Wednesday, March 04, 2020

A truly serious health situation becomes a political football

Candidates working for a primary or a general election victory in the presidential race naturally chop each other down, and they also highlight what they see as the incumbent’s weaknesses and mistakes. This has reached new heights with President Donald Trump as the “enemy.” Everything he does, from relevant topics to the inane, is targeted by Democrats and their media friends. 

The only thing Trump could do that these folks would approve of would be to resign, or perhaps to drop out of the November election. And then he would be criticized for not doing that the “right way,” either.

Cutting taxes, getting rid of needless and harmful regulations, taking out terrorists who murder American military personnel, and strengthening the position of the United States on the international stage are among the things he’s been recently criticized for. And soon we will likely hear that he wears the wrong color socks and eats too much beef.

The emergence of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has gotten the attention of nearly everybody in the United States and, of course, that includes those running for the Democrat nomination for president.

And not surprisingly, they criticize Trump’s official reaction to the threat of the coronavirus in the U.S. When Democrats claimed that his administration was doing a poor job in addressing the threat, Trump declared those criticisms a “hoax.” Not the virus itself, mind you, but the criticism of his handling of it.

The media then took his comment out of contest and ran off the rails. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote: “Remember this moment: Trump, in South Carolina, just called the coronavirus a ‘hoax.’”

Another media mis-statement, by Politico: “President Donald Trump on Friday night tried to cast the global outbreak of the coronavirus as a liberal conspiracy intended to undermine his first term, lumping it alongside impeachment and the Mueller investigation.”

Both NBC and CBS ran similar misrepresentations of Trump’s comment.

Most Americans do not factcheck what they read and hear from news outlets. They trust them to be accurate and objective. As these examples illustrate, the media often fall short of that expected and needed purpose. Whether by shoddy work or deliberate intent, the result is the same: mis-information gets passed on as accurate news, which many automatically believe. Is that “fake news?”

As previously illustrated, this happens too frequently. Therefore, is the President’s charge that some in the media are “the enemy of the people” really so far-fetched?

And it’s not only the news media that gets things wrong. Candidates for the Democrat nomination also got it wrong. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said, “There’s nobody here to figure out what the hell we should be doing. And he’s defunded — he’s defunded Centers for Disease Control, CDC, so we don’t have the organization we need. This is a very serious thing.”

“We increased the budget of the CDC,” former Vice President Joe Biden said. “We increased the NIH (National Institutes of Health) budget. … He’s wiped all that out. … He cut the funding for the entire effort.”

But dang the luck, both are wrong. Trump is trying to reduce government spending to deal with the budget deficits and the huge national debt, which is badly needed. However, none of the cuts he has called for have been enacted; Congress did not pass them.

The Associated Press factchecked these criticisms, and defended Trump: “He’s proposed cuts but Congress ignored him and increased financing instead. The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren’t suffering from budget cuts that never took effect.”

And just because budget cuts were proposed does not by itself indicate that they would have affected fighting the coronavirus. Further, there is an existing fund that was created specifically for health emergencies.

Trump also has asked for additional funding for fighting the coronavirus, but Congress did not grant the request, saying that more money is needed. If so, would it not make sense to grant the initial request and then pass additional funding, rather than turning down what the loyal opposition claims is critical funding?

As for who is on the job, overseeing the work, which Democrat hopefuls also criticized, the major players are Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, and a respected veteran of previous outbreaks, Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIH’s infectious disease chief who has advised six presidents. 

These doctors provide the medical knowledge needed to protect Americans from this serious threat. And Trump has formed an administrative coronavirus task force to manage the government’s actions.

Trump has assigned Vice President Mike Pence to head the task force, which includes Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, national security adviser Robert O'Brien, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, Department of Homeland Security acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, and Domestic Policy Council Director Joseph Grogan. 

Weaponizing the coronavirus threat into a political issue is both a cheap shot and dangerous. It unnecessarily raises fears among the public where good sense is needed, and it shifts the focus of the Democrat campaign away from the radical political positions the Democrats propose.


Whitesnake said...

It never ceases to amaze me how they can get away with lies, threats and blatantly ignoring the truth let alone facts.

I have noticed that even Hannity, Tucker, etc are always highlighting issues yet nothing is ever done.

(I hear Trump is considering canceling the 2020 election until this virus thing has passed. It could take years.)

James Shott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Shott said...

Many, maybe even most of the American people are too busy, or too lazy, or too unconcerned to closely follow events and politics. So they pick a newspaper or radio station, or TV network to get their news, and automatically believe what they read, see and hear.

The average level of knowledge of what is going on is very low here, these days. It has been moving in that direction for decades, and has reached truly epidemic proportions.

As for much/ most of the media -- the "reporters" -- and "educators," ect., they have forsaken their professional honor and ethics and have become proselytizers who promote a political agenda. They know the only way to achieve their agenda is through lying and cheating.

I never thought that the United States of America would be brought down from within. Mr. Franklin was right: "A republic, if you can keep it."