On Wednesday afternoon’s The Lead on CNN, host Jake Tapper trashed President Trump for “downplaying” the coronavirus’s infection rate, one month ago, before it had spread rapidly in the country. Despite the media doing the very same thing, Tapper suggested that the president alone was responsible for projecting a “false sense of security” and causing people to not take the virus seriously:
TAPPER: As we pass 800 deaths and more than 61,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in this country, it is worth remembering what President Trump said almost one month ago today.
TRUMP [on 02/26/20]: When you have 15 people, and a 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that is a pretty good job we've done.
TAPPER: Tomorrow will be the one month anniversary of that statement from the president. That was clearly a false sense of security he was providing the nation. In keeping with the many lies he has told the nation in order to downplay the virus and its risk, and oversell the Trump administration response with more than 61,000 cases in the U.S. far more than 15, far more than zero. There is really no way of knowing how many lives were affected by that false sense of security that the President projected.
Tapper is fine putting blame on Trump, because it takes focus off his peers' poor reporting. At the beginning of the year, the media was consumed with impeachment, not the threat of a deadly virus looming around the corner. In fact, the media themselves did exactly what they accuse Trump of.
The Federalist wrote up a segment from Tucker Carlson’s show, Monday night, showcasing how the media also downplayed the virus early on. Carlson showed how The New York Times and Washington Post, among others, worried more about racism spreading than the virus.
It wasn’t just newspapers.Tapper’s own network CNN, also tried to downplay the virus just to spite Trump in the beginning.
Host Anderson Cooper said on his March 4 show, “if you’re freaked out about the Coronavirus you should be more concerned about the flu.” Similarly, at about the same time that Tapper was referencing above, journalists at CNN were also comparing the virus to the seasonal flu:
This was CNN about a month ago, telling readers that the coronavirus was basically just a less severe, less contagious seasonal flu causing racist attacks against Asians pic.twitter.com/acCgfqc5AM— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) March 25, 2020
Grabien’s Tom Elliott also found several clips of cable news favorite and Joe Biden operative, Ron Klain, dismissing the virus before his sudden turn around to bashing Trump for not taking the virus seriously.
Here’s the tape https://t.co/dst158SDM5— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 26, 2020
Now media outlets are quietly scrubbing their old headlines to avoid further scrutiny. Maybe that’s why the public trusts the media far far less than they trust President Trump on this issue, according to the latest Gallup poll.