man died and his wife was put in intensive care after they ingested the drug because Trump had promoted it. It was a flat-out lie. The couple never took the anti-malaria medication at all, they had actually ingested poisonous fish tank cleaner because it contained a chemical variant of chloroquine, chloroquine phosphate, as an additive. But that didn’t stop the media from pretty much accusing Trump of murder. It turned out that the woman was also a rabid anti-Trumper who never would have trusted him to take something that was obviously poisonous.
Studies showing the drug as ineffective were covered excessively, such as the Veterans Affairs study in April, which found a higher mortality rate with patients given the drug. The study was deeply flawed, as the sickest patients were disproportionately administered the drug. It was a deeply flawed, non-peer-reviewed study that had no business being reported on. Two other studies followed linking hydroxychloroquine to higher mortality, but those studies were based on faulty data, and two well-respected medical journals had to retract one of them.
There are currently over a hundred studies on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19 (most of them peer-reviewed) that overwhelmingly show positive results, particularly when administered early. For example, a study published a month ago out of Saudi Arabia found that “Early intervention with HCQ-based therapy in patients with mild to moderate symptoms at presentation is associated with lower adverse clinical outcomes among COVID-19 patients, including hospital admissions, ICU admission, and/or death.”
Another study published in early September of nursing home patients found that patients not treated with hydroxychloroquine had a mortality rate more than five times higher than those who were treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Back in July, a large-scale, peer-reviewed study conducted by the Henry Ford Health System concluded that hydroxychloroquine successfully lowered mortality rates for hospitalized COVID patients.
When the media wasn’t hyping fake stories about how dangerous the drug was, they ignored success stories from COVID patients who recovered after being treated with the drug. In April, Democrat State Rep. Karen Whitsett from Detroit, Mich., credited the drug and President Trump with saving her life. Other COVID patients have reported dramatic recoveries after taking the drug.
Making matters worse, doctors who spoke out in support of the drug were censored. The impact of this media assault is catastrophic. One analysis suggests that over 840,000 lives worldwide were lost because hydroxychloroquine was not being widely used as a COVID therapeutic.
Trump Derangement Syndrome cost thousands of lives because the left didn’t want Trump to win reelection. For all those families who lost loved ones from the virus, was it worth it?
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