Media Bias on Display: A Tale of Two Governors and COVID

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks after being sworn in as the state's 57th governor following the resignation of Eric Greitens Friday, June 1, 2018, in Jefferson City, Mo. Parson moved from lieutenant governor to governor after Greitens stepped down Friday amid investigations of his political and personal life.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

 

Earlier this week, Missouri Governor Mike Parson and his wife, Teresa, announced that they had both tested positive for coronavirus.

As reported by the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

In a brief recorded statement, Parson said his wife was tested Wednesday morning after experiencing mild, coldlike symptoms; he then was tested despite not having any symptoms. A second test confirmed the first lady’s diagnosis; the governor said he was awaiting the results of a second test.

Parson posted an update to his Twitter feed on Friday evening:

Thankfully, the Governor and First Lady are doing fairly well so far — she has mild symptoms, he has none.

Just two days later, it was announced that the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, and his wife had also tested positive for coronavirus. As reported by the local NBC affiliate:

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife, Pamela, have tested positive for COVID-19, the governor’s office said Friday morning.

Gov. Northam has no symptoms and First Lady Pamela Northam currently is experiencing mild symptoms, according to a press release.

 

Thus, the Governors find themselves in quite similar situations — tested positive, no symptoms, First Ladies have mild symptoms. Hopefully, they all come through with mild or no symptoms and make speedy recoveries.

It’s interesting to note, however, the difference in how the two — virtually identical — situations were reported in the national media. As noted by Governor Parson’s Campaign Manager, Steele Shippy, the agenda was on full display:

That’s right. Even though both Governors (Northam, 61, and Parson, 65) tested positive within days of each other, but are exhibiting no symptoms while their wives have mild symptoms, the AP and WaPo went out of their way to emphasize that Parson has opposed a statewide mask mandate.

As if his contracting the virus were somehow karma for his stance on the issue.

So, then, how would they explain Northam, who has insisted on a mask mandate, contracting that very same virus? Does make one wonder, doesn’t it?

While we’re at it, let’s take a quick side-by-side look at Missouri and Virginia and see how they’re faring in the pandemic:

  • Virginia shut down March 30 and began reopening — in phases — on May 15; Missouri shut down April 6 and began reopening  May 4
  • Virginia has a statewide mask mandate; Missouri does not
  • Virginia’s population is 8,535,519*; Missouri’s is 6,137,428
  • Virginia currently has 144,433 COVID-19 “cases” (positive tests), placing it 15th among the states; Missouri has 124,065, placing it 19th
  • Virginia has 16,921 cases per million people, placing it 33rd; Missouri has 20,214, placing it 27th
  • Virginia has 3,136 deaths attributed to COVID-19, placing it 19th; Missouri has 2,127, placing it 23rd
  • Virginia has 367 deaths per million people, placing it 27th; Missouri has 347, placing it 30th

*Stats obtained from Worldometers.

In other words, despite having more stringent measures in place (longer duration of stay-at-home order, statewide mask mandate), Virginia is faring no better than Missouri in terms of its COVID-19 stats. In fact, in all but one category (cases per million persons), Virginia is faring worse.

Yet the national news media thought it imperative to note — in their headlines — that Missouri’s Governor hasn’t insisted on a statewide mask mandate. Why, it’s almost as if they’re attempting to shape a narrative, rather than report the news. Who’da thunk?

Despite the media’s attempt at spin, Governor Parson was quick to extend well wishes to Governor Northam and his wife and, to his credit, Governor Northam reciprocated the sentiment: