News and Commentary

Rubio Slams Media For ‘Grotesque’ Reports On U.S. Coronavirus Cases; Cruz Explains Why ‘It’s Even Worse’
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, listens to a question while exiting a caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. The Senate cleared the second major bill responding to the coronavirus pandemic, with lawmakers rushing to follow up with an additional economic rescue package that President Donald Trump's administration estimates will cost $1.3 trillion. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg
Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Sunday, Republican Senator Marco Rubio (FL) slammed the left-leaning media for its “grotesque” reports on America’s rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases supposedly surpassing communist China’s — and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) joined in to point out what makes the media’s response “even worse.”

U.S. Now Leads the World in Confirmed Cases,” a New York Times headline declared Thursday. “Scientists warned that the United States someday would become the country hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. That moment arrived on Thursday,” the Times reported. “In the United States, at least 81,321 people are known to have been infected with the coronavirus, including more than 1,000 deaths — more cases than China, Italy or any other country has seen, according to data gathered by The New York Times.”

Amid a series of similar reports declaring the U.S. the world’s “hardest hit” nation and a flood of responses to the claim from journalists on social media and on the networks, Sen. Rubio posted a blistering tweet on Sunday.

“Some in our media can’t contain their glee [and] delight in reporting that the U.S. has more [coronavirus] cases than [China],” Rubio wrote. “Beyond being grotesque, [it’s] bad journalism[.] We have NO IDEA how many cases China really has but without any doubt its significantly more than why they admit to.”

In response, Cruz argued that what makes it “even worse” is that members of the media “KNOW” China is lying.

“It’s even worse. We KNOW China is lying,” Cruz wrote. “On 3/1, China had 80,026 reported cases. On 3/28, it had 81,439. Does anyone believe this highly contagious virus just stopped in China on 3/1, right as it became a pandemic worldwide? And American media (for $$) willingly repeat the lies.”

As noted by Twitchy, past tweets by journalists have helped make the two senators’ points for them. “We are quite literally doing a worse job of containing the virus than any other country on earth,” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweeted Friday.

“The United States now has more coronavirus cases reported than any other country in the world,” Trump-critic CNN’s Jim Acosta tweeted. “The US has just passed China, a country four times larger In population.”

“Who’s the shithole country now?” GQ’s Julia Ioffe wrote.

In its initial report on the total number of confirmed cases in the U.S. supposedly surpassing China’s, the Times paints the Trump administration’s response as one characterized by “a series of missteps and lost opportunities” (formatting adjusted):

With 330 million residents, the United States is the world’s third most populous nation, meaning it provides a vast pool of people who can potentially get Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. And it is a sprawling, cacophonous democracy, where states set their own policies and President Trump has sent mixed messages about the scale of the danger and how to fight it, ensuring there was no coherent, unified response to a grave public health threat.

A series of missteps and lost opportunities dogged the nation’s response. Among them: a failure to take the pandemic seriously even as it engulfed China, a deeply flawed effort to provide broad testing for the virus that left the country blind to the extent of the crisis, and a dire shortage of masks and protective gear to protect doctors and nurses on the front lines, as well as ventilators to keep the critically ill alive.

Despite the mainstream media’s intensely critical coverage of the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis, recent polls have found that a strong majority of the American people approve of the president’s response, while Gallup found that a majority of Americans disapprove of the media’s coverage of the crisis.