Former CNN Producer: Media Leak on June Coronavirus Death Toll was Irresponsible Fear-Mongering

Posted: May 05, 2020 2:05 PM
Former CNN Producer: Media Leak on June Coronavirus Death Toll was Irresponsible Fear-Mongering

Source: AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The lockdowns are ending. Not all at once, but over half of the states are slowly beginning to reopen. That’s good news. And it’s in states that weren’t hard-hit. Oklahoma is not New York. They can start this process. So can Texas and 30 other states. Virginia is set to start reopening nonessential businesses on May 15. The stay-at-home orders allowed our health care systems to breathe. They haven’t been overwhelmed. And the antibody testing is showing that a lot of Americans already have had the virus and recovered from it. We still don’t have a vaccine, but Gilead Sciences has expanded production on an anti-viral that has seen excellent results, prompting the FDA to grant it emergency authorization use. We’re coming out of this, even in New York City the hospitalization rate and death count is dropping. The curve has been flattened. Now, we brace for a possible second wave of infection, but the wait is over. It’s time to start re-opening.

Yes, I was supportive of the lockdowns but was never part of the ‘lockdown until a vaccine’ cohort that emanates from the liberal media and their allied politicians, seeking to continue to wreck the economy in order to win the upcoming election. 

The economy contracted by nearly 5 percent in the first quarter of 2020 due to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. The epicenter remains New York City and the greater tri-state area. The West and East Coasts remain the geographic hotspots, all of them with Democratic leaders. So, prior to the easing of the lockdowns, there were stories about rural hotspots popping up. That’s fake news. We’ve entered a period of red-state shaming, with an odious and disgusting narrative that rural states easing their COVID restrictions will get people killed. Worse is the accompanying swipe that the media thinks these people in these states want others to die. We’ve also heard that easing restrictions means you want to kill black people, who have been disproportionately affected by this virus; it’s a mess. And they’re all wrong. 

So, with states getting the pieces ready to get back to normal, for lack of a better term, we have this media leak which says that coronavirus deaths could be as high as 3,000 per day by June 1. This isn’t official. It wasn’t signed off by Trump’s Wuhan coronavirus task force. It was another episode of panic porn from the liberal media. And yes, former CNN producer Steve Krakauer was there to surgically tear down this hysteria [emphasis mine]:

 It started earlier today with many media outlets, like the Washington Post, reporting "Coronavirus deaths in U.S. will rise to 3,000 daily by June 1," citing a "draft government report." Draft, being crucial, because the leak showed information that was not reviewed or approved by the Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci or Dr. Birx. It was fear-mongering, and irresponsible.

By the end of the day, we got more accurate data. Yes, the IHME model nearly doubled, to 134,000 projected deaths total. But the June 1 daily projection would be less than one-third the earlier reported figure, at 890. It should also be noted the IHME data has consistently over-estimated deaths throughout this crisis.

Then there's the continued geographic bias against non-East Coast states - despite New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts having the four highest per capita COVID-19 death totals. Two weeks ago I wrote about CNN's false "heartland hotspots" report, predicting states like Oklahoma and South Dakota as the next big hotspots for coronavirus cases and deaths. The reality, now? By every metric, this never materialized. Washington D.C. now has more deaths than the entire state of Oklahoma, with Oklahoma having five times the population.

I don't blame people like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for lashing out at the wrong predictions, stemming from a bias in the media. "We were told over and over again Florida is going to be just like New York when it came to coronavirus," said Gov. DeSantis, sharing this chart which shows New York and other states compared to Florida in per capita coronavirus deaths.

The lockdowns were meant to have a short-term pain for long-term gain mindset, and you cannot tell me the media coverage, which is already atrocious, wouldn’t be calling for impeachment 2.0 against Trump if the death toll was higher due to Trump resisting social distancing guidelines. It might have been less for sure, given the crude antibody tests results that are trickling in now, but that’s a risk no leader takes; Trump made the right call and his response to this crisis has been aggressive, transparent, and proactive. 

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Derek Hunter

If you want to make a case against ending these lockdowns fine, but all have ventured into crazy town. The insane ‘ending the lockdowns’ is cloaked in racism is just a key sign that the liberal media doesn’t want the economy to recover. And now, with Joe Biden being slapped with a sexual assault allegation, on top of the fact that he’s a man whose quasi-dementia episodes lands him as a prime candidate for a person who needs to be reminded to wear pants, Democrats need all the help they can get and if that means the continued trashing of Americans’ economic futures, so be it. 

This was always going to be painful. For the vast majority of states, the economic pain has been enough and with COVID cases not being many, to begin with—they should reopen, and we should hope the economic engines start to get oiled again. For New York, it will be a while since Mayor Bill de Blasio sat on his hands during some critical days and didn’t take measures to contain the spread, despite being presented with evidence that COVID was spreading like a brushfire in the Big Apple. That’s the other half of it, folks. This outbreak that only hits Democratic states, with Democratic politicians, and where most of the confirmed US-based deaths reside, isn’t the best narrative. And when New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy admitted he didn’t take the Bill of Rights into consideration when he issued social distancing mandates, it doesn’t make for a good governance narrative either. So, blame the country bumpkin is still the name of the game in the newsrooms of most media outlets. Fine—it’ll make Trump’s re-election all the easier to clinch come November. 

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