After having spent weeks trashing anti-lockdown protests during the coronavirus pandemic as racist and a threat to public health, on Wednesday, the broadcast networks tried to excuse the same COVID concerns amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. In part, journalists argued “the virus of hate may be more dangerous” and that racism was the real pandemic.
“More than a week into the nationwide protests erupting on America’s streets, the crowds don’t appear to be subsiding....If anything, they’re getting bigger,” observed correspondent Sam Brock during a report on NBC’s Today show, looking at the possibility of the protests causing coronavirus outbreaks. He noted: “Leaders like New York’s governor applauding the passion, but pleading for common sense.”
The reporter then brushed aside the worries and proclaimed: “Those fighting racism say the virus of hate may be more dangerous than the actual virus.” A soundbite ran of one female protester ranting: “At this point, I feel like I’m more concerned with the death and the genocide of my black brothers and sisters than I am of getting this virus.” A male protester argued: “I’m fighting for the human race rather than fighting a virus. And I’ve stayed home for this whole quarantine break, so I think it’s time for me to get out and fight for my rights.”
While reporting on international protests on ABC’s Good Morning America, correspondent Maggie Rulli announced: “Last Tuesday, we saw demonstrators in the streets of Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, even as far away as Poland and New Zealand, people chanting ‘I can’t breathe,’ holding up signs with the images of George Floyd, signs that said ‘Racism is a pandemic.’”
Moments later, Rulli matter-of-factly pointed out: “...despite the coronavirus pandemic, these crowds are still out here protesting, that’s also despite the fact many governments have warned against large gatherings like this.”
On CBS This Morning, correspondent Jericka Duncan touted how “Doctors and nurses from the front line for COVID also joined some of the demonstrations” in New York City, apparently unconcerned by the lack of social distancing. One of the medical professionals asserted: “We see how racism affects our patients and their health and their lives, just like others do.”
During an interview in the 8:00 a.m. ET hour, far-left Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley told co-host Tony Dokoupil:
And to be clear, the unrest that is happening, the peaceful protesting and demonstrating is not only about police brutality. Bear in mind the black community has disproportionately borne the brunt of COVID-19. We are managing that trauma and that loss. A pandemic within a pandemic. A public health pandemic and the scourge that is police brutality, layered with the trauma of housing injustice, economic injustice, education injustice, and health care injustice....We have legislated hate and hurt, it has disproportionately been put on black folks.
Seconds beforehand, she had launched into a tirade against President Trump:
I really don’t have much patience for or care what Donald Trump and anyone a part of his corrupt administration, who codifies their cruelty and their bigotry in policy every day. Depending on the moment, Donald Trump has been either a hapless bystander or an inciter of violence. Someone who refers to my community as “the blacks” is not anyone who I am listening to at this moment.
At the top of the 8:30 a.m. ET hour, Dokoupil tried to preemptively blame police tactics for any potential spread of the virus:
So one of the worries in the background as we watch these protests nationwide is what does it mean for the coronavirus. Remember, we are still living in a pandemic. Well, one reason for concern is that police are using tear gas at demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, and that could create a whole new wave based on what people who studied this kind of thing know about the effects of tear gas. Medical studies show that tear gas can damage people’s lungs, which can make them more susceptible to respiratory illnesses of all kinds. At the very same time, the gas can trigger coughing, and we know that coughing can spread the virus from an infected person to others.
Apparently the risk of protests causing a coronavirus outbreak is acceptable to the liberal media as long as they agree with the ideology of the political demonstration.
Here is a transcript of the June 3 report on NBC’s Today show:
7:41 AM ET
SAM BROCK: More than a week into the nationwide protests erupting on America’s streets, the crowds don’t appear to be subsiding.
CROWD [PROTESTERS]: No justice! No peace!
BROCK: If anything, they’re getting bigger.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN [PROTESTER]: For me to just be at home on my phone just retweeting and posting on Instagram, that’s not enough.
BROCK: Throngs of people standing shoulder to shoulder from downtown L.A. to the nation’s capitol, demanding an overhaul in policing, and all in the midst of a pandemic.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX: I worry terribly about the peaceful protests. I see some wearing masks, I see some others not wearing masks.
BROCK: Dr. Deborah Birx promising to work with mayors to expand COVID testing for protesters. Leaders like New York’s governor applauding the passion, but pleading for common sense.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO [D-NY]: Express your outrage, but be responsible. Because the last thing we want to do is see a spike in the number of COVID cases.
BROCK: Those fighting racism say the virus of hate may be more dangerous than the actual virus.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [PROTESTER]: At this point, I feel like I’m more concerned with the death and the genocide of my black brothers and sisters than I am of getting this virus.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN B: I’m fighting for the human race rather than fighting a virus. And I’ve stayed home for this whole quarantine break, so I think it’s time for me to get out and fight for my rights.