This Is Not Helpful To Anyone

The Washington Examiner posted an editorial Monday about some recent reporting by the New York Times. The New York Times posted an editorial about the President’s comments and handling of the Wuhan flu that was totally misleading. This is not helpful at a time when the country needs facts that help us work together, not lies that separate us.

The editorial notes:

A New York Times editorial board member has graduated from not understanding basic arithmetic to telling lies on social media about the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The New York Times’s Mara Gay tweeted Monday afternoon, “Trump told governors this morning they are on their own: ‘Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,’ Mr. Trump told the governors during the conference call, a recording of which was shared with The New York Times.”

The editorial at The Washington Examiner notes what was actually said:

President Trump did not tell the governors they are on their own. He told them they can streamline their respective responses by taking specific actions at the state level. He also made sure to tell them they have the support of the White House.

Obviously the message in what was reported is very different than what was actually said.

The editorial at The Washington Examiner concludes:

The note that Gay shared with her more than 72,000 followers includes a link to the New York Times’s collection of live updates on the COVID-19 virus. That collection includes the relevant portion of Trump’s remarks to governors.

It reads: “Mr. Trump told a group of governors that they should not wait for the federal government to fill the growing demand for respirators needed to help people diagnosed with coronavirus.”

Trump told them specifically, “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves.”

“We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves,” he said, according to the New York Times. “Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”

This is nowhere near what Gay’s tweet suggested the president had said to the governors. There is no other way to characterize her tweet than to call it “fake news.” It is intentionally false information, disseminated broadly on social media with the explicit intent of misleading people. The only real difference between Gay’s tweet and the sort of stuff the Russians pumped onto social media during the 2016 presidential election is that Gay is an American citizen.

Fake news in a time of crisis is not only misleading–it is dangerous.