A Better Way To Respond To The Media

August 6, 2020 |

Many Trump supporters are frustrated that the President seemed unprepared for some of the tough questions about the US coronavirus response in his Axios interview with Jonathan Swan. So he might want to take a cue from Matt Margolis at PJ Media, who has some advice for him on how to explain it in clearer terms.

Margolis points out that in comparing the US negatively to Germany and South Korea in terms of deaths per million, Swan cherry-picked two nations but left out a lot of others. In fact, the US is not #1 in deaths per million, but tenth.

Also, the US isn’t a small, homogenous nation with one all-powerful central government; it’s a collection of 50 states that the federal government can only offer aid and advice to as they make their own local decisions, and with Constitutional rights for individuals that must be accommodated (even if they are trampled in some blue states.) Because of that, many of the COVID-19 deaths have been in a small handful of Northeastern blue states. If you lifted New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and DC out and lumped them together as if they were a nation, they would lead the world in deaths per 100,000, while the entire remaining states together would come in 18th.

Liberal media outlets would like us to believe that Trump is somehow responsible for the bad decisions made by local Democratic officials, like forcing nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients. Trump didn’t run the New York State or City response to the virus, but he did insure that the predicted deadly shortages of ventilators and hospital rooms (remember that scare story?) never materialized.

If Swan wants to know who was in charge of the response in New York, maybe he should interview New York City’s Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. Wait, I’m sorry: she’s now the former Health Commissioner. She just resigned and blasted Mayor DeBlasio on her way out the door. She wrote, “I leave my post today with deep disappointment that during the most critical public health crisis in our lifetime, that the health department’s incomparable disease control expertise was not used to the degree it could have been.” There had been longstanding conflicts between her and DeBlasio, who said he needs team players: “It had been clear in recent days that it was time for a change. We need an atmosphere of unity. We need an atmosphere of common purpose.” (Can you imagine the media's reaction if Dr. Fauci had resigned and blasted Trump, and he replied that he needed team players?)

Please note that I’m not even going to comment on which side is right here. I may think that DeBlasio has done a terrible job, but that doesn’t mean that he should have done whatever Dr. Barbot said. Way back in April, when there were reports of dust-ups between Trump and Fauci, I said I wouldn’t be surprised, since they both have different jobs. Fauci has only the health issue to deal with, and if he thinks we could prevent even only COVID-19 death by shutting down the economy for two years, he might think it’s worth it. But Trump is more like a general overseeing a battlefield: he has to consider all the ramifications and unintended consequences; he can’t focus solely on one platoon if it’s going to cost him the war in the long run.

We have pandemics all the time (remember swine flu in 2009?), but we can’t shut down the world for a year or more until we develop a vaccine for all of them. Maybe DeBlasio thought he was protecting both New York’s health and its economy. He simply failed on both counts.

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