You know, if you are going to bill yourself as a straight talking, unbiased reporter, perhaps not falling into obviously untrue tropes would be prudent. But such advice is only useful to those not looking to push false narratives. Jake Tapper isn’t one of those people.
The CNN reporter interviewed HHS Secretary Alex Azar this morning and attempted to assert that the United States’ reponse to the Wuhan virus has been uniquely bad. He interrupts at one point to say that “it’s worse for us than it is for anyone else.”
Azar wasn’t going to let that falsehood stand.
Azar points to U.S. case fatality rates, which are much lower than several European countries. pic.twitter.com/HGO95qTkw4
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 17, 2020
After Azar points out that our mortality rates are lower than many other first world countries, Tapper goes back to the well of emotion to say “but what about the dead bodies,” as if that’s a counter factual or something.
Eventually, realizing he’s got nowhere left to go, Tapper then accuses Azar of “blaming the American people” for their own deaths because it was pointed out that the United States has much higher rates of obesity and other factors. Those leave us at a higher risk for complications compared to many other countries. That’s a perfectly reasonable statement that acknowledges the facts on the ground. We are a prosperous nation, but that doesn’t mean we are invincible, and certainly high rates of diabetes and lung disease, for example, put more people in the danger zone if they contract the virus.
That second attempt at a gotcha moment didn’t work, with Azar asking Tapper to not distort what he said and saying that “he (Tapper) knows” exactly what he’s actually saying. That’s correct. Tapper is not an idiot. Trying to spin Azar’s scientifically based comments about risk factors into him blaming Americans for their own deaths was a disgusting show of bias.
Going back to the claim that we are somehow doing worse than any other country, Tapper is well aware of what the per capita metrics are. How do I know? Because he’s one of the media figures who had previously lectured the administration for citing total test numbers instead of per capita in the past. But when per capita figures aren’t convenient to his narrative, he’s suddenly all about absolute numbers. It’s so transparent.
Azar handled himself well here, coming across as a man who knows his facts and can articulate them in the face of hostility. Good for him for pushing back against this nonsense.