CBS News got caught hyping what is tantamount to fake news and now is “clarifying” the story, not retracting it.
It appears that the network’s social media team got caught up in the emotional Instagram video of a woman who’d taken a job at a Chicago area hospital only to quit because “nurses are not being protected” around COVID-19 patients.
CBS put a somber music bed under Imaris Vera’s tearful speech and highlighted the messages they wished to convey.
The Instagram model and influencer’s crying jag fit right into the Orange-Man-Bad-give-us-more-equipment-storyline so well that CBS found it just too good to check.
“I quit my job today. I went into work and I was assigned to a COVID patient on an ICU unit that has been converted to a designated COVID unit. None of the nurses are wearing masks, not even surgical masks in the hallways when they’re giving reports to each other. I had my own N95 mask. I told my manager, I understand we’re short on supplies, but let me protect myself. Let me feel safe.”
But it wasn’t real. There were N-95 masks given to the nurses which she said in a later interview, basically disemboweling her own previous story. Apparently, CBS didn’t see that one, though it appeared before its tweet sending the video into viral mode.
The New York Post picked up CBS’s “clarification” which was essentially the story the model told to WGN TV and posted on Instagram, walking back the “no mask” fiction.
“CBS issued a statement from Vera in a follow-up tweet Monday.
“We were each assigned 1 N95 per 1 covid patient’s room but was not allowed to wear it outside of the room, wear our own N95 mask around the Nurses station or Halls, which I came prepared with,” Vera said, according to CBS.
Imaris Vera, the nurse in this video, clarified her experience on Monday in a tweet: "We were each assigned 1 N95 per 1 covid patient’s room but was not allowed to wear it outside of the room, wear our own N95 mask around the Nurses station or Halls, which I came prepared with."
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 6, 2020
What may have been more at issue for the young woman was that she hadn’t worked a contract nursing job in ICU for a awhile. The self-described traveling nurse also said in a post in February, “I’m honestly struggling a bit & know it’s my depression & bi-polar disorder trying to get the best of me!”
“The hospital, Northwestern Medicine [Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois] acknowledged that Imaris Vera had quit her job, but referred CBS News to Vera as to the details of why,” the outlet tweeted.”
The hospital, Northwestern Medicine, acknowledged that Imaris Vera had quit her job, but referred CBS News to Vera as to the details of why.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 6, 2020
The part-time nurse, Instagram model and Instagram influencer has since deactivated her social media account.
After CBS touted the nurse’s tale, it went viral and even got the attention of then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
It is insane that our nurses are being forced to care for the sick without masks and respirators. The Department of Labor must immediately issue emergency workplace standards to protect our health workers, their families, and their patients. https://t.co/Z8dWqtxz5X
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 5, 2020
By now millions of people have seen the nurse, perfectly made up and coifed play to the camera with her tale.
The network’s clarification without a retraction is a bit like pointing out how wonderful the drapes look in a room just destroyed by a twister.
CBS never retracted the tweet that got it all started.
In tears, a nurse says she quit her job after she was asked to work in a coronavirus ICU without a face mask: “America is not prepared, and nurses are not being protected” https://t.co/ywoSuLOPYP pic.twitter.com/S5BsnlO5nt
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 5, 2020
Vera probably did feel unsafe at the hospital. And maybe it’s better for all concerned that she’s gone.
PJ Media’s attempt to get a hold of Vera through her Instagram account got no response.