President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
If you’ve been following the media coverage of the Wuhan coronavirus, you’ve probably noticed one of the dumber arguments going on right now. Namely, whether it’s “racist” to label the virus by its origin, in this case, Wuhan, or more broadly, Chinese. Labeling diseases in such a way has been going on for pretty much all of human existence, but Trump is president now and that means standards must change.
On that topic, a CBS News reporter went onto Twitter this morning and made this claim.
This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the “Kung-Flu” to my face. Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) March 17, 2020
This sparked outrage from left-wing Twitter.
You deserve better. We all do.
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) March 17, 2020
*Not serious about handling #coronavirus. Racist in general.
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) March 17, 2020
There are two ways to look at this.
First, is it even true? It sure is convenient that she gets to make this claim to the tune of 213,000 likes (and counting) but hasn’t even named who supposedly did it. Why not just say who made the comment? This doesn’t appear to have been in the course of an interview or some stated off the record interaction. It’s fairly dependent on the person making an accusation like this, which is clearly meant to insinuate racism, to actually provide some evidence. Jiang, at least as of this writing, has refused to do that.
Second, let’s assume it is true. Is it even a big deal? I first saw the “Kung-Flu” joke going around social media about a month ago and no one seemed to think much of it. The idea that it’s some grave act of discrimination if a White House official did utter those words doesn’t pass muster.
Regardless, we know what this is really about. It’s just another entry in the “pointing out that COVID-19 came from China is racist” log that the media have been filling up the past few weeks. After months of them using the same language, they didn’t like that it allowed Trump to rightly place the blame where it belongs. That meant that using terms like Wuhan flu, etc. had to be chastised, so here we are, arguing about semantics in the middle of a global pandemic.
Ladies and gentlemen, your mainstream media at work.