Building off its fear-mongering from Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday’s broadcast network morning newscasts encouraged viewers to continue masking up on planes, public transit, and when in airports due to “surging” cases of COVID-19 and a need to support the immunocompromised. This was despite Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s Monday ruling that struck down the nationwide mask mandate on travel.
Transportation correspondent Errol Barnett boasted off the top of his CBS Mornings report that “the CDC says amid a surge of COVID in several states across the country, a masking requirement indoors for travelers remains necessary.”
Barnett also brought in CBS News contributor Dr. David Agus to insist flying is sketchy despite evidence to the contrary (which ABC’s Gio Benitez demonstrated on Good Morning America) (click “expand”):
BARNETT: And this comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are surging in parts of the country.
AGUS: The problem with air travel is that —
BARNETT: CBS News contributor Dr. David Agus says that while airplanes have strong filtration systems, it may not be enough for high-risk travelers —
AGUS: Those people will have more of a difficulty going out in public with a potential of being exposed. They can get very ill.
BARNETT: — which is a very real concern for Brian Vastag [sp?] of Hawaii. He traveled to Alaska for treatment for his autoimmune disorders.
BRIAN VASTAG: I am constantly assessing my risk. I'm not going to know is there somebody on the plane who's sick right now.
ABC’s Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan lamented about “the battle over masks” continuing as “cases are rising in some regions and restrictions could return.”
ABC chief White House correspondent Cecilia Vega agreed and insisted we, the sheep, should continue to comply because “[t]he CDC still says that wearing a mask is in the public health interest” and only footnoted its “optional.”
Vega fretted how Team Biden was “blindsided by the initial ruling” and wanted to bring the mandate back due to ensure “precedent for the future...allowing the CDC to make public health decisions based on science.”
Later in her report, she too cited the caseload (without citing low hospitalizations and deaths) and touted New York keep its mandate (click “expand”):
VEGA: This as COVID cases rise this some parts with subvariants of omicron spreading. Nationally, new infection rates growing by nearly 23 percent over the last week. The rise prompting New York's governor to announce she's keeping the mask mandate in place.
GOVERNOR KATHY HOCUL (D-NY): We're not panicking about this. We're not changing, but we also want to make sure we're smart about this.
VEGA: So, now, Americans wait as this legal fight could take weeks, it could take months. Experts believe it will likely make its way to the Supreme Court. But here's the catch. This is hardly a slam dunk for this administration...[T]he advice from health officials is that it is in the public health interest to keep those masks on while you travel but it is optional[.]
Over on NBC’s Today, longtime correspondent Tom Costello claimed the Biden administration hasn’t actually but instead “preserve the integrity and the authority of the CDC to act in the event of a public health emergency.”
Hyping “public health experts” as believing CDC “authority is critical to keeping the public safe,” Costello too went to the current state of the pandemic as some five-alarm fire: “While average daily COVID deaths have been trending down since a spike in February, we are still losing nearly 400 people a day. That's why some travelers say they'll keep masking up.”
And despite co-host Craig Melvin’s efforts to ask whether it’s “the best time to” end the mask mandate, United CEO Scott Kirby noted that it’s safe “almost everywhere we go...because of the availability of vaccines, the efficacy of treatments and the way the numbers have come down” and “we're getting back to living life as normal” because “it’s going to be endemic.”
Thursday’s mask worship services were made possible thanks to advertisers such as Colgate (on CBS), Honda (on NBC), and Zales (on ABC). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.