National Security Advisor: I Offered an Op-ed to Mainstream Outlets But It 'Didn't Fit Their Narrative'

Posted: May 15, 2020 10:30 AM
National Security Advisor: I Offered an Op-ed to Mainstream Outlets But It 'Didn't Fit Their Narrative'

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The Trump administration assembled a team to produce ventilators in cooperation with a number of companies, and it was a smashing success. We’re going to have over 50,000 in the U.S. stockpile. We're in such good shape that we are now in the position in which we can gift the lifesaving machines to our friends around the world.

"We’ve had heads of state once the word got out that the U.S. might be able to help provide ventilators, we’ve had heads of state from five continents reach out to us – Latin America, Central America, Mexico, Canada, our allies in Europe, all throughout Africa, Asia. And these machines are life-saving, and many of these other countries did not have the ability to do what we did to ramp up manufacturing," National Security Advisor O'Brien revealed to radio host Hugh Hewitt. "And so we’ve committed, the President has committed to our friends and partners, and even folks that aren’t necessarily partners around the world, over 15,000 ventilators, I think we’ve shipped or will ship by the end of May, over 6,000 ventilators."

It could have easily gone the other way. The government was facing a severe shortage of ventilators at the outset of the pandemic. Instead, the U.S. now has "an industrial ramp-up the likes of which we have not seen since World War II," O'Brien wrote in a new op-ed. He offered the piece to several outlets, but one after one they said, meh, pass. Until Fox News gladly ran it.

O'Brien and Hewitt had some guesses as to why he got so many rejections.

Hewitt: Good. My first question, I get my Google alerts, my Robert O’Brien alerts, and up pops one yesterday. You’ve written something, a very important story which I read last hour for the audience on ventilators. It’s on Fox News. Why is this not in the New York Times?

O'Brien: Well, first of all, I want to say I couldn’t be more pleased to have been published by Fox News. I’ve written for them for many, many years, and always honored when they publish something. I’m not sure why the mainstream press is not interested in good news, our accomplishments of the administration of fighting the virus. And perhaps…for the Times or the New York Times, L.A. Times, that sort of thing, but couldn’t be more pleased to have Fox’ viewers and readers see the piece.

Hewitt: I am, too, but I’m curious. Did you offer it to the New York Times?

O'Brien: You know, I don’t want to get into it, but the Times, New York Times, L.A. Times, had a chance to run the piece, and I don’t think it fit with their narrative of how the administration is responding to the virus, which has been really outstanding. And so I think they took a pass on it.

It certainly gives credence to President Trump's complaint that the media gave up their ventilator obsession once it became clear that his administration had met the challenge. He recently confronted ABC's Jonathan Karl about it at a White House coronavirus press briefing. 

"So if we gave 350 [million people] a test ten times, the fake news media would say, where's the eleventh time?" Trump said. "He didn't do his job. Trump didn't do his job. Because you have a lot of bad reporting out there."

Karl disagreed, of course. But the president undoubtedly had a point.

"We're now supplying ventilators all over the world because no other country could have done what we did, and you should say that's a great story," Trump emphasized.

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