It should not be this easy for Chinese Communist Party propaganda to make its way into major American newsrooms.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, which Chinese lies ensured would become a pandemic, American news media have promoted a number of Beijing-approved talking points, including the one that alleges it is racist to refer to the virus by its country and city of origin. American news media have also accepted at face value a series of dubious claims pushed by Chinese communist apparatchiks, including the absurd boast that China's new case numbers have remained essentially flat since late February.
"[The] U.S. has more known cases of coronavirus than any other country," CNN reported on March 26, its declaration coming in unison with nearly every major news outlet in the United States.
The CNN report, which was published shortly after pandemic trackers placed the number of coronavirus cases in America at more than 85,000, claimed the "U.S. cases piled up ... surpassing China and Italy."
The coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. is indeed a serious crisis, one that has been made all the worse by the sluggish, incompetent, and chaotic response by the federal government. But it is extremely unlikely that the number of cases in China has essentially flatlined for the past five weeks.
That is, the U.S. is "No. 1" only if you believe the numbers reported by China, which you should not. Pandemic trackers work with the data provided, and the data provided by Beijing is unbelievable. Chinese officials claim new coronavirus cases have increased by only 1,782 since late February. There is simply no way that this is true, especially considering China itself reported new cases jumped from 920 to 80,000 between Jan. 23 and Feb. 29.
The trajectory is also not consistent with other countries that have seen a leveling off of cases. The deceleration in South Korea, for instance, has been much more gradual.
But the obvious red flags regarding China's reported data did not slow American newsrooms from declaring the U.S. the leader in reported coronavirus cases without caveats.
This is not the only example of western news media hailing China's allegedly successful campaign to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Earlier, even before the U.S. had even supposedly passed the case number milestone, the New York Times published a report on March 18 titled "Its Coronavirus Cases Dwindling, China Turns Focus Outward."
The article, the chief claim of which has been repeated elsewhere by the New York Times, Bloomberg, and NBC News, goes to great lengths to cast China as a thoughtful, meticulous, proactive, and responsible world leader, one whose contributions to fighting the pandemic have made it a more reliable and responsible superpower compared to the U.S. The New York Times article repeats the Chinese Communist Party's claim that China's daily coronavirus cases have dwindled "into the single digits."
No attempt is made to verify these numbers.
Earlier than even this New York Times report, Chuck Todd, host of NBC News's Meet the Press, on March 8 hailed China's supposed success in tackling the virus, asking whether the Chinese Communist Party's style of despotic governance deserves all the credit.
"How uncomfortable is it," Todd asked, echoing the sentiments of others in Western media, "that perhaps China's authoritarian ways did prevent this? Meaning, had China been a free and open society, this might have spread faster?"
The U.S. intelligence community determined last week that China has underreported both the total number of coronavirus cases and deaths, all of it in an attempt to conceal the full extent of the pandemic in its country.
Early on, China silenced doctors who raised alarms about the virus, denied access to foreign scientists who could have studied the virus, and falsely claimed that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
NBC breathlessly reported, "As the U.S. struggles to stem coronavirus, China asserts itself as global leader" on efforts by China to provide help to other countries. But the reality is that China has delivered faulty equipment around the world. In the Netherlands, the health ministry recalled 600,000 Chinese manufactured face masks despite their desperate need for medical equipment after their filters did not work properly, and they did not fit. Spain purchased hundreds of thousands of tests from China, only to learn that at least 60,000 did not work.
The American press's readiness to treat reports out of Beijing with little, if any, skepticism comes as actual Chinese communist propaganda videos cite members of the free press in conjunction with its broader, hyperaggressive effort to avoid blame for creating the coronavirus pandemic.
Whether they know it or not, the journalists who claim it is problematic to refer to the virus by its country and city of origin, and the ones who claim China has the pandemic mostly under control, and who praise China's efforts to help other countries are doing the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party, which is eager both to present itself as the world's leading superpower and scrub from the record its culpability in the spread of the virus.
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