Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘racist’ claim against Amazon goes unnoticed by mainstream media

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) criticized Amazon’s public relations campaign as “racist & classist,” but her tweet was not met with much mainstream media coverage. Fox News and the New York Post were the sole major media outlets which covered her comments.

“Amazon’s attempt to smear Chris Smalls, one of their own warehouse workers, as “not smart or articulate” is a racist & classist PR campaign,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “If execs are as concerned abt worker health & safety as they claim, then they should provide the full paid sick leave ALL workers deserve.”

Ocasio-Cortez was citing a Vice story, which published parts of a leaked Amazon memo on striking warehouse workers in Staten Island.

In the memo, Amazon’s general counsel David Zapolsky said that the leading striker, Christian Smalls, was “not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position than simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers.”

Workers, led by Smalls, walked out of Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse to protest working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.

An Amazon spokesperson disputed Ocasio-Cortez’s claims.

“That’s not true. In fact, Mr. Zapolsky didn’t even know the race of the person at the time he made his comments,” said the spokesperson.

Fox News and the New York Post reported on Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet, but no other mainstream media outlet acknowledged Ocasio-Cortez’s claims. The mainstream media, outside of Fox News, ignores many of Ocasio-Cortez’s false claims. For example, CNN’s Jake Tapper did not fact-check her claim that Trump called the coronavirus a “hoax” during an live CNN interview. The mainstream media also did not correct Ocasio-Cortez when she made erroneous claims about Amazon’s tax liabilities last week. The media must do a better job of fact-checking Ocasio-Cortez as she is a potentially-emerging leader in the Democratic Party and garners grassroots support within her party.

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Author: Spencer Irvine


NBC News speculates Stacey Abrams would have been a better Georgia governor

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told reporters that he recently learned asymptomatic individuals could spread the coronavirus, which led to widespread criticism from the press. NBC News joined the choir of critics and speculated that his election opponent, Stacey Abrams, would have been a better governor than Kemp.

“This virus is now transmitting before people see signs,” Kemp said in a news conference this week. “We didn’t know that until the last 24 hours.” NBC News noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is based in Atlanta, warned the public that asymptomatic people could spread the coronavirus in mid-February.

The news outlet quoted multiple Twitter users and their speculation that Abrams would have been a more informed and better governor. One of the quoted users was Brittany Packnett Cunningham, who has worked in the progressive grassroots movement and is not an impartial source of political opinion.

Kemp should have known the contagious nature of the coronavirus long before this week’s press conference when he announced a stay-in-place order for Georgia residents. But it was unfair for NBC News to speculate whether his election opponent would have been a better governor because it is purely speculative and tough to prove. Also, the news outlet cited several Twitter users as the basis for its article, which is not a solid factual foundation for a news report.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

New media narrative: Biden is beating Trump

The mainstream media openly wondered if former vice president and Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden was doing enough to remain visible to the American public during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, NBC News changed its narrative and claimed that Biden is winning the rhetorical political battle during the pandemic.

NBC News said that Biden’s “less bombastic approach,” when compared to Trump’s “attack-at-all-times philosophy,” helps Biden promote “himself as an antidote to the chaos of the Trump era.” “The subtle conceit is that Trump is his own worst enemy, a modern-day Herbert Hoover, whose presidency will collapse under its own weight,” the news outlet wrote. “If that’s the case, Biden needs only to point out how he would do things differently and avoid being perceived as an additional burden on an overwhelmed president.”

Biden’s “tamer approach,” according to NBC News’s Democratic Party sources, is the right strategy during the coronavirus pandemic. NBC News added that Biden “seems happy” to let party officials and Trump use stronger language and “more aggressive tack” in public.

Contrast the media’s spin on Biden’s virtual-based campaign this week to last week’s Biden coverage, when as recently as last week, NBC News headlined Biden’s visibility struggles, “Still buffering? Biden works to boost visibility as nation confronts coronavirus pandemic.” The news outlet noted that the “entirely virtual campaign…has presented unique challenges” for Biden. NBC News also wrote that Biden’s campaign was criticized “over seeming to recede into the background at a critical juncture” during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Biden campaign then told NBC News of the “steep learning curve” to transition to digital in a short timeframe. It took the campaign six days to debut a live stream of Biden’s new home-based studio in his Delaware home.

NBC News changed its narrative about Biden’s campaign during the coronavirus pandemic within a week’s time, which narrative could not be proven or disproven. It is purely speculative to assert that Biden’s less aggressive strategy is the right move and to only quote Biden’s supporters. The news outlet should have interviewed Republican and nonpartisan sources for its story, and also included poll numbers that demonstrated Americans’ growing trust of Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Instead, NBC News stuck to a pro-Biden narrative, despite lingering questions about Biden’s public visibility during the pandemic.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

Media ignores Biden’s ‘Luhan’ gaffe

Former vice president and Democratic Party primary frontrunner Joe Biden is prone to making public gaffes and quips that do not paint a favorable picture of the candidate. It is time to add another gaffe to Biden’s growing list of them: misnaming the Chinese city that was the coronavirus’s epicenter.

“I suggested we should have people in China at the outset of this event when it all started — in Luhan province,” Biden said. For the record, there is no “Luhan province” in China and Biden most likely tried to refer to the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The mainstream media ignored this recent gaffe, either due to its bias or the wall-to-wall coronavirus news coverage. Right-leaning media outlets reported on the gaffe, such as the Washington Examiner and New York Post, but none of the mainstream media outlets mentioned the gaffe.

Meanwhile, the media continues to fact-check Trump’s press briefings on the coronavirus and has not devoted much time or attention to covering Biden’s teleprompter issues, gaffes, and other Biden campaign-related news. For example, BuzzFeed News, as recently as a day ago, asked, “Where is Joe Biden?” The website could have taken the time to report on Biden’s “Luhan” gaffe, but chose not to.

The mainstream media ignores Biden’s gaffes and many Biden-related news during the coronavirus crisis, which is understandable. However, if the media can devote time and attention to fact-checking Trump, it should do the same with Biden.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

White House correspondents boot right-wing network from briefings

The White House Correspondents Association officially booted right-leaning One American News Network from live White House press briefings due to several violations of social distancing guidelines, but it also masked the press’ disdain for OAN’s reporting.

“We are writing to inform you that the WHCA Board has voted this evening to remove a news outlet from the rotation for a seat in the briefing room,” the WHCA said. “We did this because a reporter for this outlet twice attended press briefings in contravention of this policy. We do not take this action lightly. This is a matter of public safety.”

The WHCA did not name OAN or its correspondent Chanel Rion directly, but media outlets confirmed that Rion violated social distancing guidelines on multiple occasions.

Although it was fair for the WHCA to kick out OAN from the seating rotation in the press briefing room in the White House, the incident also highlighted the media’s disdain for OAN and right-leaning news coverage. Politico called OAN and Rion “the fringe conservative cable channel” and said that Rion “has most recently been panned for her line of questioning” at recent press briefings. The Daily Beast also reported a week ago that Rion “asks incredibly bonkers softball question” during a press briefing.

Compared to Politico, Fox News did not inject criticism of OAN into its reporting and pointed out that Rion was seen violating social distancing guidelines.

OAN and Rion should adhere to the social distancing guidelines that the WHCA implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among the press and it should learn from this experience. However, the media took the news as an opportunity to criticize the right-leaning network and undermine its credibility and legitimacy.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

Michigan governor reverses course on chloroquine

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reversed her position on potential coronavirus cure chloroquine after her administration advised patients, doctors and pharmacies to avoid stockpiling the antimalarial drugs.

But the mainstream media ignored her administration’s about-face and her announcement that Michigan is “pursuing a request” to receive more chloroquine from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile.

Last week, Whitmer sent a letter that warned doctors of potential “administrative action” against any person who prescribed the drugs to treat coronavirus patients, according to Detroit’s Metro Times. But this week, an administration official told the Michigan-based Bridge Magazine about the state’s request for more chloroquine drugs.

Right-leaning media outlets covered Whitmer’s policy reversal, such as Fox News, the Washington Times and the Washington Examiner.

But none of the mainstream media outlets highlighted Whitmer’s hypocrisy, after publishing articles and analyses critical of President Donald Trump’s public spat with Whitmer. Last week, Trump called Whitmer the “young, a woman governor” and claimed, “all she does is sit there and blame the federal government.”

Yet CNN reported that Whitmer “takes on Trump as coronavirus cases rise in Michigan,” but has not published an update on Whitmer’s reversal on chloroquine.

The mainstream media should not cherry-pick or hand-select which politicians to cover, as in the case of Whitmer. They highlighted her response to Trump’s criticism but did not follow up and report on Whitmer’s policy reversal.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

CNN admits study shows lower coronavirus death rate than the media’s reports

A recent study exposed the mainstream media’s false narrative: the coronavirus death rate is not as high as the media portrays it to be. Published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal, researchers found that about 0.66% of infected patients will die, far lower than the media’s reports of two-to-four-percent.

CNN headlined the study’s findings, “Coronavirus death rate is lower than previously reported, study says, but it’s still deadlier than seasonal flu,” and found multiple ways to favorably portray their coronavirus coverage. For example, CNN reiterated three times that the coronavirus is more deadly than the flu.

CNN’s article also pointed out, “When undetected infections aren’t taken into account, the Lancet study found that the coronavirus death rate was 1.38%, which is more consistent with earlier reports.” Many media reports either ignored or downplayed fatality rates in favor of the overall number of infections and deaths.

It is clear that the mainstream media understands that its news coverage contradicted the available data and that it should not be hyping the death counts as much as it has been. But the mainstream media has not changed its misleading headlines and news coverage despite the data contradicting its narrative.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

NBC News blasts Christian group behind Central Park field hospital over religious beliefs

NBC News criticized an evangelical Christian group for its religious beliefs while the group set up a field hospital in New York City’s Central Park.

Samaritan’s Purse, an organization run by Franklin Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, will staff between 60 and 70 medical professionals to help treat patients infected with the coronavirus.

The facility will have 68 beds for patients and Samaritan’s Purse’s stated mission is to provide “physical relief and the Gospel to hurting people around the world.” Some of the group’s projects include providing food, clean water, shelter, and medicine to impoverished or struggling regions of the world. The group previously sent teams to help the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the Ebola outbreak.

NBC News headlined its criticism, “Group behind Central Park’s COVID-19 field hospital run by antigay evangelist.” But the news outlet’s treatment of Samaritan’s Purse highlighted the mainstream media’s hypocrisy when it comes to coverage of conservative religious groups.

For example, NBC News blamed Orthodox Jews for gentrification and resulting anti-Jewish sentiments in parts of New York City.

The news outlet reached out to Graham for comment on the group’s Statement of Faith, which included pro-life and traditional marriage statements. “Samaritan’s Purse treats everyone we help the same,” Graham said, “We do not make distinctions about an individual’s religion, race, sexual orientation, or economic status.” He added, “We certainly do not discriminate, and we have a decades-long track record that confirms just that.” Graham told NBC News, “This is a time for all of us to unite and work together, regardless of our political views. Let’s support one another during this crisis, and we pray that God will bless the efforts of all those battling this vicious virus.”

Statements of faith in Christian organizations are not unique; several Christian-based organizations require their employees to acknowledge and live by these Christian tenets. NBC News should understand that this is nothing new for Christian organizations, but it demonstrated its lack of cultural knowledge by highlighting these statements of faith.

Even though Graham confirmed that there will be no discrimination at the facility, NBC News quoted a New York state lawmaker, who said it was “a shame that the federal government has left us in the position of having to accept charity from such bigots.” The article then outlined Graham’s past controversial statements on family and gender to reinforce its criticism.

NBC News did not demonstrate the understanding that although some Christians like Graham disagree with society’s standards on family and gender, their beliefs do not prevent Christians from helping others. It presented Graham’s beliefs as all-or-nothing, which was not the case as Graham reiterated that Samaritan’s Purse will not discriminate between patients.

Also, it was unclear what NBC News’s goal was, whether to shame Samaritan’s Purse or Graham to publicly apologize for their beliefs or close the field hospital. Instead, the article negatively portrayed the organization’s efforts to help coronavirus patients and it detracted from their mission to nurse patients back to health.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

CNN’s Cupp blasts Trump for criticizing reporters

CNN anchor S.E. Cupp took to Twitter to express her latest opinion on President Donald Trump’s repeated criticism of the media’s reporting on the coronavirus.

“When Trump attacks the media, he wants you to hate people like me,” Cupp tweeted. “I’m fine with that. But the “media” is also thousands of reporters on the frontlines of THIS crisis and others, in war zones, refugee crises, genocides, and now COVID. Please don’t take your politics out on them.”

Cupp, who was a darling of conservatives in the late 2000s, has not hidden her disdain for Trump.

Trump has been critical of the media’s reporting of his administration — CNN in particular — but he said he does not hate the media, he just hates inaccurate and biased reporting of him and his policies.

As Cupp notes, the media is on the frontlines of this crisis, but they have largely focused on the negative aspects rather than search for positive news which Americans need to hear. For example, when the U.S. officially overtook China with the most confirmed COVID-19 confirmed cases the media rushed to report the news without any context as to the increased testing and the overall lower infection and death rates compared to European countries that were truly struggling to contain the virus.

If Cupp wants Trump to stop attacking the media, she should urge her colleagues to do a better job in covering the news.

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Author: Don Irvine

CNN correspondent tries, fails to goad Trump with gotcha question

CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta tried to ask President Donald Trump a “gotcha” question at yesterday’s press conference, but the question fell flat on its face.

Acosta and Trump have verbally sparred during Trump’s first term on various issues, such as a back-and-forth argument about a Central American migrant caravan which led to the White House suspending his credentials in November 2018.

Acosta asked:

“This may be an uncomfortable question: What would the models have looked like if Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci showed us. If we had started these social distancing guidelines sooner, February or January, when China, South Korea were doing those sorts of things…if we started these practices sooner, could these models be different right now?”

Trump answered and defended his administration’s decision-making, noting that his “big decision” was to stop travel from China in the same timeframe Acosta had mentioned. Trump added that the United States “got a late start,” in addition to explaining that the coronavirus’s spread was unpredictable across various regions in the country.

Acosta’s question inferred that the infection and death counts would have been different if the Trump administration acted earlier to impose travel restrictions, quarantines, social distancing guidelines, and stay-at-home orders. It was an attempted “gotcha” question meant to place more blame on Trump for allegedly not preventing the current infection and fatality rates in the United States. His question assumed that infection and fatality rates would have been different if the Trump administration had imposed restrictions earlier, but that is also pure conjecture without factual evidence. It was wrong for Acosta to ask his misleading question because it did not add any facts or data to the discussion about the virus’s potential spread in the next several weeks. Instead, Acosta’s attempt to score political points fell flat.

Acosta’s history with Trump is well-documented, with Politico calling Acosta the “chief antagonist for a network that styles itself as Trump’s chief antagonist.”

Though CNN and Acosta won the case to have his press credentials reinstated, it was not the first time that Acosta aggressively questioned the president. His latest question demonstrated his antagonistic approach to Trump’s press conferences, which may make for good television ratings and soundbites, but the American public does not gain knowledge from Acosta-Trump exchanges.

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Author: Spencer Irvine