Over the weekend, some members of the American media shared this story with indignation and scorn. How dare the Trump administration devote resources and effort to a 'blame game' with China over the global pandemic? The strategy was cast as a cynical ploy to deflect responsibility and scapegoat a foreign nation -- probably with insidious racial implications, to boot. Just more pointless, reckless, xenophobic malpractice, they fumed. Note the scare quotes around, ahem, "cover up:"
The White House is launching a communications plan across multiple federal agencies that focuses on accusing Beijing of orchestrating a "cover-up" and creating a global pandemic, according to two U.S. officials and a cable obtained by The Daily Beast. https://t.co/UnaOttKmts— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 21, 2020
In other words, the White House would like US officials to tell the established truth (seriously, read this -- the empirical reality is not in dispute), in the face of ongoing information warfare from Beijing. Well, we can't have that:
A significant chunk of government resources are going toward a racist blame campaign rather than, you know, fixing the pandemic. https://t.co/YKMwM2AOh6— Dave Levitan (@davelevitan) March 21, 2020
Disseminating accurate information in the face of a propaganda campaign from a hostile power does not divert resources away from pandemic mitigation and recovery efforts. These are two separate tracks. Also, the Chinese government affirmatively is to blame; plus, identifying a disease by its origin point or epicenter is not racist. It's quite common. I recognize that affixing blame, even correctly, will not solve our serious health and economic crises. That task must be the overriding priority with so much at stake. Candidly, I'd be more willing to let the Chinese Communist Party's culpability slide for awhile, based on a 'bigger fish to fry' principle, if not for their continued and aggressive lying (echoed by other US enemies like Iran). They are trying to pin this on the United States, our military in particular, as the first draft of history is being written. This cannot be allowed to play out unchallenged:
China’s official disinfo campaign shows no sign of abating. Here a foreign ministry spokesman re-ups the hoax that the coronavirus might have started in the US pic.twitter.com/3n6JBAVksO— Gady Epstein (@gadyepstein) March 22, 2020
A hostile foreign power is abusing an American platform in the attempt to sow discord and division in a nation in crisis. @Twitter should think long and hard before it permits the CCP to use Twitter's platform and resources to spread misinformation. https://t.co/HcQaXlZMOJ— David French (@DavidAFrench) March 22, 2020
China's claims of how it's handling coronavirus recovery should be taken with more than a few grains of salt...Things now look like they're on the upswing, and businesses even appear to be headed back to work — but whistleblowers and local officials tell Caixan that's just a carefully crafted ruse...Zhejiang, a province east of the epicenter city of Wuhan, claimed as of Feb. 24 it had restored 98.6 percent of its pre-coronavirus work capacity. But civil servants tell Caixan that businesses are actually faking these numbers...In Wuhan, officials have tried to make it appear that recovery efforts are going smoothly. But when "central leaders" personally survey disinfecting regimens and food delivery, local officials "make a special effort" for them and them alone, one resident told Caixan. And in a video circulating on social media, residents can be seen shouting at visiting leaders from the apartments where they're being quarantined — "Fake, it's all fake."
But sure, naming the virus after Wuhan or China is "racist," insist a flock of journalists (heh), liberal politicians (including the entire 2016 Democratic ticket) and entertainers. "We're the racist, human rights-abusing Chinese Communist Party, and we approve this message:"
Racism is not the right tool to cover your own incompetence pic.twitter.com/LmGDyPsULt— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) March 17, 2020
When the Communist Party is well-pleased by your parroting of the regime’s talking points pic.twitter.com/wTErE7jUqI— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) March 21, 2020
Days after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ripped President Trump for what she called "racist rhetoric" toward China, a top ambassador from the country is agreeing with her sentiment...Lin Songtian backed the former Democratic presidential candidate in a two-line tweet responding to Clinton's tirade against Trump for his continued use of the terms "Chinese virus" and "Wuhan virus." Clinton claimed Trump was "turning to racist rhetoric to distract from his failures to take the coronavirus seriously early on." "It is true," wrote Lin on Saturday morning. "Justice always speak loudly."
This is good stuff from Morgan Ortagus, Secretary Pompeo's top spokesperson at State:
By Jan. 3, Chinese authorities had already ordered #COVID19 virus samples destroyed, silenced Wuhan doctors, and censored public concerns online. @SpokespersonCHN is right: This is a timeline the world must absolutely scrutinize. pic.twitter.com/W3se645U2Y— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) March 20, 2020
Meanwhile, would anyone in the press care to revisit their hot takes about how terrible and antediluvian President Trump's travel restrictions were in the early days of the pandemic's spread? Dr. Anthony Fauci says they were effective and bought needed time. That's not how they were covered. Also why are certain outlets credulously repeating...Russian propaganda about their alleged success combatting Coronavirus? Others are censoring their own journalism in order to abide by the language police's latest standards, which happen to align with Beijing's:
Vox removed China from the title lmao pic.twitter.com/XM4CeQsBfz— Elliott Schwartz (@elliosch) March 22, 2020
NYT doing PR cleanup for the commie regime that just purged their reporters — gotta own those cons https://t.co/PZlLh2kXa2— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 19, 2020
Nobody ought to be arguing that American and Western officials shouldn't answer for their own shortcomings or errors over the Coronavirus response. Transparency and accountability should be touchstones in a free society. But partisan contempt for domestic political leaders should not induce the media into 'useful idiocy,' aiding dishonest anti-American propaganda because it might make their disfavored politicians look bad. In fairness, this Times piece (also linked above) is a serious and damning piece of journalism. I'll leave you with a very good idea, which would honor courageous truth-telling and underscore the wages of China's treacherous conduct (amplified by supposedly credible organizations):
More important than ever that we all know Wenliang’s story— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) March 22, 2020
“He had sent out a warning to fellow medics on 30 December but police told him to stop "making false comments"https://t.co/AbXeZAwCQR
Also, read this:
"In de-emphasizing where the epidemic began (something China has been aggressively pushing for), we run the risk of obscuring Beijing’s role in letting the disease spread beyond its borders..."https://t.co/joaENYsahh— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) March 22, 2020