Something interesting has happened on the Wuhan virus front over the past few days. The Biden bunch have changed their tune about media coverage. Once the media were loyal little catchfarts and stenographers pushing whatever narrative the Biden White House wanted to put out between sessions of Biden eating boogers.
Biden eats boogers? https://t.co/puO48T5rfV
— Storm Paglia 🇺🇸 (@storm_paglia) July 30, 2021
Somehow they became part of the problem, being needlessly alarmist about the Wuhan virus.
A couple of days ago, the New York Times ran this story, C.D.C. Internal Report Calls Delta Variant as Contagious as Chickenpox.
The Delta variant is much more contagious, more likely to break through protections afforded by the vaccines and may cause more severe disease than all other known versions of the virus, according to an internal presentation circulated within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the agency, acknowledged on Tuesday that vaccinated people with so-called breakthrough infections of the Delta variant carry just as much virus in the nose and throat as unvaccinated people, and may spread it just as readily, if less often.
But the internal document lays out a broader and even grimmer view of the variant.
The Delta variant is more transmissible than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, the seasonal flu and smallpox, and it is as contagious as chickenpox, according to the document, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.
The same day, the Washington Post ran this story; CDC study shows three-fourths of people infected in Massachusetts coronavirus outbreak were vaccinated but few required hospitalization.
A sobering scientific analysis published Friday found that three-quarters of the people infected during an explosive coronavirus outbreak fueled by the delta variant were fully vaccinated. The report on the Massachusetts cases, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers key evidence bolstering the hypothesis that vaccinated people can spread the more transmissible variant and may be a factor in the summer surge of infections.
The data, detailed in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, helped persuade agency scientists to reverse recommendations on mask-wearing and advise that vaccinated individuals wear masks in indoor public settings in some circumstances.
Critically, the study found that vaccinated individuals carried as much virus in their noses as unvaccinated individuals, strongly suggesting that vaccinated people could spread the virus to others. The CDC was criticized this week for changing its mask guidance without publishing the data it relied on. The report released Friday contains some of that data.
Later that day, NBC’s Ken Delanian, who has shifted gears from taking dictation from the CIA and Fusion GPS and finding Russians under every bed, chimed in with his own tiny version of Armageddon.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) July 30, 2021
As we all know by now, the CDC is a collection of amoral hacks who will do or say whatever it takes to push an anti-freedom agenda. Even so, these two stories fell much in line with the Biden bunch’s agenda of shutting down the nation again and making everyone reliant upon federal largesse to live. So a lot of us were more than a little astonished when the head of the White House Wuhan virus rapid response team, Ben Wakana (not to be confused with the mythical country with a similar name), came out swinging. Of the New York Times piece, he said,
VACCINATED PEOPLE DO NOT TRANSMIT THE VIRUS AT THE SAME RATE AS UNVACCINATED PEOPLE AND IF YOU FAIL TO INCLUDE THAT CONTEXT YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. https://t.co/gBkDbJ21xX
— Ben Wakana (@benwakana46) July 30, 2021
He had this to say about the Washington Post story:
3 days ago the CDC made clear that vaccinated individuals represent a VERY SMALL amount of transmission occurring around the country.
Virtually all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated.
Unreal to not put that in context. https://t.co/BbmSNvQlrb
— Ben Wakana (@benwakana46) July 30, 2021
It was a pretty strong dressing down of two key allies that showed they had definitely strayed off the reservation. That this was serious was demonstrated by Tater’s bearded mini-me, Oliver Darcy, tweeting out the party line.
"The media's coverage doesn't match the moment," one Biden official told me. "It has been hyperbolic and frankly irresponsible in a way that hardens vaccine hesitancy. The biggest problem we have is unvaccinated people getting and spreading the virus.” https://t.co/3gp54GTje7
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) July 31, 2021
It drew the notice of our own Jeff Charles (see Biden Administration and Activist Media Just Had an Epic Lovers’ Quarrel) and of Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald is pretty much a traditional anti-American leftist with libertarian tendencies. On the Wuhan pandemic, he has been instrumental in using his platform to call out bullsh**.
Super interesting: the WH's COVID response official, @benwakana46, is vocally slamming both the NYT and the WashPost over the last two hours for alarmism and sensationalism about the danger of the Delta variant for vaccinated people and their propensity to spread the virus: pic.twitter.com/U0FRxjqtfa
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 30, 2021
Some brushed aside the contretemps as nothing more than theater.
I truly believe the NYT and WaPo spun those stories on the "leaked" CDC report the exact way the CDC wanted them to. https://t.co/5F8s1XcHDt
— Greg Pollowitz (@GPollowitz) July 31, 2021
While I might agree with that somewhat, the question becomes: why would the CDC encourage such alarmist crap and why would the media, who certainly know what the Biden bunch is trying to accomplish, run stories that make accomplishing their goals more difficult?
I think part of the answer lies with the media increasingly seeing itself as a power center rather than a medium. In other words, they believe they are uniquely qualified to shape public opinion. They believe their agenda is superior to that of either party. And they believe the GOP and its adherents are evil and must be destroyed. For instance, this from the Washington Post, Our democracy is under attack. Washington journalists must stop covering it like politics as usual.
Back in the dark ages of 2012, two think-tank scholars, Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, wrote a book titled “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks” about the rise of Republican Party extremism and its dire effect on American democracy.
In a related op-ed piece, these writers made a damning statement about Washington press coverage, which treats the two parties as roughly equal and everything they do as deserving of similar coverage.
Ornstein and Mann didn’t use the now-in-vogue terms “both-sidesism” or “false equivalence,” but they laid out the problem with devastating clarity (the italics are mine):
“We understand the values of mainstream journalists, including the effort to report both sides of a story. But a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality. If the political dynamics of Washington are unlikely to change any time soon, at least we should change the way that reality is portrayed to the public.”
Nearly a decade later, this distortion of reality has only grown worse, thanks in part to Donald Trump’s rise to power and his ironclad grip on an increasingly craven Republican Party.
The writer, a “media columnist,” goes on.
There is a way out. But it requires the leadership of news organizations to radically reframe the mission of its Washington coverage. As a possible starting point, I’ll offer these recommendations:
Toss out the insidious “inside-politics” frame and replace it with a “pro-democracy” frame.
Stop calling the reporters who cover this stuff “political reporters.” Start calling them “government reporters.”
Stop asking who the winners and losers were in the latest skirmish. Start asking who is serving the democracy and who is undermining it.
Stop being “savvy” and start being patriotic.
In a year-end piece for Nieman Lab, Andrew Donohue, managing editor of the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal, called for news organizations to put reporters on a new-style “democracy beat” to focus on voting suppression and redistricting. “These reporters won’t see their work in terms of politics or parties, but instead through the lens of honesty, fairness, and transparency,” he wrote.
I’d make it more sweeping. The democracy beat shouldn’t be some kind of specialized innovation, but a widespread rethinking across the mainstream media.
What she’s advocating is the equivalent of Critical Race Theory applied to the media. Reporting must be done through the lens of institutional prerogatives and what a bunch of J-School grads thinks is good for “democracy.” She’s calling for the media to become weaponized against conservatives and the GOP. The day after this article appeared, the New York Times reporter covering the US Department of Justice, Katie Benner, tweeted that the GOP and conservatives were now a national security risk and should be considered ‘enemies of the state,’ with all that implies (Read my post of the same name). Gee, where have we heard that term before?
My assessment is that the Biden bunch has lost control of the narrative. They were trying to use panic to increase vaccination rates as well as keep a degree of control over the economy and Americans by use of executive orders and administrative action. They are keenly aware of what another lockdown would mean, and the economic bill would come due just as the 2022 election was in full swing. On the other hand, the media are more Great Reset types who would love to see Universal Basic Income, free housing, free childcare, and free whatever implemented. They see a perpetual state of fear as a way of doing that. I think that right now, the media are playing to their own agenda and are muddying the waters around the Biden bunch’s messaging.
Alternatively, this bunch is just not very good at what they do (read the whole thread), and the bill for their incompetence is coming due.
I did political messaging at a very high level. This would be a catastrophic failure in every way.
This is what happens when
people with no clue how political messaging works try to suggest messaging to the Vaccine hesitant.
— Wokal Distance (@wokal_distance) August 1, 2021