A New York Times columnist who wrote an article suggesting that Fox News was responsible for the death of one of its viewers came under fire on Sunday after social media users discovered a tweet from her that weakened her attack on the cable news network.
New York Times columnist Ginia Bellafante wrote:
On March 1, Joe Joyce and his wife, Jane, set sail for Spain on a cruise, flying first to Florida. His adult children — Kevin, Eddie and Kristen Mider — suggested that the impending doom of the coronavirus made this a bad idea. Joe Joyce was 74, a nonsmoker, healthy; four years after he opened his bar he stopped drinking completely. He didn’t see the problem.
“He watched Fox, and believed it was under control,’’ Kristen told me.
Early in March Sean Hannity went on air proclaiming that he didn’t like the way that the American people were getting scared “unnecessarily.’’ He saw it all, he said, “as like, let’s bludgeon Trump with this new hoax.”
Eventually, Fox changed course and took the virus more seriously, but the Joyces were long gone by then. On March 14, they returned to New York from Barcelona, and the next day, before bars and restaurants were forced to close in the city, Joe Joyce went to work at JJ Bubbles for the last time.
To start, the quote from Fox News host Sean Hannity that Bellafante used was from March 9, over a week after Joyce left on his cruise.
Furthermore, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH) Dr. Anthony Fauci said on March 9 that “there is no reason” that a healthy person shouldn’t be able to go on cruises, adding, “if you want to go on a cruise ship, to go on a cruise ship.”
However, on Sunday, social media users found a tweet from the end of February where Bellafante appeared to not take the coronavirus outbreak all that seriously herself.
On February 27, Bellafante responded to a tweet that talked about the decline in the stock market that stated: “That was optimistic. We closed down 4.44% Appropriate, in Chinese numerology…”
Bellafante responded: “I fundamentally don’t understand the panic: incidence of the disease is declining in China. Virus is not deadly in vast majority of cases. Production and so on will slow down and will obviously rebound.”
I fundamentally don't understand the panic: incidence of the disease is declining in China. Virus is not deadly in vast majority of cases. Production and so on will slow down and will obviously rebound. cc: @opinion_joe
— Ginia Bellafante (@GiniaNYT) February 27, 2020
One popular conservative Twitter account wrote: “Wow. So NYT printed a piece that blamed Fox News for the COVID-19 death of a NY bar owner who went on a cruise on 3/1 based on a Hannity quote downplaying the virus on 3/8. Meanwhile, the author of that piece, @GiniaNYT, was downplaying it on 2/27.”
Fox News contributor Guy Benson responded by writing: “Two devastating tweets. The NYT’s fixation w/ exploiting a deadly pandemic & personal tragedy in order to attack another news outlet is ghastly. The glaring error is humiliating. The reporter’s hypocrisy is extraordinary. Every person responsible for this trash should be ashamed.”
Libertarian commentator Dave Rubin also took a shot at The New York Times, writing, “All the Propaganda That’s Fit to Print.”
All the Propaganda That’s Fit to Print.
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) April 19, 2020