CNN Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy made the erroneous claim on social media that the network he works for "accurately reported" on COVID-19 during the early stages of the outbreak as it emanated from Wuhan, China.
Darcy made the claim while criticizing rival Fox News for its coverage of the virus, where some hosts downplayed the seriousness of the new disease.
Amid a pandemic killing thousands of Americans, Trump continues to seek to undercut the credibility of CNN, which has accurately reported on the virus.— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 4, 2020
Meanwhile, at the same time, Trump props up Fox, which for weeks misled its viewers about the seriousness of it. https://t.co/JmJBbgls6V
As @seanhannity spreads misinformation, where is Fox News CEO @Suzannescott? Does she not watch his show? Does she not care about how he is deceiving viewers? Or does she not have control over her own talent? pic.twitter.com/k2JI9N3pDr— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 5, 2020
As many began to point out to Darcy, CNN is guilty of the same sin, as many other news outlets.
CNN downplayed the severity of the virus, that’s accurate reporting? Here’s proof. https://t.co/aJSfbQeZI8— Queso Cheese (@jmlucyc) April 4, 2020
What's more is CNN held an in-person presentation for advertisers on March 5, not long after President Trump organized the White House coronavirus task force and its medical team began to advise the country to not congregate in large group settings, according to the New York Times:
"It took place at the network’s new headquarters in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards complex. The room was so packed that some advertisers had to be seated in an overflow area.
In front of the crowd — after the anchor Anderson Cooper quipped that he had “shaken, like, 50 hands today” — the CNN president Jeff Zucker asked the network’s chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, if it was “OK for these folks to go to a room of about 250 people.”
'No,' Mr. Gupta answered half seriously, to laughs from the crowd."
In contrast, Fox News' CEO Suzanne Scott canceled their in-person presentation on March 2, was originally scheduled for March 24.
"In a precautionary effort to keep our employees, client and agency partners safe, we have determined that it would be best to cancel our upcoming event in New York based on public health concerns due to coronavirus," Jeff Collins, executive vice president, advertising sales, Fox News, said in a statement the following day.
Of course, CNN is not the only news organization that seriously underestimated the new virus, partly because the authoritarian Chinese government was not upfront about the seriousness of COVID-19 until it was well beyond its borders.
As I previously wrote, the narrative from the mainstream media that Fox News did not take the Wuhan coronavirus seriously often leaves out that they too frequently pointed to how seasonal flu deaths were higher in the United States early on in the pandemic.