Accuracy in Media

In recent weeks, the media profiled several deceased Americans who died of the coronavirus and highlighted their skepticism of the coronavirus’s lethality. Their narrative is that supporters of President Donald Trump were unnecessarily skeptical about the coronavirus’s dangers.

JJ Bubbles bar owner, Joe Joyce of Brooklyn, New York, died of coronavirus complications at age 74. New York Times headlined his death, “A Beloved Bar Owner Was Skeptical About the Virus. Then He Took a Cruise.” The article noted that Joyce was “a Trump supporter who chose selectively from the menu of current Republican ideologies.”

Joyce and his wife took a cruise to Spain on March 1, and by March 27, he was admitted to a hospital for breathing troubles due to contracting the coronavirus. The New York Times linked Joyce’s skepticism about the coronavirus to Fox News host Sean Hannity, who was a favorite TV host of Joyce’s.

It was disrespectful for the New York Times to use Joyce’s death as political fodder in the ongoing coronavirus discussion between re-opening the economy or maintaining lockdown orders in the name of public safety. There have been thousands of coronavirus victims, and for the New York Times to cherry-pick a Trump supporter’s death from among them, was dishonest and disrespectful action. Disease does not have political ideological boundaries.

Also, the New York Times’ logic was flawed. Both federal government and state governments did not order lockdown orders until late March. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a state-wide lockdown on March 20. According to this timetable of events, it was too late to warn people like Joyce about the coronavirus’s dangers to public health because Joyce had already left for a European cruise on that date.

But Joyce was not the sole coronavirus victim profiled by the media.

John McDaniel of Marion County, Ohio, died of the coronavirus last week on April 15 at the age of 60. Before his hospitalization, McDaniel posted on Facebook about his skepticism about the coronavirus and alleged wrote, “Does anybody have the guts to say that this COVID19 is a political ploy? Asking for a friend. Prove me wrong.” McDaniel was a cancer survivor, which put him at risk for the coronavirus.

The Daily Mail highlighted McDaniel’s skepticism in a similar light to the New York Times.

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