Author Topic: A grave injustice......  (Read 78 times)

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Online Garden House Queen

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A grave injustice......
« on: May 22, 2020, 05:25:37 PM »
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 05:27:23 PM by Garden House Queen »

Online notoc

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Re: A grave injustice......
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2020, 05:58:15 AM »
A grave injustice

As Donald Trump agitates for the US to reopen, the American right appears to have found a novel way to deal with the rising coronavirus death toll: deny it altogether.

Top Trump officials, huddled in the White House, itself the subject of a coronavirus outbreak, have according to reports begun questioning the number of deaths – and the president is among the skeptics.

It’s a handy thought process for an administration desperate to send Americans back to work even as deaths from the virus rise each day, with marked surges in some traditionally Republican states.

Trump is said to be coming round to the idea, pushed in the rightwing media for weeks, that hospitals, coroners and medical professionals across the US have been mislabelling deaths.

As far back as early April, Fox News personalities were casting doubt on the number of people who had succumbed to Covid-19. Senior political analyst Brit Hume led the charge, suggesting fatalities in New York City – the worst-hit area in the country – were “inflated” because the city did not “distinguish between those who die with the disease and those who die from it”. Hume retweeted a chart showing that many people who died had pre-existing conditions.

Hume repeated the claim on Tucker Carlson’s show. He appeared to convince Carlson, who suggested “there may be reasons that people seek an inaccurate death count” and added: “When journalists work with numbers, there sometimes is an agenda, unfortunately.”

Trump is said to be questioning whether the death toll is lower than officially stated. He has stopped short of saying so in public, but in April he retweeted a man who mused of Democrats: “Do you really think these lunatics wouldn’t inflate the mortality rates by underreporting the infection rates in an attempt to steal the election?”

Trump has consistently under-predicted how many people will die from the virus. In February he said there would soon be “close to zero” cases. On 20 April, he suggested “50 to 60,000” could die. The US passed that figure nine days later. More than 85,000 have now died.

In fact, epidemiologists including Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top public health expert, say more people have died from coronavirus than has been reported.

But it’s a struggle to find similar perspectives in the rightwing media upon which many Americans rely.

At the start of May, the Fox News host Laura Ingraham criticized the addition of presumptive coronavirus deaths to the official tolls. “Ahh, retrospectively adding deaths to the Covid count,” she said. “No issues there, I’m sure. No issues with accuracy.”

Worryingly, the disinformation push seems to be working. An Axios-Ipsos poll found that the death toll has become a political issue, 40% of Republicans believing fewer Americans are dying from coronavirus than the official toll says.

A separate study, published at the end of April, revealed the stark consequences of prominent figures underplaying the impact of Covid-19. A group of researchers tracked the spread of coronavirus among viewers of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, after Hannity spent weeks downplaying the threat.

“Greater exposure to Hannity,” the researchers wrote, “leads to a greater number of Covid-19 cases and deaths.”