Covid Coverage Cherry-Picking

July 01, 2020  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Townhall  ·  Coronavirus

This is second in a series.

This is a game that’s been going on since the earliest days of the COVID-19 outbreak. Since we’re (correctly) under the impression that it’s overwhelmingly a disease of the elderly who also have pre-existing conditions, notwithstanding claims that it’s “posing a universal risk,” the MSM sees it as a solemn obligation to find outliers and twist numbers. It ghoulishly crawls through obits to find someone, anyone who doesn’t fit that category. And beyond. The New York Times wrote of a 27-year-old “COVID-19 death” on its front page. The guy was murdered. Far from his young age being a red flag, it made it too priceless for fact-checking. And, no, he hadn’t even tested positive for COVID-19, as has been the excuse for listing other homicide victims and, infamously, the death of a man who died of alcohol poisoning.

This has been a popular game dating back to the fake “Heterosexual AIDS breakout" when again obits were combed for non-gay, non-drug using victims who, it so often turned out, were either gay or drug-users. When John C. Holmes, the, um, very well-endowed porn star had become a straight cause célèbre for the dangers of “straight sex” in the porn industry, I went to a porno shop and saw a videotape movie box showing him having anal sex – on the receiving end.

We also saw lots of attention given to, as a Washington Post headline put it, “Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying of strokes.” Turns out it was essentially based on a study comprising five (5) people. A later wider analysis concluded (translated from Spanish) “Stroke does not appear to be a major manifestation of Covid-19.)
As testing has expanded from the clearly sick to persons with no symptoms, we’re getting more headlines like: “Coronavirus is infecting more young people in their 20s and 30s.... ” Right. That’s the way it works.

And the game continues. Now the Florida Sun-Sentinel breathlessly informs us that two people who tested positive for COVID-19 have appendicitis. With “only” 250,000 Americans getting that disease annually and 2.3 million positive for coronavirus, it cannot possibly be sheer overlap.

Social distance shaming is also all the rage (in fact, perhaps the only shaming still allowed), as evidenced by media reaction to young people going on spring break as per the “old normal.” And again, the schadenfreude articles. “As Florida coronavirus cases surge, spring breakers express regret,” as one headline put it. Well, at least three they tracked down who gave them the responses they wanted. That’s approximately zero percent of spring breakers – give or take. And for all we or they know, they would have caught COVID-19 at home. The swab test, despite what you might be led to think, doesn’t track the source of infection.

Many of the articles are schadenfreude to the point of stupid, such as blaming a spike in Texas cases a mere day after re-opening. Some are comical, such as The New York Times: “Florida Smirked at New York’s Virus Crisis. Now It Has Its Own,” which is essentially smirking at smirking and while we know newspaper editors can smirk, it seems undecided as to whether a state can.

Others are just plain wicked, such as that carried by NBC News: “Ohio man who disparaged lockdown measures on Facebook dies of coronavirus.” This case was also celebrated by the inimitably obnoxious Piers Morgan, who tweeted: “Let his death be a warning to everyone else who wants to be ‘living our lives’ & ignore lockdowns - it may END your life.” Well, most of us don’t get paid a fortune to do studio broadcasts, have suits each worth more than a working man’s monthly salary, and can’t afford to travel alone in a limo. A lot of us need to do what the poor guy said on social media and get on with our lives even at the minute risk of getting COVID-19.

In fact, we were told this was a “second wave” of COVID-19 – way back in April! But no, the profile of coronavirus victims hasn’t changed. It’s still the elderly with comorbid conditions. In fact, we can narrow it even more than that. A study has found that an incredible 43% of all COVID-19 deaths are occurring in nursing facilities that house only 0.62% of the U.S. population. Not too many spring breakers among them.

Nor do the media restrict itself to the 50 states. It searches abroad for 2nd waves as well, when it’s not “Swede-shaming” for that country not locking down in the first place. (See my article, “Media Enraged that More Swedes Aren’t Dying.”) The Philippines where I live is one example, with CNN using the term “2nd wave” in the title of a news story. Nah. Cases jumped at the end of May when testing became widely available and have stayed pretty constant since then as testing has increased.

But perhaps because of its historical connections the U.S. combined with its great distance, the Philippines makes a great source of American pandemic porn. Vice.com ran the article “Scenes from a Philippine Hospital Overflowing with Coronavirus Patients,” in which there was only one photo that even pretended to show any such thing. A huge picture, it showed younger-to-middle aged people waiting for assistance with bandaged legs, bandaged feet, and so on. They weren’t COVID-19 patients at all; they just all were wearing masks as per orders. Overall, the country has a mere death rate of 11 per million compared to 369 per million for the U.S. At least in real porn, they may be actors, but it’s real sex.