During Sunday night’s 60 Minutes “COVID-19 special” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro had the audacity to push back on host Bill Whitaker’s preceded-by-false-assertion questions, and boy did they try to make him pay for it.
By mid-day Monday “60 Minutes” was trending on Twitter, with the subhead that the show “came with receipts” to shut Navarro down.
The Root took it even further. Their headline makes it racial:
Trump Official Asks Black 60 Minutes Reporter Why They Didn’t Cover Global Pandemics Under Obama. 60 Minutes Pulls Out CVS-Length Receipts
What they pulled out weren’t receipts, and they weren’t complete. For reference, here’s what Navarro said in the episode and what they’re allegedly referring to.
“I challenge you. Show me the 60 Minutes episode a year ago, two years ago, or during the Obama administration, during the Bush administration that said, ‘Hey, global pandemic’s coming, you gotta do X, Y and Z, and, by the way, we gotta shut down the economy to fight it. Show me that episode. Then you’ll have some credence in terms of attacking the Trump administration for not being prepared.’”
Host Bill Whitaker replied that he guaranteed that they had. Here are the allegedly damning “receipts.”
Peter Navarro, the White House official tasked with coordinating national PPE supplies, challenged 60 Minutes to show him our past reporting on pandemics. In 2005, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned 60 Minutes the nation wasn’t prepared for a pandemic. https://t.co/6Vg0pdgICE pic.twitter.com/Rg3LDwvLkI
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 13, 2020
First of all, Navarro didn’t challenge them to show their past reporting on pandemics, as the tweet says.
Secondly, they highlight Dr. Anthony Fauci’s 2005 appearance in the tweet because they know that will get retweets, because they know low-info people will only read the tweet and assume that Fauci’s been telling Trump to “do something” for years and he ignored it, and because it ignores the fact that the clip they include of their reporting during Obama’s H1N1 response shows them fawning over Obama for doing less than what we know the Trump administration is doing.
If 60 Minutes was more interested in getting necessary information to the American public and not mischaracterizing what has happened in the last six months (for instance, not insisting there was an intelligence report warning about the coronavirus when that’s been proven false), we might be able to start healing the deep divisions that are weakening our country. But they’re not interested in that.