1. Since Trump Fired The Entire Pandemic Response Structure, I Propose Trump Be Renamed "Dr. Doom
2. Mainstream Media Is Markedly Pro-Right Wing Lies - Part 2
3. The Phenomenon Of The Muslim Narrative In America Part 2
Related Article: A guide to right-wing media reactions and conspiracy theories surrounding coronavirus
Related fact: For the $130,000,000 taxpayers have spent on golf (something Trump swore not to do and even mocked Obama for), we could easily have kept the pandemic structure that Trump destroyed to protect us from coronavirus.
Media Matters: Covering Trump's coronavirus response, major newspapers barely mention that he fired pandemic experts in 2018
Five major American newspapers -- The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Los Angeles Times -- have largely ignored President Donald Trump’s firing of “the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command” in 2018 in their print coverage of his administration’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak over the past two weeks.
Following the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the Obama administration “set up a permanent epidemic monitoring and command group” at the Department of Homeland Security and another at the National Security Council to coordinate policies among key federal agencies and respond to potential global pandemics. But as Foreign Policy explained, Trump got rid of them:
In May 2018, Trump ordered the NSC’s entire global health security unit shut down, calling for reassignment of Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer and dissolution of his team inside the agency. The month before, then-White House National Security Advisor John Bolton pressured Ziemer’s DHS counterpart, Tom Bossert, to resign along with his team. Neither the NSC nor DHS epidemic teams have been replaced.
NBC News reported that pandemic experts and past officials who oversaw responses to disease outbreaks say Trump’s staff cuts are “likely to hamper the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus.” But Americans who read print copies of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Los Angeles Times would not have been sufficiently informed about this aspect of how Trump has weakened America’s defenses to coronavirus.
Media Matters reviewed print articles from those newspapers over the past two weeks for mentions of the Trump administration’s response to the outbreak of novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Of 38 articles, only eight -- or 21% -- mentioned the lack of a pandemic response team in the NSC/DHS: Four in The New York Times, two in The Washington Post, and two in the Los Angeles Times. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today made no mention of Trump’s firings.
And some of those mentions about the missing pandemic response teams failed to specifically explain that the Trump administration had fired them.
- A February 22 New York Times article mentioned only that Democrats were “noting that a global health security expert position on the National Security Council has been left vacant for almost two years.”
- A February 24 New York Times article similarly ignored Trump’s role in firing the team, stating: “A White House Ebola response coordinator named in 2014 is no longer there, nor is a dedicated position at the National Security Council for global health security.”
- A February 24 Washington Post article quoted presidential historian Russell Riley, who noted that Trump had “hollowed out the senior leadership of so many departments of the government -- especially in the scientific community,” adding that “he is now in desperate need of professional guidance among people he has abused for three years.”
- A February 26 Los Angeles Times article reported that “a task force at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies” had “recommended the reinstatement of a National Security Council official to coordinate pandemic response,” but failed to mention the position had been eliminated by Trump.
Media Matters: Broadcast news’ coronavirus coverage has ignored Trump's 2018 firings of pandemic response leadership
- The flagship morning shows and evening news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC have ignored President Donald Trump’s firings of the “entire pandemic response chain of command” in 2018 during their coverage of the coronavirus over the last two weeks.Following the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the Obama administration “set up a permanent epidemic monitoring and command” group at the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Council to coordinate policies among key federal agencies and respond to potential global pandemics. But as Foreign Policy explained:
- In May 2018, Trump ordered the NSC’s entire global health security unit shut down, calling for reassignment of Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer and dissolution of his team inside the agency. The month before, then-White House National Security Advisor John Bolton pressured Ziemer’s DHS counterpart, Tom Bossert, to resign along with his team. Neither the NSC nor DHS epidemic teams have been replaced.
- The cuts may hobble the United States’ ability to respond to the growing coronavirus crisis, but viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight, CBS’ This Morning and Evening News, and NBC’s Today and Nightly News wouldn’t know that important context.Media Matters reviewed morning and evening news segments about the coronavirus from the three major broadcast networks that also mentioned any aspect of the Trump administration’s response to the epidemic over the past two weeks. We found no coronavirus stories that mentioned the Trump administration's response until February 24; from February 24 through 9 a.m. February 27, we found 19, none of which mentioned the 2018 firings.
- Additionally, just two segments, one on World News Tonight and one on Good Morning America, mentioned the Trump administration's proposed cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2018. Early that year, the CDC was forced to reduce efforts to combat global disease outbreaks like the coronavirus by 80%. And only two segments, one on World News Tonight and one on This Morning, mentioned Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) comments that the president’s $2.5 billion emergency request was “too late” and “anemic.”
Right-wing media have lied for years about the American health care system, downplaying the fact that millions of people are either uninsured or lack access to affordable health care.
With a possible pandemic on the horizon, that’s a real problem.
A perfect example of this problem is evident in the Miami Herald’s reporting about Osmel Martinez Azcue. After visiting China, he felt sick. Taking the advice of experts, he went to the hospital, where it turned out that he did not have the novel coronavirus strain known as COVID-19, but rather the common flu. He was then billed $3,270, but he may only have to pay $1,400 for the tests he was given if he can prove to his insurance company that the flu he contracted was not related to a preexisting condition. The Herald noted that so-called “junk plans” that don’t actually cover common medical expenses contribute to this problem, writing that “often the plans aren’t very different from going without insurance altogether.”
This is completely absurd. As the Los Angeles Times’ Matt Pearce noted, people in other countries don’t pay anything near this amount for a coronavirus test.
Right-wing media have defended this ridiculous system for years, fearmongering about proposals that would improve health care quality. People on Fox News are totally fine with rising rates of the uninsured in the U.S. They demand that undocumented immigrants be denied access to health care. Right-wing pundits embrace junk plans and argue loudly that such plans should be allowed to be sold across state lines.
In short: Right-wing media assume that there will never be a health crisis that requires the public to actually get treatment. But this system has always been vulnerable to an actual crisis.
Authoritarian countries like Iran and China are having problems for similar reasons, as Zeynep Tufekci wrote, because of “authoritarian blindness.” By privileging lies, authoritarian leaders are often blind to developing problems.
Right-wing media have long privileged lies about the American health care system, and now we have a president who believes those lies.
Look at Dr. Nancy Messonnier. Trump is reportedly furious at the CDC official for telling the truth about coronavirus eventually impacting the United States.
Or look at Rush Limbaugh. Not only did he downplay the virus and claim it was being weaponized by the media in an effort to bring down Trump, but he’s also now saying that Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Party pose “a much greater threat to this country than the coronavirus does.”
Guaranteeing that everyone in the country has reliable access to health care is not some fringe or radical notion. Limbaugh and his ilk can scream about Venezuela all they want, but from Canada to the U.K. to elsewhere in the world, developed countries have found ways to ensure their residents have basic access to health care, which comes in handy when there is a potential pandemic.
Sanders (and Elizabeth Warren) have built their campaigns around the idea of ensuring that every American has high-quality health care. And instead of showing empathy or understanding why Medicare for All is so popular with the public, we have pundits scratching their heads and appearing wildly confused.
The Trump administration can’t even promise that a coronavirus vaccine would be affordable for everyone:
Maybe things would be different if network news had properly covered the health care crisis in America before coronavirus became a potential pandemic. (Instead, we’ve seen health care mainly be covered as a political football.)
But now it’s just another episode of the neverending right-wing morality play in which rich people deserve everything they have, including amazing health care, while the rest of us can get by with junk plans (if we’re lucky) that leave us medical bills that most can’t afford.
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