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False Media Narrative of Red State Negligence In Wuhan Virus Response

False Media Narrative of Red State Negligence In Wuhan Virus Response

The hardest hit states so far are blue states. So why is the media spending disproportionate amounts of time attacking red states?

The MSM have been in full-court press mode for the last two weeks in accusing President Trump, Fox News, and conservative media outlets of downplaying the Wuhan coronavirus until it was too late to contain it.

But another related talking point has emerged in recent days which involves the press relentlessly bashing red states for their allegedly slow response in comparison to blue states. In a nutshell, the reason they have supposedly been slower to put restrictions in place is that they are taking their cues from Trump, Fox, and Rush.

Axios CEO and co-founder Jim VandeHei is a notable example of a media figure who employed this strategy, and he did so in an interview last week on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. Here’s what he said:

What you’re seeing here, and this is a bigger problem for society, is information inequality,’ VandeHei said. ‘Like, why (did) Desantis do what he did? Why did Georgia wait so long? They were listening to President Trump. They were watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh. The information was there. In the information bubble, they were basically getting a lot of sort of noise and news pollution.


In another instance of the media bashing red state governors, MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle brought on Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) Friday to talk about Florida’s response to the pandemic. She practically pleaded with Rubio to criticize Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for what she insinuated was a needless delay in implementing shelter in place orders for his state.

Rubio didn’t take the bait, and instead alerted her to the fact that most counties in the state already had restrictions in place prior to DeSantis’ decision to put shelter in place orders in effect:

“Can we talk about your state of Florida? One of the last states — not all the states have participated, one of the most recent to issue this stay-at-home order,” Ruhle said. “What in the world is going on down there? You have a whole lot of senior citizens and last I checked, they’re pretty high risk.”

“Yeah, so let me say one thing. I think for all practical purposes, we were in a stay-at-home order. Virtually every county in the state, if not every, had restrictions in place. Perhaps with the exception of,” Rubio replied, before Ruhle cut him off.

“Senator come on now. You and I — Stop it.”

“No I’m serious, it’s true!” Rubio insisted.

Not only is Rubio right about Florida, but the same can be said as well for the remaining red state governors who have not mandated shelter in place orders. Cities and counties in those states have put restrictions in place and so have their governors to varying degrees, though in the latter case their measures have not been as drastic as the ones taken in states like California.

I’m in North Carolina, where Gov. Roy Cooper (D) implemented shelter in place a couple of weeks ago after numerous counties had already done so. But in South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) has effectively done the “stay at home” thing by pretty much shutting down all “non-essential” services. He’s done everything but make the actual declaration. So it’s more than a little dishonest for the mainstream media to assume red states that haven’t gone the shelter in place route haven’t taken other measures to contain the outbreak.

The media should consider, too, that not every state’s situation is the same, so naturally their responses are not going to mirror each other. For example, the drastic measures put in place in states like New York wouldn’t necessarily be a good fit for the midwestern states that have seen far less cases, and that’s even accounting for the disparities in testing, as Pro Publica’s Alec MacGillis explained:

To date, the hardest hit states are not red states. They’re blue states: New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and California. That’s not to say that red states aren’t going to see steep increases in their curves in the coming weeks. Some models predict some of them will.

But if the media were really interested in being informative instead of using the crisis to make Republican governors out to be the bad guys, they’d spend more time reporting on how New York leaders were slow to respond to the crisis, with NYC Mayor de Blasio and other local and state Democratic officials downplaying the Wuhan Coronavirus threat in February and early March.

They’d also devote more attention to how the Democratic governors of Nevada and Michigan acted to ban the use of the chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat the virus before reversing course after widespread outcry.

But their actions don’t fit the media’s narratives, so instead the media disingenuously focuses on Republican governors and conservative media types.

Polling guru Nate Silver even took issue with those who were pitting red states against blue states when talking about response times:

If what the government is saying is correct, the country still has several more weeks to go before the worst of this is over. So it remains to be seen where the next hot spots will be after New York City has reached its peak. In the meantime, instead of disproportionately attacking red states, the mainstream media should do the following things:

1) Critical analyses of where things went wrong early on in blue state hot spots.
2) Acknowledge that a “one size fits all” model for how states should be responding to the outbreak doesn’t really work, because each state’s situation is different.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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2smartforlibs | April 5, 2020 at 2:16 pm

Anyone the listen to ANYTHING Axios has bigger issues than a virus

    “axios” is Greek for “worthy”. Those cockroaches are only worthy of a courtesy flush, nothing else.

    Yes, it’s advisable to distance from media, press, and steering platforms (e.g. Alphabet/Google, Yahoo, etc.) to mitigate progress of the social contagion.

Morning Sunshine | April 5, 2020 at 2:32 pm

my county is rural. It is 20 min to a grocery store. An hour to Costco. My kids can go outside and play without seeing another person. My lockdown looks very different from NYC. And my governor knows it. The county mayors of the big counties in the Salt Lake met area are all shut down. The governor knows that outside those 4-5 counties, we are not close enough to really be a danger to each other. Plus, as big as Utah is geographically, 90% of our population lives within an hour of I-15; the feds own the rest of the state.

    Similar here. Ten minutes from a town of 7500; school district area about 30,000 residents. We’re on 2.5 acres. Funny the reaction of city folk who grocery shop 2-3x per week to our pantry. “Hoarders” – no – just live far enough out to make shopping in bulk more attractive – and because power outages are more common and last longer here we’re modestly prepped for life without service.

    Costco and grocery stores are still well stocked; being an area with greater senior population who retired here from “eastern Washington” (aka, east of the Puget Sound), there’s been little sign of panic / hoarding. You’re likely to hear someone comment “Inslee is a putz” as people go about their daily – albeit masked now.

    danvillemom in reply to Morning Sunshine. | April 5, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    Same in rural AZ except for the food. We are limited to 2 packages of ground beef and chicken per visit. Easter hams have not made an appearance in the meat depts but geese appeared????

      Morning Sunshine in reply to danvillemom. | April 5, 2020 at 6:09 pm

      try something new while quarantined? We tried duck for the first time this week. Won’t pay that again for meat, but quite tasty…

      our local stores are not limiting fresh meat or produce (except potatoes – those are limited for some reason….?)

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | April 5, 2020 at 2:38 pm

>> They were listening to President Trump, they were watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbo [sic]” <<

Did all of the so called "red state" governors tell him that's why they didn't put their whole states in lockdown sooner, or did he just make it up out of whole cloth?

I'm going to assume he just made it up.

    In Wyoming, the governor has done essentially all the same things the “lockdown”-ordering governors have done — but because he isn’t CALLING it a “lockdown,” he’s been getting flak from the media for not doing enough.

      Milhouse in reply to McGehee. | April 5, 2020 at 8:03 pm

      Why? As Jim Treacher wrote, isn’t living in Wyoming the very definition of “social distancing”? Surely Wyoming doesn’t need the same precautions that more densely populated areas do, let alone what we need here in NYC. Only Democrats imagine that everywhere must be treated the same way.

      Neo in reply to McGehee. | April 6, 2020 at 10:56 am

      Just because you can see the State Capitol from 60 miles away doesn’t mean it is threatening.

Soon.. Another leftist news source I’ve never heard of is being self important on other leftist news platforms. Can’t see this idiot’s opinion is going to move the needle on this much.

In the mean time our local hospital gets to take transfers from New York City because they were so well prepared?

All dates and statements personally verified.

– On January 5, Florence holds “Hug a Chinese Person Day”.

– On January 4, President Trump dedicates part of State of the Union Address to the Coronavirus issue. Nancy Pelosi tears up her copy of this address on national television.

– On January 9, NYC holds Chinatown parade with assurances of no danger from the mayor and the NY health commisioner

– On January 14, WHO declared no evidence of human-to-human transmission of virus.

– On January 15, House impeachment managers deliver the articles of impeachment against President Trump to the U.S. Senate.

– On January 15, The first person with corona virus traveled to Washington State, U.S.A.

– On January 21, Dr. Fauci makes this statement about the Coronavirus: ““This is not a major threat to the people of the United States and this is not something that the citizens of the United States should be worried about right now,”

– On January 23, At an emergency committee convened by the World Health Organization, the WHO says that the Wuhan coronavirus does not yet constitute a public health emergency of international concern.

– On January 23, 1st evidence of community transfer within U.S.

– On January 23, House impeachment managers made their opening arguments for removing the president to the Senate.

– On January 28, Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom in Beijing. At the meeting, Xi and the WHO agree to send a team of international experts, including US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff, to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak.

– On January 29, The White House announces the formation of a new task force that will help monitor and contain the spread of the virus.

– On January 30, senators began asking two days of questions during the impeachment trial.

– On January 31, Trump declared a ban on travel to the U.S. from China, which Democrats then criticized as xenophobic for the next several weeks, press cites “experts” claiming it is counterproductive.

– On January 31, Trump administration announces mandatory quarantines in response to corona virus.

– On February 5, Schumer tweeted, “The premature travel ban to and from China by the current administration is just an excuse to further his ongoing was against immigrants. There must be a check and Balance (sic) on these restrictions.”

– On February 24, Pelosi says to shop more: “‘Come to Chinatown … come join us”

– On February 24, Schumer gave a blistering attack in which he accused Trump of being “asleep at the wheel” and having “no plan.” He lied that the White House had significantly reduced the resources available for fighting the disease, and railed that the president “has been slow to take action to confront the virus abroad.” Huh? What are we supposed to do, send the Marines into Milan?

– On February 25, Mardi Gras was held with few people sounding warnings

– On February 26, Pence takes over task force, daily briefings begin.

– On March 1, just 42 confirmed cases in U.S.

– On March 3, NYC mayor encourages New Yorkers to go to the movies.

– On March 5, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) introduced the “No Ban Act”, which would have prevented Trump from implementing his travel ban. It was co-sponsored by 219 House Democrats. Senate Democrats also tried to prevent Trump from implementing his travel bans, introducing legislation that would block funds from being used to enforce them.

– On March 5, NYC mayor rides the subway to assure people it is safe to do so.

– On March 11, WHO acknowledged a pandemic scale.

– On March 12, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and other democratic leaders retracted the “No Ban Act”

    FOAF in reply to starride. | April 5, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    “All dates and statements personally verified.”

    You are not adhering to proper journalistic principles, i. e. “Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story [or narrative]”

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to FOAF. | April 7, 2020 at 12:33 am

      ABC’s Jonathan Karl Invites Chinese Communist Party to Attend White House Coronavirus Briefing…
      Posted by sundance
      Remember when President Trump said the U.S. media were the enemy of the American people? Well, consider this… In another clear example of how the U.S. media will do anything in their effort to undermine President Trump, yesterday they held hands with Chinese communists.

      ABC News chief Washington DC narrative engineer Jonathan Karl is the current rotating head of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA). The WHCA has a customary and traditional role of selecting the journalists who will participate in the White House daily briefing.

      Yesterday WHCA head Jonathan Karl invited a known propagandist for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) into the briefing room to question President Trump. However, President Trump immediately pegged the CCP propagandist and asked her directly:

      The Last Refuge

    Evan3457 in reply to starride. | April 5, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    This is an excellent summary, but the date of the State of the Union address is wrong. It was February 4, not January 4. It was deliberately held back by Pelosi until after the impeachment trial was over so that the president couldn’t use it as a bully pulpit to influence the trial, and explain to the American people why the bogus charges against him were…ummmm…bogus.

    Barry in reply to starride. | April 5, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Excellent summation starride!

    And I can vouch for each one as well. Everything cited is a fact.

    Massinsanity in reply to starride. | April 5, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Great timeline, thank you. I would add this hypothetical into the equation…

    Imagine if somewhere between the golden pen impeachment signing ceremony and the end of the trial in the Senate, President Trump had used the Wuhan Virus (the media was still calling it that back then) to order a shutdown of the United States.

    How would Democrats and the media have reacted?

    Milhouse in reply to starride. | April 5, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    – On February 5, Schumer tweeted, “The premature travel ban to and from China by the current administration is just an excuse to further his ongoing was against immigrants. There must be a check and Balance (sic) on these restrictions.”

    No, he didn’t.

      bhwms in reply to Milhouse. | April 6, 2020 at 1:20 pm

      A large number of people retweeted it at the time, and he has since deleted it. Many people captured screenshots. Are you saying they are all fake?

        Milhouse in reply to bhwms. | April 6, 2020 at 1:40 pm

        Yes, they are all fake. Nobody retweeted it, because it was never on Twitter. It’s a complete fake that someone made up and many people forwarded, not retweeted. I provided the link. Follow it.

        Milhouse in reply to bhwms. | April 6, 2020 at 1:45 pm

        Here’s a fake tweet generator.

        And here’s a challenge: Find any mention of this alleged tweet before the end of February. If it was really tweeted on Feb 5, there should have been many retweets that day or the next. But this hoax wasn’t invented until more than three weeks later.

The hardest hit states so far are blue states. So why is the media spending disproportionate amounts of time attacking red states?

Because media.

Ann in L.A. | April 5, 2020 at 2:55 pm

It really matters right now that almost the entire media world is in New York City which is probably the hottest hot-spot in the world right now. For all of the reporters, covid is personal and immediate. Probably each one knows a dozen people with covid, and probably several people they know in the city are in the hospital. They are telling this story like *their* story is *everyones* story.

People spend all day listening to people in New York talk about how bad covid is in New York and get the impression that things where they are must be as bad or are about to become as bad.

There are no deaths to date in Wyoming and only 23 people in the entire state have been hospitalized. 187 have tested positive and 49 of those are already deemed recovered.

North Dakota and South Dakota combined have seen 5 deaths to date, 49 hospitalized, and 398 positive tests.

New York has 3565 deaths, 26,383 hospitalizations (15,905 of them right now), and 113,704 positive tests.

These wide-open small states can try a contact-tracing/testing strategy that is no longer feasible after the virus has spread.

I made the graph linked below using data from the Covid Tracking Project. It shows how the overwhelming focus of covid is in NY and NJ, with the rest of the states combined having about fewer deaths than just those two states.

The stats on covidtracking today show: NY + NJ = 4411 deaths, rest of US = 3903.

    Morning Sunshine in reply to Ann in L.A.. | April 5, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    “It really matters right now that almost the entire media world is in New York City which is probably the hottest hot-spot in the world right now. For all of the reporters, covid is personal and immediate. Probably each one knows a dozen people with covid, and probably several people they know in the city are in the hospital. They are telling this story like *their* story is *everyones* story.”

    This. So much this.

One slight correction – CA is doing pretty well, for now, relative to its population. But the Worldometer site now allows you to sort the states by case and death rates and overwhelmingly the less-impacted states are red without much indication they are “catching up”. E. g. take four states with roughly equal populations, Massachusetts, Indiana, Tennessee and Arizona. Deep blue MA has as many cases and deaths as the other three red states combined and still increasing at the same rate. FL not doing that badly and TX way down the list.

    Ann in L.A. in reply to FOAF. | April 5, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Here in L.A., I wish Cedars was putting their stats online. I’m looking at USC and UCLA daily, and they are showing no flood of cases.

    The two USC hospitals (Keck and Verdugo Hills) show about 30 cases (they haven’t updated in 2 days, though).

    UCLA (Ronald Reagan & Santa Monica) have 35 as of midnight last night.

    Combined, they have more beds than Cedars, but Cedars is in the heart of the worst-hit area and should be seeing the biggest numbers.

“False Media Narrative” is multiply redundant.

CA has issues with testing, and was in the bottom 5 states per a recent table I saw.

Cuomo is requiring a hospital visit to get hydroxychloroquine .

Glenn Jordan | April 5, 2020 at 3:43 pm

The corporate media will not give up trying to set the narrative that Trump has caused this, enabled by his racist, sycophantic supporters. So far, the virus has unfolded way below the worst-case scenarios. The media and its Democrat followers are moving the goal post to claim that it’s Trump’s fault that there is one coronavirus case or fatality in the country. If we make it through this with Trump still in favor with a sizable amount of the electorate, they will not stop trying to annul the 2016 election.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Glenn Jordan. | April 7, 2020 at 12:47 am

    Every thing the DEM MSM PRC owned slaves do is backfiring exponentially.

    I can’t go anywhere without hearing citizens exclaiming how FAKE all this is.

Maybe the MSM is figuring out that the most infections and deaths, both numerically and as a percentage of the local population are going to take place in packed urban areas. If true that means fewer viewers and fewer Democrat voters. How can that be “fair”?

I thought locking down an area was racist, oh that’s right the narrative changed
Most of the media believes that America is just one big city attached one to another from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

For years our education system has pushed too many into a nearly worthless liberal arts program. For years the medical community has been issuing warnings about a lack of healthcare workers. Now the big cities are begging people from all over the country to help them out. The are begging retired people to assist. Where is the legion of young healthcare workers, that’s right they are now unemployed with a mountain of student loan debt while the younger health care workers are getting too many hours are too much exposure to the ill.
By the way this also applies to many in the trades as well.

    henrybowman in reply to buck61. | April 6, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    Speaking of recalling grandpa to the labor force, New Jersey is issuing an urgent callup for COBOL programmers. Seems their unemployment compensation computers are breaking under the new load. Like New Orleans did with the levee maintenance appropriations, it looks like NJ spent their technology maintenance appropriations on hookers and blow.

BierceAmbrose | April 5, 2020 at 7:19 pm

Well, yeah…

Traveling far doesn’t matter if there’s nobody there. The outdoors won’t infect you (unless you eat uncooked weird stuff that’s a bad idea twice). People will infect you.

BierceAmbrose | April 5, 2020 at 7:22 pm

Why are the people who, as a group, are already sick, so concerned with limiting the travel of people who aren’t?

So confused that going “over 2 miles” is what it takes to do anything in places that are spread out.

The Chi-Comms are notorious liars. (All fascist regieme are.)

The chilling fact is that they own our news and entertainment media, and half our politicans.

The democrat media and democrat policians are just following Chi-Comm orders. How this doesn’t freak most sane people out is as amazing as the depth of the Chi-Comm’s tentacles into our nation.

BierceAmbrose | April 5, 2020 at 10:16 pm

It turns out we don’t care where uninfected people go … any more than usual, anyway.

Maybe figure out how to know who we can leave alone?

it’s like a lot of things, global warming, the press and allies need to up the misery level for everyone, even for states doing the right thing from the start. the biggest problems for example Utah, and Idaho are the areas where outsiders come in, blaine county(I think it has squaw valley ski resort), in utah it’s summit county(park city ski area), and St George. lots of tourist in those areas.

SeekingRationalThought | April 6, 2020 at 9:15 am

If Vanderhei, Ruhle and their ilk did their job, we would know which states had stay at home orders, and how many counties in those states have them. Then, along with the knowledge of the numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, we could arrive at our own opinions of whether the governors are right or wrong. Personally, I don’t care what Ruhle and Vanderhei think. Their trade is to provide me with the facts not their opinions.

Nobody should be surprise the left will try to politicize this issue. And nobody should be surprised that the media & Democrats (one in the same) will now begin a disinformation campaign.

BierceAmbrose | April 6, 2020 at 1:34 pm

With all this “social distancing”, folks who live more spread out suddenly seem pretty smart … can’t have that.

    henrybowman in reply to BierceAmbrose. | April 6, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    Have no fear. Today’s reports include Virginia Democrats filing a state pre-emption law that overrides all suburban single-family zoning in the state to allow high-density public housing. Bye-bye buffer zone, liberals — you voted for it.

BierceAmbrose | April 6, 2020 at 1:38 pm

I predict the articles are already written bemoaning “shortages” in deplorable country because those people are “backward” and “unprepared.”

The fact that their stuff was expropriated, and confiscated will, of course be memory holed.

And we have always been at war with … who, again?

BierceAmbrose | April 6, 2020 at 1:42 pm

I’m not saying Proconsul Cuomo-the-Younger is a fascist.

I am saying there might be a term for someone who’s notion of “government” involves dispatching geared-up enforcers, The Army vs. police, in black helicopters, to raid n loot life-critical gear from the hinterlands.

What are the possibilities?
— Doesn’t see it’s a problem?
— Doesn’t care?
— Actually likes the messaging?

What might the name be for that? Besides “thug” I mean.

BierceAmbrose | April 6, 2020 at 1:47 pm

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy.

Now, I’m not saying some people are of a particular persuasion, and might think a particular way. But

If thing sending thugs to collect respirators is the way to address a pandemic … you might be a fascist.

If you ban guns for the proles, while keeping your security … you might be a fascist.

If you push through legislation granting you extended, vague “emergency” powers … you might be a fascist.

If you declare an emergency to use emergency shenanigans to push through “legislation” you can’t get through the front door … you might be a fascist.

If declaring an emergency so you can push through your pet fig-leaf (SAFE act) worked so well you go do it again with the next crisis … you might be a fascist.


Now, I’m not saying that Proconsul Cuomo-the-Younger borrowed the strategy of orchestrated crisis and emergency response from 20th century Germany’s program elevating the Chancellor over all. Rome in crisis will do as a model. Besides their chariots ran on time.

BierceAmbrose | April 6, 2020 at 1:52 pm

Posse Comitatus Act…

Gov Soprano mobilizes The Frakking Army, for his rousting and appropriation schemes. Why not go through the local cops? Sheriffs? Ask health care point of delivery to pony up if they have spares?

An armed occupation that reports just to him is just what the Ubermensch ordered. And order it he did.