As a continuation of attacking President Donald Trump for perceived xenophobia, the media is in lockstep on bashing Trump for his use of “Chinese virus” and “foreign virus” to refer to the coronavirus, or COVID-19.
As an Asian-American Trump supporter, I find it dishonest that the media is bashing the president for noting the origin of COVID-19. The media, too, has paired the words “China” or “Chinese” in news about COVID-19, such as the Washington Post. The Post published articles in January and February with headlines such as, “Chinese coronavirus infections, death toll soar as fifth case is confirmed in U.S.” and “Scientists are unraveling the Chinses coronavirus with unprecedented speed and openness.”
If Trump were racist, he would not have insisted Monday that Americans “protect our Asian American community” - a comment that Rep. Judy Chu said would be “unnecessary” were it not for Trump calling it the “Chinese virus.” But Chu failed to acknowledge that several mainstream media outlets also used the term. And historically, that’s just how viruses have been referred to.
Viruses have long been named based on the site of the first outbreak, such as the West Nile virus and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Trump’s use of “Chinese virus” follows that pattern.
The communist-run Chinese government is responsible for the unchecked spread of the virus and it could have begun to develop a vaccine if the government did not order all research destroyed in December 2019. The Chinese government’s attempted cover-up of COVID-19’s spread demonstrated how not to stop a pandemic and how authoritarian regimes cannot be trusted.
The Chinese government is promoting false conspiracy theories that the U.S. military infected Chinese civilians with the virus. Despite the Chinese government’s disinformation campaign, the truth remains that COVID-19 began in Wuhan, China and that the president’s latest nickname for the virus is solely to highlight its origins.
“Wuhan virus,” “foreign virus” and “Chinese virus” were not coined to promote racist or xenophobic ideals. The president and his allies emphasized that there is no dispute that the virus began in China, which was the reason behind the nickname. But none of their assertions convinced the media that Trump is not racist, but further inflamed their anti-Trump passions.
It is not a new tactic, considering the media has long considered Trump and his allies to be racist and xenophobes. They plastered wall-to-wall coverage of Trump’s immigration policies, his post-Charlottesville remarks, and allegations of racist Trump supporters. There are multiple examples of debunked Trump supporters-are-racist hoaxes, such as actor Jessie Smollett’s faked hate crime and several on-campus race hoaxes where Trump supporters allegedly assaulted non-white Americans. But none were true and the truth garnered less attention when the hoaxes were exposed.
CBS reporter Weijia Jiang tweeted that a Trump administration official referred to COVID-19 as the “Kung-Flu,” which she found offensive. But other media outlets did not confirm her account and she refused to reveal the source of the offensive comment. But the media glanced over Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway’s response that the alleged comment was “highly offensive” and that she wanted to find out who was responsible.
If the Trump administration were racist, Conway would not have condemned the alleged quote and would not be asking Jiang’s help to disclose the source’s identity. Conway’s husband is half-Filipino, by the way.
This is the same media that is to blame for much of the hysteria gripping Americans across the country, with grocery stores running low on toilet paper, medical masks, and bottled water. But instead of alleviating Americans’ stress and concerns, the media is using their platform to present doomsday predictions and scenarios as a way to damage and criticize Trump, which predictions have led to mass hysteria.
Statistics demonstrate, that while it is a dangerous virus, it is not nearly as dangerous as the media says it is. One estimate says that the fatality rate is about 1.4%, far lower than the previously-estimated 2-3% from the WHO and CDC. Combined with the “social distancing” recommendations put in place across the country, the fatality rate could be lower than what the media is predicting. With the media’s hysteria, America could fall into a recession and the panic could cost a significant amount of jobs for those who can’t afford to lose their jobs, such as hospitality workers, bartenders, restaurant workers, and other similar professions.
The media is focusing on the wrong issue of whether Trump is racist for calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus.” It should focus on the impact that their hysteria-inducing media coverage has on the American and global economy, which could lead to a lot of hardship for many people.
Spencer Irvine is a staff writer for Accuracy in Media. www.aim.org