Media outlets spent the weekend following President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis pushing irresponsible and biased reports that stood out within an era of irresponsible and biased reports.
Reporters spent the past few days pushing conspiracy theories that Trump was far sicker than he appeared, that the White House faked the photographs of him working, and went so far as to claim a commonly prescribed drug was dangerous.
As soon as Trump announced his COVID-19 test came back positive, reporters rushed to push the narrative that he was going to die. Even though Trump released a video saying he felt fine – standing and speaking normally – and walked on his own to Marine One before getting transported to Walter Reed Medical Center, reporters insisted he was knocking on death’s door. Some ex-staffers for President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren even said they hoped Trump dies.
On Saturday, Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, said the president was “doing very well” and had minor symptoms that were already improving. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows then told the media that Trump’s condition had been concerning before he arrived at Walter Reed but that he was improving. The media ran with the narrative that Trump’s doctors were being dishonest about his health and that he was much sicker than they let on.
It should have been obvious that Trump was not as sick as the media tried to claim. He was walking and talking normally the day he flew to Walter Reed – someone as sick as the media wanted to believe could not have done that. As a reporter who watched someone with severe flu symptoms develop pneumonia and nearly die in a hospital, Trump was nowhere near as sick as the media tried to claim. CBS News even interrupted a college football game on Saturday to report what Meadows – then an unnamed source – said before reporting what Trump’s actual doctors said.
Then, when Trump took a motorcade to wave to supporters who had gathered outside Walter Reed, the media freaked out that he was endangering members of the Secret Service, whose job is to protect the president with their lives. The White House said medical experts approved of Trump’s short drive, but the media had already decided not to believe the doctors and experts it has spent the past year claiming to believe. To further illustrate their bias, reporters simultaneously condemned Trump for the drive and whined that they weren’t invited. As The Daily Wire reported, White House Correspondents’ Association President Zeke Miller, an Associated Press reporter, issued a statement regarding the press not being included in Trump’s drive:
It is outrageous for the president to have left the hospital — even briefly — amid a health crisis without a protective pool present to ensure that the American people know where their president is and how he is doing. Now more than ever, the American public deserves independent coverage of the president so they can be reliably informed about his health.
When the White House released photos of Trump working from Walter Reed, reporters tried to claim they were fake. Daily Beast reporter Sam Stein posted a photo of Trump sitting at a desk near a phone and looking at the camera.
“White House releases a new photo of Trump at work, saying he’s participating in a phone call. Notably, Trump is staring straight at camera while on call,” Stein said, as if Trump couldn’t be on speakerphone or must stare at the phone while on the call.
Then there was Jon Ostrower, Editor-In-Chief The Air Current, who tried to claim two photos of Trump working at Walter Reed were taken 10 minutes apart, suggesting they were staged or fake. Journalist Tim Pool spent the day trying to correct the conspiracy theory, pointing out that the times Ostrower was referring to was not when the photos were taken, but when they were rendered, not when they were taken.
“This should be remarkably embarrassing for a member of the media to f*** up Journalists don’t even understand something as basic as compression Nearly 30k rt’s The exif data shows the time when the photo was rendered by the photog,” Pool tweeted.
This should be remarkably embarrassing for a member of the media to fuck up
Journalists don’t even understand something as basic as compression
Nearly 30k rt’s
The exif data shows the time when the photo was rendered by the photog https://t.co/tWhqJMnHi6
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) October 4, 2020
Other “sleuths” tried to claim the photos were photoshopped due to a lack of understanding of how lighting and reflections work. Some claimed they were staged and that Trump was signing blank papers, yet numerous photos of Obama exist allegedly showing the same thing. The camera can’t always pick up the small print on documents, making them look blank at times.
Perhaps the most dangerous overreaction from the media was its attempt to paint Dexamethasone – a commonly prescribed corticosteroid – as dangerous or experimental. Media outlets claimed that because Trump was prescribed the drug, his COVID-19 must be more severe than reported, because Dexamethasone is not used to treat mild cases of COVID-19.
Newsweek went so far as to point out a “rare side effect” of the drug: “Grandiose delusions,” even though Trump showed no such symptoms. The outlet also quoted a Stanford professor claiming Trump couldn’t perform his duties as president while taking the drug. The New York Daily News said the drug is “known to cause aggression and agitation.” Other outlets spoke to doctors not on Trump’s medical team to insist he was much sicker than the Walter Reed doctors claimed.
Actual pharmacists weighed in by saying the drug isn’t special or rare and that it’s prescribed regularly for a whole host of issues, including allergies and asthma. As The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti noted, she received Dexamethasone when she accidentally ate shrimp with a shellfish allergy. Others also chimed in with their experience with the drug, destroying the media narrative that it was somehow harming Trump.
The media freakout continued into Monday when Trump walked out of Walter Reed and flew back to the White House. Jennifer Jacobs, a reporter for Bloomberg, stoked conspiracy theories by reporting that she asked Trump’s medical team if any of them “recommended against taking Trump back to the White House.” She said “each one of the doctors shook their head ‘no.’ But not very vigorously.’” How vigorously were they supposed to shake their heads to calm reporter conspiracy theories that Trump is somehow on death’s door yet still able to bully doctors into letting him out?
When we asked if anyone on medical team recommended against taking Trump back to the White House each one of the doctors shook their head “no.” But not very vigorously. https://t.co/OM6zncWWyY
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) October 5, 2020
Finally, CNN’s Chris Cuomo called Trump’s wave from the White House balcony “propaganda.” As you’ll recall, Cuomo was supposed to be quarantined with COVID-19 earlier this year but broke it to take his family to the Hamptons, where he got into an altercation with a bicyclist. Cuomo and CNN then filmed his alleged emergence from quarantine.
So-called journalists spent days trying to convince the country its president was dying, medical doctors were involved in a coverup, and trying to scare people out of taking a commonly prescribed drug – all because they despise Trump so much. It was an incredibly embarrassing episode, above and beyond so much of the media’s misguided behavior during Trump’s presidency.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.